Mobilizing rage as a cathartic activist praxis: Towards a feminist methodology in researching differently

Ea Hog Utoft, Amal Abdellatif, Rima Hussein, Emmanouela Mandalaki, Ilaria Boncori

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The importance of affect has been increasingly emphasised in organisational studies (Hunter & Kivinen, 2022; Fotaki, Kenny, & Vachhani, 2017). While rage has been predominantly studied in relation to (toxic) white, masculine-typed leadership behaviours, other ‘non-conforming’ groups’ rage (e.g., women’s, queers’, etc.) has been culturally dismissively used as demarcation (Lorde, 2017), undermined and/or suppressed in research in organisations and beyond (Chemaly, 2018).

This paper originated from a relational space — named the Rage Collective — digitally inhabited and materially embodied by us, the authors, over the past year, as an alternative locus of collaboration and scholarly exchange. We all identify as women, of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, operating at different academic career stages, across four universities in three countries. Inspired by, amongst others, Audre Lorde (2017), we see rage as a vibrant and regenerative affective project oriented at countering systemic and institutional inequalities. The Rage Collective, thus, became a vehicle for us to mobilise affects as healing within and against archetypical patriarchal institutions such as the neoliberal university. The healing connectivity and care we have built online became a profoundly material shared experience in consideration of our intersectional differences (Abdellatif et al., 2020; Plotnikof & Utoft, 2021).

Since women’s rage is so often gaslit and/or wilfully misinterpreted, e.g., when we cry (Hacker, 2018), we needed to hold a space allowing for our rage to vibrate materially within and across our bodies to explore it meaningfully. Reclaiming rage is about demanding to be whole human beings as academics, even when that clashes with the masculine institution advocating ‘professionalism’ and ‘proper science’ that preclude emotions (Pullen, 2018). By insisting on the centrality of rage in the work sphere in response to systemic sexism, racism and epistemic injustice, we contribute to the literature on writing and researching differently (e.g., Gilmore et al., 2019; Mandalaki & Pérezts, 2020). Specifically, we explore rage as an embodied and affective methodological practice. We welcomed each other to share our rage (for the first time, in some cases) about key life events and everyday micro-aggressions in the academy. Rage fuelled our activism and writing through listening closely to our bodies and the wisdom of that digital space: activating, transforming, raging powerful testimony, witnessing, and letting it erupt and flow for our collective to see; offering the opportunity to be gloriously messy (Pullen, 2018), reclaiming our space and time to harness our anger rather than deny it (Lorde, 2017).

Methodologically, we engage with what we call ‘affective collective biography’ (Gannon et al., 2015; Gannon & Gonick, 2019) as an innovative feminist praxis inspired by feminist ethics of care (Branicki, 2020). Sharing our experiences, centring rage and collective reflection materially shaped by our use of technology. We compiled a collection of writings that enable conceptual work around rage as an emotion that is not only welcomed but needed in organisations. Thus, following recent feminist writing as resistance (Ahonen et al., 2020; Mountz et al., 2015), our paper extends an invitation for others to digitally or physically unite and vibrate by writing and organising through rage, as individual and collective healing and an institutionally transformative project.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender, Work & Organization Conference: Marginalised Gender Identities - How can Intellectual Activism transform Work and Organization
Subtitle of host publicationBook of abstracts
Place of PublicationStelenbosch, South Africa
PublisherUniversity of Stellenbosch
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2023
EventGender, Work &
Organization Conference
: Marginalised Gender Identities - How can Intellectual Activism transform Work and Organization
- Stellenbosch, South Africa
Duration: 28 Jun 202330 Jun 2023


ConferenceGender, Work &
Organization Conference
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
Internet address

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