Discursive Deflections: A Critical Exploration of how Diversity Managers in Swedish Organizations Talk About Diversity Pursuits.
Sammanfattning: While proclaiming to be passionate pursuers of diversity, Swedish organizations are facing increased pressure to improve not just in terms of gender diversity, but increasingly in regards to ethnicity. By studying discourse on diversity, and thus what is meant by 'pursuing diversity' among organizations in Sweden today, we wish to gain insight into why Swedish organizations seem to be ramping up their diversity talk, yet achieving all the less. We conduct semi-structured interviews with 13 diversity managers from 7 Swedish organizations, and apply critical discourse analysis to understand how their talk in turn conditions the ability of these organizations to reduce workplace inequalities. Our findings indicate that diversity pursuits are constructed as 'having the right focus' (i.e. a focus on promoting inclusion), and as being 'legitimate and uncriticizable' and 'capable of successfully improving diversity in the future' despite a lack of reference to actual diversity results or progress. These constructions effectively decrease the ability of these pursuits to successfully reduce inequalities within these organisations, by concealing and legitimizing structures of inequality. We argue that these findings contribute to an understanding of why organizations in Sweden seem to have stagnated in their diversity progress.
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