Reframing “Organizations and Society” from the Escrevivências: for a Form of Management from and in the Gaps

Fernanda Rocha da Silva Alexandre de Pádua Carrieri About the authors

Abstract

This is not a conventional manuscript that follows the established norms of research in organizational studies, but it does not give up the scientificity required by academia. It is yet another way of doing and writing, as it occurs with the practices developed by those who have been secluded from the prevailing way of organizing in Brazil. Therefore, we propose to rethink the forms of management from the experiences of lacunar subjects and knowledge forms, from the social-historical perspective on the formation of the boundaries of this scientific field. To do so, we adjust our lenses to frame what lies outside the privileged enunciative locus of the instrumental rationality ruling the field and come across Carolina Maria de Jesus and her escrevivências1 about a reality that has been unnoticed by management practices according to the success model of this form of rationality. Therefore, we present a theoretical and scientific article, in which literature is employed as source material to outline the proposed reflections and reframe “organizations and society” from the know-how of those who have been underprivileged by dominant reason.

escrevivências; erasure; gap; management in the gap

Resumo

Este não é um texto convencional, que segue as normas instituídas do pesquisar em estudos organizacionais, porém, aqui não abrimos mão da cientificidade exigida pela academia. É, apenas, uma outra forma de fazer e escrever, da mesma maneira que se dá com as práticas desenvolvidas por aqueles que estão apartados do modo de organizar dominante no país. Diante disso, a nossa proposta aqui é, a partir da perspectiva histórico-social acerca da formação dos limiares desse campo científico, repensar as formas de gestão desde as experiências dos sujeitos e saberes lacunares. Para tanto, ajustamos a nossa lente para enxergar o que se encontra do lado de fora do lócus enunciativo privilegiado da racionalidade instrumental regente da área e encontramos Carolina Maria de Jesus e suas escrevivências acerca de uma realidade não notada pelas práticas de gestão segundo o modelo de sucesso dessa razão. Portanto, apresentamos um artigo teórico e científico, em que se faz uso da literatura como fonte material, a fim de perfilar as reflexões propostas de se repensar as “organizações e sociedade” a partir dos saberes-fazeres dos desprivilegiados da razão.

escrevivências; rasura; lacuna; gestão da lacuna

Introduction

First of all, we must clarify that the proposal of this text has come from initial reflections that I developed previously in my dissertation. I refer to a master’s research developed by a lacunar researcher, whose object of study also falls into the gap as a category, referring to that which is not situated but immersed in depreciative predicates and meanings, as we will see later. As a claim, some excerpts from the previous manuscript will be reproduced here, as if to indicate a path already taken. They refer to primitive reflections that subsidize the deepening and the advancement of what we propose along these lines, in an attempt to make the first sketches of a field that has yet to come into organizational studies: the management from and in the gap.

Imbued with this proposition, we resort to the escrevivências as a practical tool that enables us to enter the space-time of the gap and witness the ways of organizing adopted by those who are situated in this enunciative locus; then, we propose a form of management from and in the gap. The term escrevivência was coined by Conceição Evaristo, a Brazilian writer, and refers to an act of insurgence by those whose skin reflects the dark of night and who insist on writing their silenced experiences, which “cannot be read as lullabies for those living in the Big House,’ but rather to disturb them in their unjust sleep” ( Evaristo, 2020Evaristo, C. (2020). A escrevivência e seus subtextos. In C. L. Duarte, & I. R. Nunes (Orgs.), Escrevivência: a escrita de nós: reflexões sobre a obra de Conceição Evaristo (pp. 26-47). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Mina Comunicação e Arte. , p. 54). This discomfort is configured as a battle for meanings and narrative spaces about the know-how, to insert oneself in the scientific field of knowledge, in and from management, thus shading the epistemological and adverbial limits of the act of organizing.

Moreover, as identified by Medeiros (2011)Medeiros, M. A. (2011). A descoberta do Insólito: literatura negra e literatura periférica no Brasil (1960-2000) (Tese de doutorado). Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP. , the gap derives from positive forgetfulness; that is, from a historical, social, and cultural production that embraces the enunciation of the vanquished, the social underdogs, to allow a single and exclusive way of narrating history that conforms to the voice of the winners. As we shall see, the realm of organizational studies also houses lacunar subjects and ways of knowing and doing that are opaque to the universal and instrumental way of organizing. Or in other words, to mainstream and even ordinary management.

What we have come across is a scientific field homogenized by the values of neutrality and universality of the instrumental reason that traverses the studies in the field. A tradition, as we have called it, of the organizational studies know-how, which has been established by the propagation of a model of success, a standard to be followed and reproduced by the meanderings of organizing.

The movement that has led to the formation of this tradition has a dual character, for while it establishes what and who should be studied – thus defining the ontological, epistemological, and methodological boundaries from the dominant rationality – it also determines its opposite, that is, that which does not possess nor reach the status of a subject or an object of research. Finally, this gives rise to the formation of the gap.

However, this does not mean that lacunar subjects and knowledge forms are not relevant nor can they contribute to the development of this theoretical field; it solely means that they have not received attention from organizational scholars. Mainstream management has stemmed from universalistic conceptions of the Global North, which disregard local contexts and foster know-how that, a priori, could be applied in any world region or place ( Ibarra-Colado, 2012Ibarra-Colado, E. (2012). Cómo compreender y transformar los Estudios Organizacionales desde America Latina y no morir en el intento. In A. M. Martínez, R. G. Rabiela, H. Vessuri, & A. V. Corona (Coords.), Apropiación social del conocimiento y aprendizaje: una mirada crítica desde diferentes ambitos (pp. 17-38). Madrid: Plaza y Valdés Editores. ). This is a neutral view, which fails to identify and regard the specificities of local settings and social actors, and which does not adjust its lens to frame the ways of knowing and doing of those who are below the extraordinary surface where it develops.

Ordinary management, on the other hand, turns to small and family businesses, focusing on the ways of organizing developed by those in the management of their organizations ( Carrieri, Perdigão, Martins, & Aguiar, 2018Carrieri, A. P., Perdigão, D. A., Martins, P. G., Aguiar, A. R. C. (2018). A gestão ordinária e suas práticas: o caso da Cafeteria Will Coffee. Revista de Contabilidade e Organizações, 12, 1-13. doi:10.11606/issn.1982-6486.rco.2018.141359 ). This presupposes the existence of an organizational and legal structure, even if minimal, given that authorization or permission from local authorities is required to set up a business in Brazil. This, in turn, demands investment by the owner, manager, or investor in question. The purpose of this perspective is to focus on the practices developed by smaller organizations in their routines, as opposed to the universality of mainstream management, which corresponds to large enterprises.

That is, neither mainstream nor ordinary management has focused on the doings, ways of living, and everyday survival practices carried out by people forsaken in the gaps. To circumvent scarcity, such individuals develop everyday tactics to equalize today’s possession of resources with tomorrow’s lack, as we will witness from the writings of Carolina Maria de Jesus (2014)Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. .

Furthermore, we must emphasize that our attempt to turn to the gaps does not have the Romanesque character of poverty and misery or even oppression, but it is established as a means of drawing our attention to those who have been positively forgotten and rendered invisible to instrumental scientific rationality and, consequently, situating ourselves as their apprentices. It is about learning to listen to the sound of silence forged by those who had their voices muffled by an exclusive way of narrating history, which has supported the ways of organizing developed according to this reason.

In this sense, the escrevivências emerge as potential resources to fill these gaps, as they allow one to question what is established as a field of studies while helping to diversify the scientific field of organizational studies. As we argue here, the escrevivências operate as a strategy of erasure ( Souza, 2009Souza, A. L. S. (2009). Letramentos de reexistência: culturas e identidades no movimento hip hop (Doctoral thesis). Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP. ), or a means of inserting other senses and meanings into the grammar developed in organizational studies, while aiming to instill new ways of knowing and producing scientifically relevant knowledge.

This form defies what Pullen (2018)Pullen, A. (2018). Writing as Labiaplasty. Organization, 25(1), 123-130 doi:10.1177/1350508417735537
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508417735537...
asserts about academic writing by women who, despite the prevailing norm, dare to write with their deviant bodies. Indeed, the author reminds us that

writing differently, writing in embodied ways, violates the writer because academic writing requires some level of conformity. We should just write, write the self as many of our mothers have showed us. But, increasingly, we are disciplined and regulated by neoliberal universities: what counts as academic writing? (p. 124)

We prepared this text considering Pullen (2018)Pullen, A. (2018). Writing as Labiaplasty. Organization, 25(1), 123-130 doi:10.1177/1350508417735537
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508417735537...
and Biehl-Missal (2015)Biehl-Missal, B. (2015). ‘I write like a painter’: feminine creation with arts-based methods in organizational research. Gender, Work and Organization, 22(2), 179-196. doi:10.1111/gwao.12055
https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12055...
, as they state that scientific research can and should be inspired by the arts, and writing, especially women’s writing, holds enormous potential to de-standardize organizational studies. This is a theoretical study, and its foundation is imbricated in the narratives of Carolina Maria de Jesus, which are empirical sources about diverse ways of organizing in everyday life, a peculiar form of writing that dialogs with other narratives about the country’s reality, which places us on the reverse side of history ( Czarniawska, 2000Czarniawska, B. (2000). GRI Report No. 2000:5: the uses of narrative in organization research. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3JdEwtU
https://bit.ly/3JdEwtU...
, 2006Czarniawska, B. (2006). Doing gender unto the other: fiction as a mode of studying gender discrimination in organizations. Gender, Work and Organization, 13(3), 234-253. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0432.2006.00306.x
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0432.2006...
).

This is also a form of theoretical research whose development is based on the use of literature, and the incorporation of poetic writing to trigger reflections on how the boundaries of knowledge are outlined. It is rough, everyday poetry, which makes us move from the living room to the dump, by questioning the reasons why the living room of academia, especially graduate programs, which are typical loci of scientific making, remain homogenized to this day ( Sá, Alcadipani, Azevedo, Rigo, & Saraiva, 2020Sá, M., Alcadipani, R., Azevedo, A., Rigo, A. S., Saraiva, L. A. S. (2020). De onde viemos, para onde vamos? Autocrítica coletiva e horizontes desejáveis aos estudos organizacionais no Brasil. RAE, 60(2), 168-180. doi:10.1590/S0034-759020200209 ), in terms of gender and race, as I have witnessed during my trajectory.

Therefore, this article features three other sections in addition to this introduction, which further develop the formation of the gap from the knowledge tradition in management; next, we dwell on the escrevivências as ways of erasing and rethinking management; finally, we present our final remarks by defending the notion of management from and in the gap.

