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Oct 19
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Sustaining the Organizational Legitimacy of Diversity and Inclusion in New York and Paris with Laure Bereni

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Like other “responsible” corporate initiatives, diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs are regularly praised as a business asset by senior executives and management experts. Yet, if we turn our attention to the managers and offices in charge of implementing them, the legitimacy of these programs within organizations appears much more precarious. While diversity management was invented to merge political, legal, and moral norms signaling virtue within business goals and purviews, its collusion with these exogenous normative orders is always likely to erode its internal standing. Drawing on an in-depth study of D&I managers and offices conducted in multinational companies in New York and Paris, this seminar intends to highlight the organizational arrangements and daily work required to sustain the internal legitimacy of D&I programs, and more particularly to euphemize their persisting political connotations, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Laure Bereni is CNRS Research Director in sociology, and a faculty member of the Centre Maurice Halbwachs - a research center affiliated with the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris. She teaches graduate seminars at Sciences Po Paris and at the EHESS. Her research interests lie at the intersection of political sociology, the sociology of gender and race, and the sociology of work and organizations. Her doctoral research focused on the movement for gender parity in France. Over the past few years, she has conducted a comparative study of Diversity and Inclusion offices in large multinational companies based in the New York and Paris areas. She recently published The Women’s Cause in a Field. Rethinking the Architecture of Collective Protest in the Era of Movement Institutionalization (Social Movement studies, 2021).