How a scientific field is made: producing lacunar subjects and knowledge forms

As a field, organizational studies are established from the adoption of a specific way of thinking, a type of rationality that outlines and delimits the boundaries of scientific knowledge. It is a form of rationality based on the Cartesian tradition (“I think, therefore I exist”) that believes that “the certainty of thought lies in the stability and truth of the one who thinks; the subject is the guarantee and of the stability of reason” ( Mosé, 2019Mosé, V. (2019). A espécie que sabe: do homo sapiens à crise da razão. Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes. , p.116). Now, this means that for a person to think, he or she must first be regarded as a subject, as a human being, for only this species is capable of knowing.

Indeed, by virtue of the establishment of the Cartesian cogito as a boundary of reason, the “I” who thinks becomes undefined, thus affecting the concealment of the active subject of the very act of thinking. Consequently, knowledge is supposedly neutralized precisely because its “whos” and “wheres” are not outlined. Moreover, this would result in the possibility of applying knowledge indistinctly, regardless of local circumstances, thus attributing universality to knowledge originating from this form of reason. Along these lines, rationality follows “a model of thinking, the product of the superimposition of layers of meaning, of interpretations, arranged during the history of humanity, and which has become the guide for human conduct in the world, that is, the principle of explanation of realities” ( Mosé, 2019Mosé, V. (2019). A espécie que sabe: do homo sapiens à crise da razão. Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes. , p. 103). Through the same act, this scientific canon of thinking authorizes and deauthorizes the production of knowledge, from its foundations and procedures. This, in turn, establishes standardized rationality that applies not only to knowledge but also drives and guides the global organization, as Grosfoguel (2008)Grosfoguel, R. (2008). Para descolonizar os estudos de economia política e os estudos pós-coloniais: transmodernidade, pensamento de fronteira e colonialidade global. Crítica de Ciências Sociais, 80, 115-147. doi:10.4000/rccs.697
https://doi.org/10.4000/rccs.697...
explains:

The main point here is the locus of enunciation, that is, the geo-political and body-political location of the subject that speaks. In western philosophy and sciences the subject that speaks is always hidden, concealed, erased from the analysis. The “ego-politics of knowledge” of western philosophy has always privileged the myth of a non-situated “ego.” Ethnic/racial/gender/sexual epistemic location and the subject that speaks are always decoupled. By delinking ethnic/racial/gender/sexual epistemic location from the subject that speaks, western philosophy and sciences are able to produce a myth about a truthful universal knowledge that covers up, that is, conceals both the speaker as well as the geo-political and body-political epistemic location of the structures of colonial power/knowledge from which the subject speaks. (p. 119)

And this could not be different in the field of administrative sciences since the dominant rationality in this area also profiles a form of universalized and neutralized reason called “positivism,” which is disguised as a functionalist notion of research ( Mandiola, 2018Mandiola, M. (2018). La mirada decolonial al management. Gestión y Tendencias, 3(1), 6-10. doi:10.11565/gesten.v3i1.53
https://doi.org/10.11565/gesten.v3i1.53...
; Vergara & Pinto, 2001Vergara, S., Pinto, M. C. S. (2001). Referências teóricas em análise organizacional: um estudo das nacionalidades dos autores referenciados na literatura brasileira. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 5, 103-121. doi:10.1590/S1415-65552001000500006 ). According to Barros and Carrieri (2015)Barros, A., Carrieri, A. P. (2015). O cotidiano e a história: construindo novos olhares na administração. RAE, 55(2), 151-161. doi:10.1590/S0034-759020150205 ,

administration as an applied social science seeks to establish the so-called “modern knowledge,” in accordance with instrumental rationality, focused on the calculation between means and ends and leaving aside other ways of managing and doing in everyday life. In Benjamin’s (2006) view, instrumental reason is the downfall of other forms of reason. Instrumental reasoning is typical of capitalism since it is a type of rationality that focuses on improving technique and increasing productivity. (p. 159)

Not only has instrumental rationality served as a parameter for knowledge production but it has also operated in the categorization of places, subjects, and cultures, as a benchmark for the establishment of a “dichotomous hierarchy between the human and the non-human as the central dichotomy of colonial modernity” ( Lugones, 2014Lugones, M. (2014). Rumo a um feminismo descolonial. Revista Estudos Feministas, 22(3), 935-952. doi:10.1590/%25x
https://doi.org/10.1590/%25x...
, p. 936). Coloniality engenders an ideal model of scientific reason, imposing “the rationality of modernity from a racist and purely European perspective. Consequently, local knowledge and realities are covered up and ignored by the exclusive logic of European modernity" ( Wanderley, 2015Wanderley, S. (2015). Estudos organizacionais, (des)colonialidade e estudos da dependência: as contribuições da Cepal. Cadernos Ebape.br, 13(2), 237-255. doi:10.1590/1679-395115852
https://doi.org/10.1590/1679-395115852...
, p. 240). This is how the geography of reason has been outlined, resulting in the valorization of the Northern and European latitudes configured as a synonym of power and privilege. This, in contrast, entails the invisibility of other cardinal points, which designate the “others,” the non-human, or the global South. The adjective and the pronoun “other” functions as a sign of negative classification, of inferiority, for “the distinct-other is not the peripheral nation as a whole, but the oppressed classes, those who are not part of the nation, excluded from their civic consciousness” ( Bernardino-Costa, 2015, pBernardino-Costa, J. (2015). Saberes subalternos e decolonialidade: os sindicatos das trabalhadoras domésticas no Brasil. Brasília, DF: Universidade de Brasília. , p. 53).

This was called epistemic coloniality by Ibarra-Colado (2007Ibarra-Colado, E. (2007). Organization studies and epistemic coloniality in Latin America: thinking otherness from the margins. Organization, 13(4), 463-488. doi:10.1177/1350508406065851
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508406065851...
, 2012Ibarra-Colado, E. (2012). Cómo compreender y transformar los Estudios Organizacionales desde America Latina y no morir en el intento. In A. M. Martínez, R. G. Rabiela, H. Vessuri, & A. V. Corona (Coords.), Apropiación social del conocimiento y aprendizaje: una mirada crítica desde diferentes ambitos (pp. 17-38). Madrid: Plaza y Valdés Editores. ), to designate the concealment of influences deriving from contexts and the dissemination of a supposedly neutral and universal form of knowledge. According to Wanderley (2015)Wanderley, S. (2015). Estudos organizacionais, (des)colonialidade e estudos da dependência: as contribuições da Cepal. Cadernos Ebape.br, 13(2), 237-255. doi:10.1590/1679-395115852
https://doi.org/10.1590/1679-395115852...
, epistemic coloniality can be understood as “the imposition of knowledge produced from another reality that overlaps with local practices and knowledge and ends up causing their subalternization” (p. 238). This harbors a certain discursive production about Latin America, which conceives it as inferior to central European countries and the United States ( Szlechter et al., 2020Szlechter, D., Pazos, L. S., Teixeira, J. C., Feregrino, J., Madariaga, P. I., Alcadipani, R. (2020). Estudios organizacionales en América Latina: hacia una agenda de investigación. RAE, 60(2), 84-92. doi:10.1590/S0034-759020200202 ), due to the maintenance of the invisibility of the local enunciative locus and the dissemination of the legitimacy characters of knowledge set forth by instrumental and hegemonic rationality ( Mignolo, 2010Mignolo, W. (2010). Desobediencia epistémica: retórica de la modernidad, lógica de la colonialidade y gramática de la descolonialidad. Buenos Aires: Ediciones del Signo. ; Walsh, 2007Walsh, C. (2007). ¿Son posibles unas ciencias sociales/culturales otras? Reflexiones en torno a las epistemologías decoloniales. Nómadas, (26), 102-113. ).

Committed to this form of rationality, successful theories, and practices for organizational studies have been developed from the privileged locus of the global North, overriding practices and knowledge located and situated in the most varied underprivileged loci ( Barros & Carrieri, 2015Barros, A., Carrieri, A. P. (2015). O cotidiano e a história: construindo novos olhares na administração. RAE, 55(2), 151-161. doi:10.1590/S0034-759020150205 ). This is because coloniality imposes “the erasure of place (including the importance of place-based experiences) is assumed without further questioning” ( Walsh, 2007, pWalsh, C. (2007). ¿Son posibles unas ciencias sociales/culturales otras? Reflexiones en torno a las epistemologías decoloniales. Nómadas, (26), 102-113. , p. 103), which, in turn, facilitates the reproduction of the standardized locus. This, in turn, fosters a form of aseptic knowledge, a priori, free of the contaminations arising from the context in which it has originated and the subjectivity that has produced it ( Ibarra-Colado, 2007Ibarra-Colado, E. (2007). Organization studies and epistemic coloniality in Latin America: thinking otherness from the margins. Organization, 13(4), 463-488. doi:10.1177/1350508406065851
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508406065851...
; Walsh, 2007)Walsh, C. (2007). ¿Son posibles unas ciencias sociales/culturales otras? Reflexiones en torno a las epistemologías decoloniales. Nómadas, (26), 102-113. .

As Ibarra-Colado (2007Ibarra-Colado, E. (2007). Organization studies and epistemic coloniality in Latin America: thinking otherness from the margins. Organization, 13(4), 463-488. doi:10.1177/1350508406065851
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508406065851...
, 2012Ibarra-Colado, E. (2012). Cómo compreender y transformar los Estudios Organizacionales desde America Latina y no morir en el intento. In A. M. Martínez, R. G. Rabiela, H. Vessuri, & A. V. Corona (Coords.), Apropiación social del conocimiento y aprendizaje: una mirada crítica desde diferentes ambitos (pp. 17-38). Madrid: Plaza y Valdés Editores. ) explains, the epistemic coloniality is also reflected in the actions of the researcher who, to become an academic insider, imports and reproduces theories and practices constituted in this locus, thus naturalizing models and methodologies produced for a reality different from that in which these scholars are inserted and in which their research practice is conducted. Despite their efforts, this stance would not turn these researchers into legitimate subjects for instrumental rationality, but it would lead instead to the entrenchment of epistemic coloniality in the ways of knowing established in peripheral places. This movement,

by accepting this epistemic logic, rejects the analysis of reality from the recognition of its own mode of rationality, that is, from the specific ways in which things are done, from local practices and specific knowledge. ( Ibarra-Colado, 2012Ibarra-Colado, E. (2012). Cómo compreender y transformar los Estudios Organizacionales desde America Latina y no morir en el intento. In A. M. Martínez, R. G. Rabiela, H. Vessuri, & A. V. Corona (Coords.), Apropiación social del conocimiento y aprendizaje: una mirada crítica desde diferentes ambitos (pp. 17-38). Madrid: Plaza y Valdés Editores. , p. 26)

Moreover, as explained by Meriläinen, Tienari, Thomas, and Davies (2008)Meriläinen, S., Tienari, J., Thomas, R., Davies, A. (2008). Hegemonic academic practices: experiences of publishing from the periphery. Organization, 15(4), 584-597. doi:10.1177/1350508408091008 , following this path requires foreign researchers to undertake greater efforts and a fair amount of energy in conducting their studies, since

Researchers from non-Anglophone countries face an extra burden as they strive to take part in building and maintaining the hegemonic discursive formation (i.e., Anglo-American organization and management studies) through engaging in the practices of academic publishing in which texts are discursively constructed in what to them is a foreign language and perhaps also a foreign culture. (p. 632)

McLaren and Mills (2007)McLaren, P. G., Mills, A. J. (2007). A product of “his” time? Exploring the construct of the ideal manager in the Cold War era. Sprott Letters, 22, 1-17. doi:10.1108/17511340810893126 showed that the ideal and valued profile of a manager follows the same characteristics of the standard established by coloniality, that is, the white, heterosexual, and liberal man ( Ibarra-Colado, 2012Ibarra-Colado, E. (2012). Cómo compreender y transformar los Estudios Organizacionales desde America Latina y no morir en el intento. In A. M. Martínez, R. G. Rabiela, H. Vessuri, & A. V. Corona (Coords.), Apropiación social del conocimiento y aprendizaje: una mirada crítica desde diferentes ambitos (pp. 17-38). Madrid: Plaza y Valdés Editores. ; Walsh, 2007Walsh, C. (2007). ¿Son posibles unas ciencias sociales/culturales otras? Reflexiones en torno a las epistemologías decoloniales. Nómadas, (26), 102-113. ). The authors also found that what is expected of this professional is a performance that complies with the managerialist and functionalist strands of administration; that is, they are expected to proceed in an objective and upright manner, without being influenced by the environment in which they are inserted and conceiving practices and knowledge similar to those performed and produced in the privileged locus of reason ( Mandiola, 2018Mandiola, M. (2018). La mirada decolonial al management. Gestión y Tendencias, 3(1), 6-10. doi:10.11565/gesten.v3i1.53
https://doi.org/10.11565/gesten.v3i1.53...
; McLaren & Mills, 2007McLaren, P. G., Mills, A. J. (2007). A product of “his” time? Exploring the construct of the ideal manager in the Cold War era. Sprott Letters, 22, 1-17. doi:10.1108/17511340810893126 ).

These are the outlines of mainstream management as they are defined by this form of instrumental rationality that legitimizes the locus of reason located in the Northern-European part of the globe. In this sense, “Eurocentrism operates a kind of ‘epistemic racism’ that segregates and dismisses knowledge produced outside its borders, on the grounds that it is particularistic and unable to reach ‘universality’” ( Alcadipani & Rosa, 2010Alcadipani, R., Rosa, A. R. (2010). O pesquisador como o outro: uma leitura pós-colonial do “Borat” brasileiro. RAE, 50(4), 371-382. doi:10.1590/S0034-75902010000400003 , p. 372). This segregation contributes to stabilizing the so-called administration mainstream, given its development from the adopted perspectives and theories established in the Global North ( Barros & Carrieri, 2015)Barros, A., Carrieri, A. P. (2015). O cotidiano e a história: construindo novos olhares na administração. RAE, 55(2), 151-161. doi:10.1590/S0034-759020150205 , thus conceiving the typical aspects of instrumental rationality that are to be applied indistinctly since they are allegedly neutral and universal. This leads to the homogenization of knowledge in administration and the adoption of single, exclusive forms of know-how, which were previously defined by rationality as paradigmatic models of success for the area ( Barros & Carrieri, 2015Barros, A., Carrieri, A. P. (2015). O cotidiano e a história: construindo novos olhares na administração. RAE, 55(2), 151-161. doi:10.1590/S0034-759020150205 ; Mandiola, 2018)Mandiola, M. (2018). La mirada decolonial al management. Gestión y Tendencias, 3(1), 6-10. doi:10.11565/gesten.v3i1.53
https://doi.org/10.11565/gesten.v3i1.53...
.

As Szlechter et al. (2020)Szlechter, D., Pazos, L. S., Teixeira, J. C., Feregrino, J., Madariaga, P. I., Alcadipani, R. (2020). Estudios organizacionales en América Latina: hacia una agenda de investigación. RAE, 60(2), 84-92. doi:10.1590/S0034-759020200202 argue, the diffusion of this tradition through the intricacies of Latin America also results from its geopolitical location since the “knowledge around what is organizational has been centered almost exclusively on the orthodox aspects of administration” (p. 86), which emerged in the Anglo-Saxon world. According to Ibarra-Colado (2012)Ibarra-Colado, E. (2012). Cómo compreender y transformar los Estudios Organizacionales desde America Latina y no morir en el intento. In A. M. Martínez, R. G. Rabiela, H. Vessuri, & A. V. Corona (Coords.), Apropiación social del conocimiento y aprendizaje: una mirada crítica desde diferentes ambitos (pp. 17-38). Madrid: Plaza y Valdés Editores. , this operates as a form of colonization of our knowledge and practices, because

the knowledge we import and reproduce renews the colonial condition of our countries, for they tell us Latin Americans “who we are” and “how we live,” those “Latinos” from America, the ladino hybrids, the race of machismo, laziness, corruption, and irrationality. (p. 28)

Thus, by virtue of the institution of a model of success, which profiles the same valued characteristics of the epistemic authority, the delimitation of the subject authorized to produce knowledge ( Ibarra-Colado, 2012Ibarra-Colado, E. (2012). Cómo compreender y transformar los Estudios Organizacionales desde America Latina y no morir en el intento. In A. M. Martínez, R. G. Rabiela, H. Vessuri, & A. V. Corona (Coords.), Apropiación social del conocimiento y aprendizaje: una mirada crítica desde diferentes ambitos (pp. 17-38). Madrid: Plaza y Valdés Editores. ) has been envisioned. In turn, it has led to the denial and silencing of enunciation by disregarded and dehumanized subjectivities. Therefore, this aspect removes Black subjects from the typical loci of knowledge production, especially Black women, who are denied scientific agency and deprived of the power to narrate history from any other point of view than that which is conventionalized from the perspective of the victors.

Moreover, this is also reflected in how research papers are written in organizational studies. Indeed, “the widely accepted standard of academic writing with ‘rational’ scientific language stands in the positivist tradition of management studies and has faced criticism. Organization studies writing is shaped by masculine stereotypes of scientific rationality, objectivity and rigorous method” ( Biehl-Missal, 2015Biehl-Missal, B. (2015). ‘I write like a painter’: feminine creation with arts-based methods in organizational research. Gender, Work and Organization, 22(2), 179-196. doi:10.1111/gwao.12055
https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12055...
, p. 179). When it is done in corporeal and deviant ways ( Pullen, 2018Pullen, A. (2018). Writing as Labiaplasty. Organization, 25(1), 123-130 doi:10.1177/1350508417735537
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508417735537...
), writing denounces the underprivileged epistemic locus from which it derives, given that “internally, those that theorize on management and OS in Latin America are groups integral to their country, since in socially unequal contexts they have always produced knowledge” ( Szlechter et. al., 2020Szlechter, D., Pazos, L. S., Teixeira, J. C., Feregrino, J., Madariaga, P. I., Alcadipani, R. (2020). Estudios organizacionales en América Latina: hacia una agenda de investigación. RAE, 60(2), 84-92. doi:10.1590/S0034-759020200202 , pp. 86-87).

This happens in the wake of the established grammar, of the form of reason that believes to be universal and neutral ( Mandiola, 2018Mandiola, M. (2018). La mirada decolonial al management. Gestión y Tendencias, 3(1), 6-10. doi:10.11565/gesten.v3i1.53
https://doi.org/10.11565/gesten.v3i1.53...
), establishing a model to be followed, and the standardization of objectivity as a perspective affianced to this rationality. In this respect, we must pay attention to what has been highlighted by Pullen (2018)Pullen, A. (2018). Writing as Labiaplasty. Organization, 25(1), 123-130 doi:10.1177/1350508417735537
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508417735537...
regarding the reproduction of this way of conducting research and publications in OS:

Oh, feminist writing doesn’t get published easily, what should we write about instead? Those of us who find ourselves in business schools are experiencing a mainstreaming of our critical agendas. If writing attacks the system, will it get published? Should we play the game? What are the norms of the fields in which we work? Gatekeepers appear again, they are everywhere. Norms write themselves on my body through their conduits – reviewers, editors – us. After recent experiences, I keep asking, ‘Why do we tolerate such violation?’ ‘Why do we reproduce such violence to each other?’ (p. 124)

In Brazil, as highlighted by Vergara and Pinto (2001)Vergara, S., Pinto, M. C. S. (2001). Referências teóricas em análise organizacional: um estudo das nacionalidades dos autores referenciados na literatura brasileira. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 5, 103-121. doi:10.1590/S1415-65552001000500006 , the formation of administrative knowledge in the country has occurred inseparably from the American perspective, due to the “concern of Brazilian thinkers with what is produced in the academic universe related to the organizational field” (p. 107). Our eyes are turned to the North, but we still have our feet in the South, imbricated in the Brazilian context. That is, our tradition in organizational studies stems from American and British theories and practices, since the first moments when this field began to take shape ( Rodrigues & Carrieri, 2001Rodrigues, S. B., Carrieri, A. P. (2001). A tradição anglo-saxônica nos estudos organizacionais brasileiros. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 5, 81-102. doi:10.1590/S1415-65552001000500005 ).

As an attempt to mitigate the effects of the importation and reproduction of the mainstream mode of organizing in the Brazilian context, the perspective of ordinary management was developed, through the proposition of a movement that turns back to the everyday organizational practices of small businesses ( Carrieri, Perdigão, & Aguiar, 2014Carrieri, A. P., Perdigão, D. A., Aguiar, A. R. C. (2014). A gestão ordinária dos pequenos negócios: outro olhar sobre a gestão em estudos organizacionais. Revista de Administração, 49(4), 698-713. doi:10.5700/rausp1178 ). This everyday instance is defined as an estimated space-time in which “a social and cultural practice formed by a plurality of codes, references, personal and relational interests,” referred to as ordinary management ( Carrieri et al., 2014, pCarrieri, A. P., Perdigão, D. A., Aguiar, A. R. C. (2014). A gestão ordinária dos pequenos negócios: outro olhar sobre a gestão em estudos organizacionais. Revista de Administração, 49(4), 698-713. doi:10.5700/rausp1178 , p. 700).

However, the very notion of ordinary management indicates that it dwells on constituted businesses and, even if minimally, has a defined organizational structure (or one that is in the process of being defined) since to set up a business in the country, some legal norms must be met. This, in turn, entails costs and demands investment by the interested parties.

Although ordinary management is opposed to the universality and neutrality assured by mainstream management and proposes the valorization of the instance of everyday life, by itself it does not guarantee the incursion of knowledge, practices, and ways of existing developed by subjects rendered invisible and deprived of epistemic agency in the intricacies of organizational studies. We believe that the valorization of the perspective of the poor is not inserted in the proposition of ordinary management, i.e., the perspective of the subject who has not yet reached the characters of organizing or who, despite being inserted in the organizational structure, cannot speak or has been rendered silent, especially in relation to those who had their insertion in the epistemic agency denied by instrumental rationality.

Accordingly, the national context does not differ much from what has been exposed by Ibarra-Colado (2007Ibarra-Colado, E. (2007). Organization studies and epistemic coloniality in Latin America: thinking otherness from the margins. Organization, 13(4), 463-488. doi:10.1177/1350508406065851
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508406065851...
, 2012Ibarra-Colado, E. (2012). Cómo compreender y transformar los Estudios Organizacionales desde America Latina y no morir en el intento. In A. M. Martínez, R. G. Rabiela, H. Vessuri, & A. V. Corona (Coords.), Apropiación social del conocimiento y aprendizaje: una mirada crítica desde diferentes ambitos (pp. 17-38). Madrid: Plaza y Valdés Editores. ), because, due to the social-historical formation of Brazilian society and the development of forms of organization based on slavery values, Black people have not been assigned with the ability to think and even less to produce knowledge. The homogenization of this space goes through the intertwining of the ideal of the researcher-subject and the reproduction of a narrative, that is, a single way of narrating history and expressing the truth about organizations and the act of organizing. It is a truth that must be subsumed by all since the knowledge that subsidizes it followed the theories and practices, as well as the assumptions of neutral and universal rationality.

Brazilian society has been structured by coloniality and its social hierarchies based on race, gender, and labor, and has treated the subjects that deviate from its referential superiority as inferior. As such, Black people’s ways of being and knowing were epistemically erased and disregarded by hegemonic colonial rationality. The tone of Black voices has not been regarded as relevant, nor has it been capable of pleasing the ears tuned to the instrumental scientificity of those who claimed epistemic authority for themselves.

This gave rise to a way of organizing based on typically proslavery and classificatory values. A slavish order that grammatically functions as an adverbial phrase of manner associated with the verb “to organize,” because it has modified the act of organizing considerably from the dissemination of slave trade and racism “as an ideological construction whose practices are concretized in the different processes of racial discrimination. As the discourse of exclusion that it is, it has been perpetuated and reinterpreted according to the interests of those who benefit from it” ( Gonzalez, 2020Gonzalez, L. (2020). Por um feminismo afro-latino-americano: ensaios, intervenções e diálogos. Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Zahar. , p. 55).

As stated by Holanda (2011)Holanda, L. A. (2011). Resistência e apropriação de práticas do management no organizar de coletivos da cultura popular (Tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, PE. , it would be more appropriate to address the act of organizing as a verb, given that, based on linguistic morphology, “the verb organize registers the dynamics of the constant search for the new” (p. 27) and therefore can be modified by its own practices, translating “a process of building objects in constant modification” ( Misoczky & Vecchio, 2006Misoczky, M. C. A., Vecchio, R. A. (2006). Experimentando pensar: da fábula de Barnard à aventura de outras possibilidades de organizar. Cadernos Ebape.br, 4(1), 1-11. doi:10.1590/S1679-39512006000100004 , p. 8). In this way, to organize is opposed to the noun “organization,” formally constituted and identified by the use of the definite article “the,” whose configurations are hermetically delimited. According to this perspective, there would not be a single way to organize, but as many as could possibly complement the verb, because as such, to organize expresses an indeterminacy to be filled by everyday practices.

Indeed, in the Brazilian context, the verb “organize” has been modified by the ways it was structured and developed in the slavery period, since “slavery was more than an economic system: it shaped behaviors, defined social inequalities, made race and color fundamental markers of difference, organized command and obedience etiquette, and created a society conditioned by paternalism and by a strict hierarchy” ( Schwarcz & Starling, 2015Schwarcz, L. M., Starling, H. M. (2015). Brasil: uma biografia. São Paulo, SP: Companhia das Letras. , p. 96). Therefore, these organizational practices categorize based on their differentiation markers, aiming to control and maintain the distance between the edges of sociocultural hierarchization.

This theoretical path that we have taken so far is paramount for us to identify and visualize the production of gaps in organizational studies. As Medeiros (2011)Medeiros, M. A. (2011). A descoberta do Insólito: literatura negra e literatura periférica no Brasil (1960-2000) (Tese de doutorado). Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP. explains, the gap is the historical, social, and cultural production of an absence, of a form of positive forgetfulness of those or that which would oppose the evaluative benchmark adopted by the ones who narrate history or define the model of success to be followed by managers in organizations. The author points out that this “sociology of the gap” would fit “beyond apparently aesthetic motives; it is grounded – as a hypothesis – in the historically constructed dynamics of social relations in Brazil, guided by racial prejudice and social discrimination” (p. 216). This is a dual movement, for while a referential or paradigm is defined, the otherness that does not fit into its boundaries is excluded.

The gap would then be the work of a game that, in a single act, would establish who is in and who is out, based on a spectrum of factors, such as the historical, cultural, social, and epistemological constructions. The latter aspect becomes relevant for us, OS scholars, because when we enter the domain of administrative knowledge, we are faced with the homogenization of subjects, practices, and knowledge, whose references come from instrumental reasoning that delimits the epistemic authority, as well as the truth prevailing in the area, according to colonialist parameters.

This sociology of the gap would operate in the concealment of heterogeneity in favor of the maintenance of a pattern constituted elsewhere, according to the characters of neutrality and universality, which are themselves constituents of hegemonic rationality. Indeed, “suppressing the knowledge produced by any oppressed group makes it easier for dominant groups to rule because the seeming absence of dissent suggests that subordinate groups willingly collaborate in their own victimization” ( Collins, 2019Collins, P. H. (2019). Pensamento feminista negro: conhecimento, consciência e a política do empoderamento. São Paulo, SP: Boitempo. , p. 32).

Therefore, to visualize the gap, we must adjust our theoretical lens so that our eyes can reach the opposite side of the visible surface, the negative side of the image is formed by the intermediation of instrumental reason, whose configurations are perceived through a movement of perceiving what is concealed or covered from what is already revealed. This battle for meanings is copious and requires us to commit ourselves to the present invisibility and, faced with the uniform composition of standard knowledge forms and subjects, we propose an incursion of erasures ( Souza, 2009Souza, A. L. S. (2009). Letramentos de reexistência: culturas e identidades no movimento hip hop (Doctoral thesis). Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, SP. ) into this dominant epistemology, while questioning the instituted epistemic authority and aiming to apprehend things in the lacunar locus of enunciation. This can also occur in the field of organizational studies when one verifies the hegemony and standardization of this scientific field according to parameters constituted in the Global North, whose effects are perceived by adopting a discourse production that depreciates other localities and their knowledge ( Szlechter et al., 2020Szlechter, D., Pazos, L. S., Teixeira, J. C., Feregrino, J., Madariaga, P. I., Alcadipani, R. (2020). Estudios organizacionales en América Latina: hacia una agenda de investigación. RAE, 60(2), 84-92. doi:10.1590/S0034-759020200202 ) that covers up the peculiarities of local contexts. However, through an insurgent movement, we enter the space between the lines, that is, the organizational practices not contemporized by hegemonic rationality. Furthermore, it is worth noting

that the forms of enunciation are effectively governed by those who are authorized to say things, by what can be said as well as how it can be said and consecrated, historically, and socially, in the history of intellectual fields, particularly in administration. There is a very clear delimitation of possibilities for action, which make heresy and subversion very costly for those who dare to engage in them ( Medeiros, 2011Medeiros, M. A. (2011). A descoberta do Insólito: literatura negra e literatura periférica no Brasil (1960-2000) (Tese de doutorado). Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP. , p. 215).

In this sense, the effectuation of the gap would ensure the silence of the chorus of dissenting voices from that standardized manager ideal, as well as the maintenance of the importation and reproduction of universal and neutral knowledge, which ignores contextual and everyday influences to continue constituting ways of organizing favored by instrumental rationality. Concomitantly, the incidental occurrence of the gap would allow us to crack such a homogenized field and erase the truth told about organizing, based on the imbrication of researchers, especially lacunar ones, with everyday practices and knowledge developed in the gaps.

In this scenario, we see no problem in perceiving the gap as an organizational phenomenon, since the way of organizing developed based on the proslavery order “permeates our ways of doing, . . in Brazil, our ways of doing and our everyday practices have a racialized dynamic since that is a social phenomenon that organizes us as a collectivity,” by covering up the practices that are dissonant with that successful mainstream model of organizing ( Santos & Oliveira, 2020Santos, E. L. S., Oliveira, J. S. (2020). Práticas, raça e organizações empreendedoras: um estudo com negros empreendedores na região metropolitana da cidade do Rio de Janeiro. Ciências Adiministrativas, 26(3), 1-12. doi:10.5020/2318-0722.2020.26.3.9718 , p. 4). This phenomenon, in turn, stems from management practices and historical and social reflexes of the way of organizing conceived according to colonialist patterns, in the wake of instrumental and bureaucratic rationality ( Szlechter et al., 2020)Szlechter, D., Pazos, L. S., Teixeira, J. C., Feregrino, J., Madariaga, P. I., Alcadipani, R. (2020). Estudios organizacionales en América Latina: hacia una agenda de investigación. RAE, 60(2), 84-92. doi:10.1590/S0034-759020200202 .

Thus, knowing the risks inherent to this endeavor, we propose to go through the gaps and launch ourselves through the paths of Carolina Maria de Jesus’ writings to apprehend things from her. It is a form of lacunar writing developed in the realm of everyday life, by a Black woman who is equally lacunar. Therefore, it is an attempt to echo the Black voice silenced by the narrow scientific field of organizational studies, by questioning its standardization while urging other lacunar researchers to take risks to undertake the endeavor of bringing the gap forward and make it their research field.

Gestating in the space of a gap: creating escrevivências and reframing management

The first graphic symbol that was introduced to me as writing may have come from an ancient gesture of my mother. Ancestral, who knows? After all, who would she have inherited this teaching from, if not from her own, those who were even older than she was? I still remember, the pencil was a stick, almost always in the shape of a pitchfork, and the paper was the muddy earth […] ( Evaristo, 2020Evaristo, C. (2020). A escrevivência e seus subtextos. In C. L. Duarte, & I. R. Nunes (Orgs.), Escrevivência: a escrita de nós: reflexões sobre a obra de Conceição Evaristo (pp. 26-47). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Mina Comunicação e Arte. , p. 49)

In this section, we employ the escrevivências as a means to reframe management, and a method to erase hegemonic knowledge, which positively forgets and ignores everything that is outside the privileged locus. We adopt this definition as a way of knowing the methodological tool, a possible episteme for the lacunar subject, whose adoption in scientific research can “activate the specificity of place as a contextualized and situated notion of human practice” ( Walsh, 2007Walsh, C. (2007). ¿Son posibles unas ciencias sociales/culturales otras? Reflexiones en torno a las epistemologías decoloniales. Nómadas, (26), 102-113. , p. 106). We hope to introduce erasures and unbalance the normality and normalization of hegemonic rationality and its epistemic authority, especially in organizational studies.

As mentioned before, the slavish order in Brazil became a way to organize social life in the country, instituting and spreading social hierarchies in its insets, based on the classificatory notion of race. This notion is based on the fact that “slavery was a national institution. It penetrated the entire society and conditioned its way of acting and thinking,” and, as a specifier of organizing, it was updated as “prejudice against Negros, [given that it] went beyond the end of slavery and reached our days in a modified form […] Manual labor was socially despised as ‘nigger stuff’”. ( Fausto, 2012Fausto, B. (2012). História concisa do Brasil (2a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Edusp. , p. 33). In other words, the work of weaving subaltern existences, sewing shattered lives, and knitting fragmented knowledge to create this patchwork quilt that scientific knowledge is.

We must emphasize that between the lines of this paper there is no room for neutrality and impartiality, and the knowledge that originates from it is markedly committed to the lacunar locus in which Black people have been historically and socially located through a form of positive forgetfulness established by the dominant instrumental rationality. To occupy this place is to be aware of the oppressive forces that permeate one’s existence while developing and exercising resistance practices in the dispute for meanings or the battle for the writing of life.

This is precisely what we favor here, that creative ways of thinking and of developing research emerge in this space, by incorporating literature, even if in fragments, into the scope of the text, since literary writing is an art form in the broad sense. This alternative becomes promising because, as highlighted by Ipiranga and Saraiva (2020)Ipiranga, A. S. R., Saraiva, L. A. S. (2020). Verso, prosa, drama e ficção: literatura e organizações. Revista Eletrônica de Ciência Administrativa. doi:10.5281/zenodo.3749372
https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3749372...
, the use of literature as a research source in the field of administration in Brazil is still timid and incipient. As the art of words and meanings, literature is capable of producing displacements, breaking us apart from normalized and regulated territories, and making us more empathetic to what is different from our life contexts.

This knowledge carries with it traces of a body that falls apart in words and reconstructs itself through meanings. It can take the form of verses, prose, or poetry, or even conform to academic standards, hence constituting an article like this one. The thoughts and theories resulting from this association between everyday experience and the use of reason, in the case of Black women, “reflect women’s efforts to come to terms with lived experiences within intersecting oppressions of race, class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nation, and religion” ( Collins, 2019Collins, P. H. (2019). Pensamento feminista negro: conhecimento, consciência e a política do empoderamento. São Paulo, SP: Boitempo. , p. 43). Thus, the knowledge forms and theories produced by “Black women and other historically oppressed groups aim to find ways to escape from, survive in, and/or oppose prevailing social and economic injustice” ( Collins, 2019Collins, P. H. (2019). Pensamento feminista negro: conhecimento, consciência e a política do empoderamento. São Paulo, SP: Boitempo. , pp. 42-43). It is about escaping through the middle, through the similarities of forms and dissonances of meanings and content; that is, relying on the instituted strategies and moving on, step by step, toward resistance through intellectual labor, in any of its modalities.

According to Czarniawska (2006)Czarniawska, B. (2006). Doing gender unto the other: fiction as a mode of studying gender discrimination in organizations. Gender, Work and Organization, 13(3), 234-253. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0432.2006.00306.x
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0432.2006...
, literature is a fertile source for understanding organized social life as empirical material, since it presents a perspective on narrated reality that relates to other stories and narratives. Moreover,

narrating is organizing, and although organizing is more than narrating, even that part of it that is non-narrative can become a topic of narration. One cannot repair a machine by telling how it was done but one can always tell a story about the repair. ( Czarniawska, 2000Czarniawska, B. (2000). GRI Report No. 2000:5: the uses of narrative in organization research. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3JdEwtU
https://bit.ly/3JdEwtU...
, p. 4)

Thus, although the literature of Carolina de Jesus cannot change the ways of organizing currently in force in Brazil, it can create tension between various accounts and favor the incursion into other perspectives and the emersion of lacunar knowledge about organized everyday life. As an empirical source, Child in the Dark contributes to the insertion of erasures in the standardized territory of organizational studies by demonstrating the positively forgotten side of the discursive production on management. In this sense, Rhodes and Brown (2005)Rhodes, C., Brown, A. D. (2005). Narrative, organizations and research. International Journal of Management Reviews, 7(3), 167-188. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2370.2005.00112.x state that

One key contribution of narrative research is the attention it focuses on temporal issues in organizations. Narrative involves the unfolding of a story of events and experiences over time […] Thus, rather than viewing organizations as static, homogeneous and consistent entities, narrative approaches demonstrate the processual characteristics of organizations and can render both the paradoxes and complex causal relationships inherent in organizational change open to analysis. (p. 20)

And one way to accomplish this is to pen our experiences. The escrevivências ( Evaristo, 2008Evaristo, C. (2008). Escrevivências da afro-brasilidade: história e memória. Releitura, 23, 5-11. ) emerge as drivers to attain the goal of making the production of knowledge developed and committed from the gap visible. They deviate from patterns to introduce, in the rest of a pause, the marks of know-how committed to the experiences of Black and lacunar people, within the homogenized mesh that characterizes organizational studies.

Moreover, we have no intention of instituting homogeneity and/or universality from the knowledge produced by Black people, especially women, for we know that the experiences of Black women can differ based on their location, class, sexuality, religion, and education. Indeed, “it is valid to look at individual experiences and subjective accounts about everyday racism so that we understand historical and collective memory” ( Kilomba, 2019Kilomba, G. (2019). Memórias da plantação: episódios de racismo cotidiano. Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Cobogó. , p. 91). The use of the escrevivência as a methodology and way of knowing helps to diversify and rethink management from lacunar knowledge forms and subjects, since it is not exclusive, nor does it exclude any individual or group.

The term escrevivência was coined by Conceição Evaristo, a Brazilian Black woman and literary author whose writing is markedly committed to her condition as a Black woman. The term refers to a strategy that can favor the creation of narratives in which memories and experiences come together, as an insurgent gesture that aspires to give shape to what is lived by people who have been intentionally dehumanized and whose subjective conditions – and, consequently, their capacity to produce knowledge – have been systematically removed. This condition is noted by Carolina Maria de Jesus when she mentions having submitted her writings to evaluation by circuses and received negative feedback grounded on the fact that she is Black. Indeed, she states: “[…] I wrote plays and showed them to directors of circuses. They told me: ‘It's a shame you’re black’”.

As a way of knowing, the escrevivência s frame the experiences and memories of Black women, as lived, and experienced from their Black bodies and which had been previously restricted to oral language. At first, this term designated the very act of writing by the author, that is, the way by which her poetic texts take shape, from the collection of memories and individual experiences combined with other ones told by her peers, or even their testimony of everyday facts, and the refining of listening to translate life into writing. Evaristo (2020)Evaristo, C. (2020). A escrevivência e seus subtextos. In C. L. Duarte, & I. R. Nunes (Orgs.), Escrevivência: a escrita de nós: reflexões sobre a obra de Conceição Evaristo (pp. 26-47). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Mina Comunicação e Arte. , recently enlightened us about the origin of the term and to what phenomenon in Black women’s history it refers. She states:

In the essence of the term, not as spelling or sound, but, as a generating meaning, as a chain of meanings in which the term is founded and starts its dynamics. The founding image of the term is the figure of the Black Mother, that is, the one who lived her condition as an enslaved woman in the domains of the Casa Grande […] The escrevivência , in its initial conception, is performed as an act of writing by Black women, as an action that intends to blur, to undo an image of the past, in which the voice-body of enslaved Black women had its potency of emission also under the control of slaves, men, women and even children. And if yesterday not even their voice belonged to the enslaved women, today the letters, the writing, belong to us as well. They belong to us because we have appropriated these graphic symbols, the value of writing, without forgetting the vigor of the orality of our ancestors, both men and women. (pp. 29-30)

Escreviver is akin to conducting graphic, symbolic, and meaning experiments arising from the commitment to give life to what is lived and to imprint the sheet of paper with everyday experiences in order to go on making and “recreating a past [that] occupies an empty space, left by the absence of more precise historical information. And this recreated past becomes constantly amalgamated with present time and history” ( Evaristo, 2008Evaristo, C. (2008). Escrevivências da afro-brasilidade: história e memória. Releitura, 23, 5-11. , p. 1). It is a continuous way of revisiting existence and recreating perspectives, from “a profound uneasiness with the state of things” ( Evaristo, 2020Evaristo, C. (2020). A escrevivência e seus subtextos. In C. L. Duarte, & I. R. Nunes (Orgs.), Escrevivência: a escrita de nós: reflexões sobre a obra de Conceição Evaristo (pp. 26-47). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Mina Comunicação e Arte. , p. 34), so that escreviver does not come together with those strategies that aim to contribute to the maintenance of the single perspective, but to unbalance it, by shaping new contents of truth and composing fragments from the unprivileged locus of oppressed and lacunar individuals and groups. Aphoristically, this can be summarized as “Our escrevivência cannot be read as lullabies for those living in the Big House,’ but rather to disturb them in their unjust sleep” ( Evaristo, 2020Evaristo, C. (2020). A escrevivência e seus subtextos. In C. L. Duarte, & I. R. Nunes (Orgs.), Escrevivência: a escrita de nós: reflexões sobre a obra de Conceição Evaristo (pp. 26-47). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Mina Comunicação e Arte. , p. 54).

The escrevivência , in this sense, has the power to bring the experiences and perspectives of silenced and lacunar subjects to light, that is, those who have not had their narratives included in the official history ( Evaristo, 2008Evaristo, C. (2008). Escrevivências da afro-brasilidade: história e memória. Releitura, 23, 5-11. ), as we can infer from Carolina de Jesus:

When I go into the city I have the impression that I’m in paradise. I think it is just wonderful to see all the women and children so well dressed. So different from the favela. The different-colored houses with their vases of flowers. These views enchant the eyes of the visitors to Sao Paulo who never know that the most famous city in South America is ill with ulcers — the favelas. ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 85)

When I got back I sat thinking of my life. Brazil is predominated by the whites. But for many things they need the blacks and the blacks need them… While I was getting ready to make supper I heard Juana's voice asking me for a bit of garlic. I gave her five pieces. Then when I was fixing supper I didn't have any salt. She gave me a little. ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 115)

These excerpts help us understand how “the experience of our condition as an African Brazilian person, a hyphenated nationality, which I assume and from where I speak out to affirm my descent from African peoples and celebrate my ancestry” ( Evaristo, 2020Evaristo, C. (2020). A escrevivência e seus subtextos. In C. L. Duarte, & I. R. Nunes (Orgs.), Escrevivência: a escrita de nós: reflexões sobre a obra de Conceição Evaristo (pp. 26-47). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Mina Comunicação e Arte. , p. 30) can favor the lacunar exercise of writing. It is writing that engages with ordinary chores, with the experiences fingered and experienced in everyday life by those who have been positively forgotten in the gaps of organized society.

Furthermore, the escrevivência constitutes a means for these women to enter into the world of ideas, into academia, by vesting themselves with possibilities to conceive theories and thoughts imbricated in this perspective. It is also a possibility to circumvent the epistemological authority of standard rationality and infiltrate the academic meanders of knowledge. In the game of affirming and denying, the Black woman who escrevive can occupy its inner space and set the pace of writing aimed at “recording what others erase when I speak, at rewriting the poorly written stories about me, about you,” as recorded in the letter that Anzaldúa (2000Anzaldúa, G. (2000). Falando em línguas: uma carta para as mulheres escritoras do terceiro mundo. Estudos Feministas, 8(1), 229-236. doi:10.1590/%25x , p. 232) sent us. This aims to introduce erasures and uncover the lacunar knowledge forms and practices submerged by the hegemonic way of conceiving management and conducting academic research.

As a way of knowing, the escrevivência is imbricated in the everyday instances of life, since the experience lived by the narrator permeates their writing, preventing this narrative from constituting a form of neutral and universal knowledge. The escrevivências developed by Carolina (2014) show this since they are intrinsically committed to her enunciative locus as a Black woman, to the lacunar living conditions of the many subjects inhabiting the margins of society and rivers. Therefore, the escrevivência is a form of collective enunciation, because the stories that are escrevividas , as the author reveals, may have been written by her, by me, or by all of us, due to the driving force underlying Brazil’s historical and cultural context, which assigns inferior meanings to Black women. In other words,

to escreviver is to tell stories that are absolutely particular but refer to other collectivized experiences, since its concept perceives the existence of a common element between author and protagonist, whether by characteristics shared through social markers or lived experiences, even from distinct positions. ( Soares & Machado, 2017Soares, L. V., Machado, P. S. (2017). “Escrevivências” como ferramenta metodológica na produção de conhecimento em Psicologia Social. Psicologia Política, 17(39), 203-219. , p. 206)

According to this perspective, to assume the escrevivências as a way of producing knowledge also means to recognize that knowledge is not disassociated from a body that feels things and is situated in a specific social locus. Moreover, it means moving away from the universalistic and neutral conception of thinking and acknowledging the socio-historical influences in the production of knowledge as a condition for non-hegemonic research.

It is not a form of writing centered on the self of the individual who pens the words on paper, but the decoding of a common space that provides the formation of a collective enunciation, as an act that unveils shared experiences, theories, and knowledge practices that encourage those who make their writing practices into escrevivências , or into intellectual work. Indeed, as pointed out by Anzaldúa (2000)Anzaldúa, G. (2000). Falando em línguas: uma carta para as mulheres escritoras do terceiro mundo. Estudos Feministas, 8(1), 229-236. doi:10.1590/%25x , “writing is a tool to penetrate that mystery, but it also protects us, gives us a distance, it helps us to survive. But what about those that don't survive?” (p. 232).

To walk this path and approach the escrevivências as a form of knowledge production also means to establish

a new relation to language; one which might be called feminine, admits that ironically, at the very place where I must offer a conclusion, all I can set out is another tentative beginning; with no guarantee of what this small beginning will struggle to become. ( Pullen, 2006Pullen, A. (2006). Gendering the research self: social practice and corporeal multiplicity in the writing of organizational research. Gender, Work & Organization, 13(3), 277-298. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0432.2006.00308.x
https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0432.2006...
, pp. 294-295)

This facilitates the mitigation of the masculinized grammar of organizational studies, which is configured, for example, in the objectivity of a syntactic structure and the establishment of success models. Experimenting with narrating and conducting scientific research in more fluid and creative ways would lead us to detach ourselves from the universality and objectivity of this masculine writing, which has served as a benchmark of rigor and validity to certify the knowledge that aspires to be scientific ( Steyaert, 2015Steyaert, C. (2015). Three women. A kiss. A life. On the queer writing of time in organization. Gender Work and Organization, 22(2), 163-178. doi:10.1111/gwao.12075
https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12075...
).

Moreover, as stated by Pullen (2018)Pullen, A. (2018). Writing as Labiaplasty. Organization, 25(1), 123-130 doi:10.1177/1350508417735537
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508417735537...
, academic writing by women is the means used by them to unbalance the homogeneous and neoliberal grammar of academia, especially in organizational studies. According to the author, “there is a need for radical engagement with women’s bodies and their relationship with writing” ( Pullen, 2018Pullen, A. (2018). Writing as Labiaplasty. Organization, 25(1), 123-130 doi:10.1177/1350508417735537
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508417735537...
, p. 123) so that we can apprehend what Evaristo (2020)Evaristo, C. (2020). A escrevivência e seus subtextos. In C. L. Duarte, & I. R. Nunes (Orgs.), Escrevivência: a escrita de nós: reflexões sobre a obra de Conceição Evaristo (pp. 26-47). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Mina Comunicação e Arte. urges us to do, that is, to commit life to writing or writing to life, for one cannot take place without the other. Pullen (2018)Pullen, A. (2018). Writing as Labiaplasty. Organization, 25(1), 123-130 doi:10.1177/1350508417735537
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508417735537...
invites us to reflect on this when she asks herself:

[…] yet I am asking whether this is a place that is assigned to women and what are the terms of being in the organisation studies community? Do we need to be more subversive, transgressive? Are we at risk of losing this space unless writing becomes activism, until we change the regulatory systems that assign this place for us and hold us accountable for our writing? This activism starts by speaking of writing, and women’s place within it. (p. 123)

There are elements of harshness and silencing in the normative grammar of scientific writing, given that it unfolds in norms based on an ideal model of a successful manager ( McLaren & Mills, 2007McLaren, P. G., Mills, A. J. (2007). A product of “his” time? Exploring the construct of the ideal manager in the Cold War era. Sprott Letters, 22, 1-17. doi:10.1108/17511340810893126 ; Steyaert, 2015)Steyaert, C. (2015). Three women. A kiss. A life. On the queer writing of time in organization. Gender Work and Organization, 22(2), 163-178. doi:10.1111/gwao.12075
https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12075...
. As Pullen (2018)Pullen, A. (2018). Writing as Labiaplasty. Organization, 25(1), 123-130 doi:10.1177/1350508417735537
https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508417735537...
tells us, the norm in organizational studies is embedded in the male body and all that it represents, so that women have been constituted as a deviation par excellence, which requires correction, either through recommendations from her “peers” to adjust the language of the text, or to be more objective in their research.

Carolina Maria de Jesus’ writings can help us as we try to mitigate the epistemological structures in organizations to deflect the masculinized know-how that is typical of neutrality so that we can, in turn, identify its gaps. Once the author’s narrative reveals the effects of the verb “organize” and in her own way, slavery, which are not narrated when the focus of the research is constrained to the instituted organizations or ordinary management, because what the author narrates refers to a form of “management for survival,” in which she makes do with whatever she can find in the dump, with a single purpose in mind: not to die from starvation! The everyday life narrated by Carolina de Jesus is inserted in an instance beyond the ordinary, since, to visualize it, one must make an intersectional adjustment to analyze the act of organizing in detail while considering that “management for survival” takes place on the margins of the rivers and society. In reality, as Carolina is faced with the emptiness of her and her children’s plates, her act of turning to the dumpster to literally find her subsistence still lacks a name (indeed, there are passages in which she claims to have eaten and fed her children with food remains found in dumpsters). We have yet to know whether this is called “coloniality,” “slavery,” or “invisibility.”

Also committed to the possibility of interpolating academic research with literary writing, Biehl-Missal (2015)Biehl-Missal, B. (2015). ‘I write like a painter’: feminine creation with arts-based methods in organizational research. Gender, Work and Organization, 22(2), 179-196. doi:10.1111/gwao.12055
https://doi.org/10.1111/gwao.12055...
suggested that “arts-based forms can be seen as another alternative to masculine academic writing, in particular arts-based methods as ‘feminine creation’ with an emphasis on female corporeality and experience in organizations” (p. 180). It is about using methods that are close to the arts, to the production of what is sensible, as a way of inserting oneself into academia and resisting the instrumentalist conception of reason. This, in turn, should contribute to blurring the boundaries between the respective academic areas.

This method can bring both researchers and their readers closer to each other and also to a world (i.e., a reality) that does not resemble their own. Literature produces dislocations and therefore “can evoke empathy within us, deepening our sense of compassion for fellow humans and broadening our sense of humanity” ( Thexton, Prasad, & Mills, 2019Thexton, T., Prasad, A., Mills, A. J. (2019). Learning empathy through literature. Culture and Organization, 25(2), 83-90. doi:10.1080/14759551.2019.1569339 , p. 85). This shows promise in organizational studies, as literature and the escrevivências contribute to the expansion and mitigation of its epistemological boundaries, the broadening of its interpretive paradigms ( Collins, 2019)Collins, P. H. (2019). Pensamento feminista negro: conhecimento, consciência e a política do empoderamento. São Paulo, SP: Boitempo. , as well as the incursion of lacunar subjects and knowledge forms through the halls of academic institutions.

In this sense, “writing" as a Black woman, creating and telling stories – both literary and scientific – resembles the act of survival and resistance to the multiple oppressions set forth by coloniality, which resulted in the silencing of this woman. It has to do with letting our knowledge take the form of written words that spring from this source that our Black female bodies are. As an act of distraction, honest storytelling ( Barone, 1992Barone, T. E. (1992). Beyond theory and method: a case of critical storytelling. Theory Into Practice, 31(2), 142-146. ), whose plots unveil silences and is atone for being “out to prick the consciences of readers by inviting a reexamination of the values and interests undergirding certain discourses, practices, and institutional arrangements found in today’s schools” ( Barone, 1992, pBarone, T. E. (1992). Beyond theory and method: a case of critical storytelling. Theory Into Practice, 31(2), 142-146. , p. 143). On this matter, Evaristo (2019)Evaristo, C. (2019, 7 de outubro). “É o trabalho criativo que nos deixa sobreviver”. Público. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/361tSYM
https://bit.ly/361tSYM...
has explained that:

When I speak of the escrevivência , I’m considering a form of writing deeply committed to experience as a motive for inspiration, for fictionalization. Obviously, not everything, not even half of what I’ve written is what I lived. Black authorship does not require a subject of writing to speak about ourselves, Afro-Brazilians; or that we have experienced the enslavement of African people, for that matter. But we do have a historic heritage. Our grandparents, our great-grandparents, this Afro-Brazilian community, our history has a very strong relationship with the enslavement process and is charged with this memory. This escrevivência is very much related to a historic heritage that is recreated from our stories. It is this individual or collective experience that becomes the motto for writing. (par. 4)

Imbued with this purpose of materializing one’s experiences, we must “divert from the standard, and disrespect the measurement criteria that have been established and internalized as natural. It is about creating new things and promoting displacements” ( Batalha, 2013Batalha, M. C. (2013). O que é uma literatura menor? Cerrados, 22(35), 113-135. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/3JAzUy0
https://bit.ly/3JAzUy0...
, p. 117). To displace oneself means to leave the surface and go deeper into the lacunar veins of knowledge, moving towards a creative constitution of knowledge, which, in the present case, becomes possible and is attempted through the escrevivências . Therefore, the escrevivências , as a situated way of knowing, present themselves as a field of epistemological possibilities for organizational studies since they can bring to this field ideas and practices not regarded as such by the dominant mainstream rationality. Moreover, it is also a propelling alternative to reframe management from the unprivileged locus of the gap.

To this end, we browse through the pages of Child of the Dark and come across yet another way of existing and organizing daily life, whose narrative shapes fragmented experiences and daily survival tactics. Carolina de Jesus’ diary portrays the everyday experiences of a Black woman living in a slum in the city of São Paulo, who takes to the streets every day to collect paper to support her family. The author’s daily records, although permeated by the hardships of acknowledging her condition of “garbage,” portray her insurrectionary impulses, her reading and writing, which are her tools to express her potency of life. For Carolina de Jesus, the act of writing in notebooks also found in the trash, presents itself as a possible path so that she can one day abandon her condition of “garbage,” as the author refers to the existence of slum dwellers. Furthermore, she expresses her desire to break with this reality through her writing:

Oh, if I could move out of this favela! I feel like I’m in hell!

[…] I sat in the sun to write. Silvia’s daughter, a girl of six, passed by and said: “You’re writing again, stinking nigger!”

[…] I am writing a book to sell. I am hoping that with this money I can buy a place and leave the favela. ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , pp. 26-27)

The Child of the Dark reveals “a synthesis-image capable of translating the feeling of living in a place where people and garbage are confused” ( Coronel, 2014Coronel, L. P. (2014). A censura ao direito de sonhar em Quarto de despejo, de Carolina Maria de Jesus. Estudos de Literatura Brasileira Contemporânea, 44, 271-288. doi:10.1590/2316-40184412
https://doi.org/10.1590/2316-40184412...
, p. 272), as the author herself refers to them in some of her records, so that no matter the graphic symbol or signifier, if the word in question "people” or “garbage,” its meaning is the same. As we go through the pages of her diary, we come across the residues of history, the ruins that insist on surviving and showing themselves to the living room in all the majesty of their rags.

We emphasize that the scientific agency of Black women has been systematically denied by silencing their voices and avoiding any insurgent manifestation or even the positivized formation of their subjectivity. This fabricated muteness has persisted over the years and insinuated itself to this day in the epistemological configuration of knowledge and the “non-place” of Black women and their voices in Brazilian academia. Meanwhile, we reinforce the social-historical conception of Black women, as highlighted by hooks (1995)Hooks, B. (1995). Intelectuais Negras. Revista de Estudos Feministas, 3(2), 464-478. , who have been treated as ready-to-serve beings, always available to meet the desires of those who represent the colonial pattern of power and occupy the privileged locus of rationality.

Mitigating this poignant silence, Carolina’s attitude towards writing down her daily experiences has a dual aspect: besides inserting the author in a homogenized field, it unveils the perspective of those who have been quartered in their subjectivities and deprived of their power to speak. Following the narrative of the “poet of garbage,” Carolina’s writings tell us about ignored experiences, revealing the perspective of those who lived on the social margins and the effects of a way of organizing that has denied territorial belonging to these individuals (in all the semantic complexity that this term encompasses: space, language, power, existence). In other words, they can no longer occupy the territory of the living room of organized social life, under its verbal specificity that they are not subjects of the clause called Brazilian society.

When I put the food on the table Joao smiled. He ate and didn't mention the black color of the beans. Because black is our life. Everything is black around us […] ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 43)

[…] I made lunch, afterward I wrote. I'm nervous. The world is so bitter that I want to die. I sat in the sun to warm up. With the harshness of life, we are the unhappy wanderers in this world, feeling the cold inside as well as out. ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 179)

Carolina’s warm narrative also takes us through this cold because it sheds light on another social and cultural context that, a priori, we do not share. Moreover, she launches us through the forgotten alleys of organizing, showing that there are lacunar practices and knowledge forms that we can use to begin to reflect on another modality of management and on ways of organizing based on the survival practices of those who are situated beyond the ordinary instance of organized social life.

In an entry dating May 13, the date on which the law that abolished slavery was signed in Brazil (and therefore a festive date), Carolina wraps her account by pointing at the actuality of the way of organizing based on proslavery values: “And that is the way on May 13, 1958, I fought against the real slavery—hunger!” ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 32). This image accompanies the author’s everyday life as she records it; hunger is the force that drives her steps in her search for food. It is hunger as a symptom of routinely experienced barbarism, since “the favela is the back yard where they throw the garbage,” or what you don't want to see passing through the living room ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 32).

Then, Carolina wonders: “I awoke upset. I wonder if I’m the only one who leads this kind of life. What can I hope for the future?” ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 33). We can infer that being in such a situation would already mean death for the poor, with their uncertain future ruled by misery and hunger. In this sense: “. . I’m starting to lose my interest in life. It's beginning to revolt me, and my revulsion is just” ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 35). The revulsion is legitimate, Carolina. How could it not be, if even with an exhausting routine, the pots did not remain full and warm? “I returned home, or rather to my shack, nervous and exhausted. I thought of the worrisome life that I led. Carrying paper, washing clothes for the children, staying in the street all day long. Yet I’m always lacking things.” ( Jesus, 2014, pJesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 12).

These passages from the author’s diary show that Carolina de Jesus is fully aware of her social condition, as she records the perspective and experience of a true eyewitness: “. . We are poor, and we live on the banks of the river. The riverbanks are places for garbage and the marginal people. People of the favelas are considered marginals. No more do you see buzzards flying the riverbanks near the trash. The unemployed have taken the buzzards’ place. . .” (Jesus, 2014, p. 54). This illustrates how the ways of acting of the slavery organization, even in its new guise, still produce asymmetries and social classifications, determining and delimiting the space-time of the excluded individuals, that is, those lacking power.

Furthermore, the author tells about the feelings of exclusion, how she experiences the racial demarcation of social spaces, some of which are easily accessible to Black people but not to others, according to forms of organizing grounded on racist values: When I am in the city I have the impression that I am in a living room with crystal chandeliers, rugs of velvet, and satin cushions. And when I’m in the favela I have the impression that I’m a useless object, destined to be forever in a garbage dump ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 37). At this point, we can perceive the contextual formation of the gap, which takes us to the outer limits of the living room, towards everything that does not adorn and make up the uniformed image of the social surface of a big Brazilian city. Nowadays, we come across these lacunar figures at the city traffic lights and streets, sometimes carrying a small box in their hands and readily asking us: – Would you like some candies, sir? – Do you want some candies, ma'am?

Likewise, Carolina’s gaze is sharp as to the inequalities produced by racial differences, which had been investigated by the author’s wanderings through the city streets, in her effort of collecting discarded materials to ensure her family’s livelihood. When I got back I sat thinking of my life. Brazil is predominated by the whites. But for many things they need the blacks, and the blacks need them ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 115). Moreover, she ironically records the forgetfulness of white people regarding the end of slavery:

I was paying the shoemaker and talking with a black who was reading a newspaper. He was furious with a policeman who beat up a Negro and tied him to a tree. The policeman is white. There are certain whites who transform blacks into whipping posts. Is this policeman aware of the fact that slavery has been abolished or does he think we are still in the era of the whip? ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 108)

In addition to hunger, the task of collecting water for everyday use operates as a defining element in Carolina’s narrative. In many entries, she highlights the queue for the biqueira (the public water faucet), as well as the conversations of the women standing in line, and the obligation to wake up at dawn to get water to make coffee. Indeed, it is Carolina herself who addresses her water crusade: “You all know that I go to get water every morning. Now I’m going to change my diary a bit and just write about what happens to me during the day. And so, she tells us about the lack of infrastructure that marked her everyday life: A thing that I hate to do is to go into the little room where I sleep because it is so confining. For me to sweep the room I have to take the bed apart. I sweep the room once every 15 days.” She associates this absence with her existence because in her house there were “black and rotten slats. I thought: it’s just like my life.” ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 175). Still in this sense, Carolina refers to herself as a piece of garbage, as far as she is living as a dweller in the favela . Indeed,

[…] I tired of writing and slept […] I got up, out of sorts, and went to answer. It was Senhor Dorio. A man that I got to know during the elections. I asked Senhor Dorio to come in. But I was ashamed. The chamber pot was full. Senhor Dorio was shocked with the primitive way I live. He looked at everything surprisedly. But he must learn that a favela is the garbage dump of Sao Paulo, and that I am just a piece of garbage. ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 147)

Another sphere that pervades the diary narrative is the writing of the diary itself, which encompasses the author’s desire to become a writer. However, in some fragments we can identify a certain incredulity on the part of the author herself as to her ability to attain that goal: Many are the entries in which she narrates her sitting under the sun to write, sparing some time at night, as this was a quieter environment to dedicate to her craft. “I’m not lazy. There are times when I try to keep up my diary. But then I think it’s not worth it and figure I’m wasting my time.” ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 28); however, that didn’t last long, as we are passing through the “dump.” Nevertheless, Carolina referred to herself as a poetess, “a poet [who] will even face death when he sees his people oppressed” ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 39).

This same distrust was shared by her neighbors, acquaintances, or anyone who came to find out that Carolina had been writing her diary: “He wanted to know what I was writing. I replied it was my diary. ‘I never saw a black who liked books as much as you do!’;” “I sat in the sun to write. Silvia’s daughter, a girl of six, passed by and said: ‘You’re writing again, stinking nigger!’” ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 26). Writing was not a normalized behavior in that environment, and in the view of those people, it was, therefore, synonymous with something else, distinct from Carolina’s figure:

[…] I wrote plays and showed them to directors of circuses. They told me: ‘It’s a shame you’re black.’ They were forgetting that I adore my black skin and my kinky hair. The Negro hair is more educated than the white man's hair. Because with Negro hair, where you put it, it stays. It’s obedient. The hair of the white, just give one quick movement, and it's out of place. It won't obey. If reincarnation exists I want to come back black. ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 64)

Carolina’s exercise in recording her everyday life shows us how it is possible to gestate in the gap, to create from the daily experiences of those who are outside the epistemological boundaries of rationality. In this sense, it is about situating oneself in the gap, acknowledging one’s condition of being lacunar, and employing this to bring about other forms of know-how. That which can occur from the invisibilization produced, which is not inside, and, therefore, turn away from what is outside and has no predetermined form, to compose a narrative committed to the lacunar reality, as Carolina did, even by warning us that “There will be those who reading what I write will say: ‘this is untrue.’ But misery is real.”

This move by Carolina is in line with the argument by Hooks (1995)Hooks, B. (1995). Intelectuais Negras. Revista de Estudos Feministas, 3(2), 464-478. that “When intellectual work emerges from a concern with radical social and political change when that work is directed to the needs of the people, it brings us into greater solidarity and community. It is fundamentally life-enhancing.” (p. 478). This is precisely the move exercised by the author in her diary by emphatically asserting that the country should be governed by those who have experienced hunger, for only then could they understand the pain of hunger ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 29).

Carolina Maria de Jesus’ diary portrays those who have been excluded from history, the image of a Black woman who, as she dreamed of becoming a writer, insurged against everyday struggle and social inequalities through courageous and realistic writing, as she referred to it. Moreover, when we see the Child of the Dark, we immediately come across survival practices developed in the everyday life of a narrator who tells us about how she had to collect paper and metal from the streets to survive, having to fetch water from the spigot to boil and wash clothes by the river. However, there also lies the denial of denial, in the interstices of everyday toil, in one's life goal, in the aspiration to leave the life in the dump behind, in the spelling of the author’s everyday experiences ( Medeiros, 2011Medeiros, M. A. (2011). A descoberta do Insólito: literatura negra e literatura periférica no Brasil (1960-2000) (Tese de doutorado). Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP. ).

Finally, the escrevivências enable the insertion of erasures in the managerialist grammar that prevails in the area and the dispute for meanings; however, this time, it fights for meanings that also reflect the reality experienced by those who have remained invisible. They encourage the creation of narratives and ways of knowing from the lacunar locus of those underprivileged by reason, showing ways of existing and organizing that can contribute to the development of management practices committed to this everyday instance and the gap. It is about the gap as a fertile space-time for organizational studies which have long turned to the homogeneous surface of administrative knowledge.

Final remarks: for a form of management from and in the gaps

The path we have followed so far is not in line with the conservative way of doing research in organizational studies, whose parameters conform to the “privileged masculine style of writing [that] has been regarded as the primary acquisition of an academic education” ( Pullen & Rhodes, 2015Pullen, A., Rhodes, C. (2015). Writing, the feminine and organization. Gender Work and Organization, 22(2), 87-93. doi:10.1111/gwao.12084 , p. 88). However, this does not mean that what we develop through these lines is not up to the so-called “scientific knowledge.” On the contrary, we shape a form of theoretical research committed to lacunar experiences and knowledge forms, such as those found in the literature of Carolina Maria de Jesus, from which the doing has become a true praxis of research itself. We propose to reframe organizations and society through the escrevivências , especially from the daily practices and ways of organizing developed by those who are not part of the homogenized, organized social life, whose outcome is now realized through the theoretical proposition of producing a form of management from and in the gaps.

A priori, the use of the word “management” to refer to what we are proposing as management from and in the gap may seem controversial, given the theoretical path we have taken, during which we questioned the existence of a model and standard of success, according to the instrumental reasoning currently in force in this area of knowledge. However, it is precisely because of the presence of predetermined meanings about management, according to criteria of neutrality and universality, which unfold in planning, coordinating, and controlling, that we have adjusted our lenses to visualize the knowledge forms and subjects suppressed by the standard way of managing ( Carrieri, 2014Carrieri, A. P. (2014). As gestões e as sociedades. Farol, 1(1), 21-64. doi:10.25113/farol.v1i1.2592 ). Organizational studies have cultivated a tradition of thinking based on instrumental rationality, which has the Global North as a privileged locus of reason and outlines the boundaries of the epistemic authority prevailing in the field.

The challenge here is to use the word “management” to label the practices, doings, and knowledge forms developed by subjects removed by hegemonic and bureaucratic rationality, so that these configurations are also considered relevant enough to be studied scientifically, given the established idea of “white, male, and still heterosexual management.” As we witnessed with Carolina, it is undeniable that these subjects develop their survival tactics on the threshold of organized social life, because “when it comes to the racial issue, management, for example, is established as a non-place for Black people (even more so for Black women, when the dimensions of gender and race are brought together)” ( Carrieri, 2014Carrieri, A. P. (2014). As gestões e as sociedades. Farol, 1(1), 21-64. doi:10.25113/farol.v1i1.2592 , pp. 34-35).

The reading of Child of the Dark helped us to dig into other meanings of the everyday practices of lacunar subjects since Carolina (2014) was able to register the effects of the way of organizing established from proslavery bases and showed that there is a way of managing life that has yet to be apprehended by the neutral lenses of standard organization. Therefore, when we look at what has been normalized and standardized in organizational studies, we must consider that on its obverse are the subjects situated at the margins of the epistemic authority that exercises the scientific agency of knowledge, in the gap of the privileged enunciative locus, because there may exist other ways of doing, knowledge forms and subjects that develop the typologies of their everyday know-how and relate to a different management model.

Moreover, the use of literary narrative favors the production of creative research that can escape from the masculinized norm prevailing in organizational studies and incorporate other knowledge forms and other ways of producing scientific knowledge. Carolina’s narrative is an example of this proposition of doing and knowing from a lacunar perspective, by erasing established meanings to create meanings informed by her experiences. It has to do with ways of organizing inspired by the insurrectionary act by the lacunar subjects as they produce their narratives, the escrevivências that tell us about and from lifestyles developed by those who were covered up by the debris of the conventional narrative of mainstream management and its managerial model of success.

Along these lines, the gap as an organizational phenomenon imposes the adjustment of our perspectives, so that we can identify and “perceive the existence of tacit knowledge that gave support to practices that keep similarities with the current definitions and the techniques disseminated around what is considered management” ( Carrieri, 2014Carrieri, A. P. (2014). As gestões e as sociedades. Farol, 1(1), 21-64. doi:10.25113/farol.v1i1.2592 , p. 33). In the Brazilian context, the gap phenomenon is identified from the forced forgetting of the everyday practices developed by those who were situated in the unprivileged locus of rationality and the importation of knowledge forms and practices produced above the Equator, in an attempt to subscribe to the standardized model of success.

Moreover, as a historical-social-epistemological production, the gap results from mismanagement by those who have claimed for themselves the power to tell the truth and decide what is considered true, from the exercise of instrumental rationality. We point out that “the historical inequalities concerning gender and race that affect organizations and organized lives gain prominence, since we still have an unequally structured society concerning men and women, and white people and Black people,” whose ways of organizing conceal lacunar practices and subjects in a suppressed and positively denied instance of society ( Carrieri, 2014Carrieri, A. P. (2014). As gestões e as sociedades. Farol, 1(1), 21-64. doi:10.25113/farol.v1i1.2592 , p. 34).

However, the act of creating escrevivências and producing knowledge informed by everyday reality emerges as a means of erasing this lacunar production and instilling other management meanings, established from the very lacunar perspective; that is, from a movement from within that is carried out through the use of the same discursive tools made available by instrumental reason. Furthermore, this helps to understand how the “management for survival” operates, that is, the daily actions of those who, with very little, produce modes of existence and resistance to the organizational mainstream modus operandi.

Management from the gap is configured from the ways of organizing life, developed by lacunar individuals, by the subjects who are invisible and deviated from the prevailing norm, notwithstanding an official way of organizing according to instrumental parameters. As Carolina wrote, the management from the gap can take place through the use of everyday tactics, the act of rambling the big city collecting recyclables, to avoid the sharpness and scarcity of life that showed itself to her like a book with black pages ( Jesus, 2014Jesus, C. M. (2014). Quarto de despejo (10a ed.). São Paulo, SP: Ática. , p. 167).

Furthermore, we can consider that the management from the gap occurs when a lacunar subject inserts oneself into organizational structures and insurges against white homogenization, whether in the professional or academic sphere and dares to narrate history according to the lacunar perspective. Despite being inserted, this subject is still lacunar, like this woman researcher who weaves these words here, and guides this very study, developing survival tactics within a scientific field dominated by instrumental rationality. The focus here lies on the subject who takes action and creates their own survival practices.

In turn, management in the gap refers to the practices developed in the lacunar locus, in the ordinary instance of everyday life. They are management acts carried out in the context of daily life to ensure one's survival, whether literal, through the adoption of daily tactics, as is the case of Carolina de Jesus, who used to undertake her daily search for recyclable material to guarantee her family’s sustenance; or the practices adopted by a lacunar manager or researcher, known to be lacunar but who insist on occupying a space that is not targeted at them a priori, since it is established under the interference of the standardized model of success outlined for the area. This is a way of organizing that opposes the ways instituted by mainstream and even ordinary management and has been established in the interstices of the organization based on slaveholding principles.

Management in the gap refers to the acts and practices developed by lacunar subjects. It is the act or effect of resisting the silencing imposed by instrumental rationality, which segregates these individuals from the privileged locus of rationality. Moreover, the doings concerning one’s survival are also encompassed by this perspective, such as the informal and precarious trading of candies and sweets at the traffic lights in big cities, as we witnessed along the way to our formal and regulated jobs.

Along these lines, the escrevivências constitute forms of narrating the management practices developed in and from the gap, since they are produced from the experiences of those who have been and still are situated on the suppressed side of hegemonic scientific rationality. This is a path that can bring to the surface the daily practices of the gap, erasing the pre-existing meanings of management. In turn, this would allow an epistemological turn in organizational studies toward a perspective of the excluded, of those who have not been able to narrate history because they are situated at the other side of the locus of enunciation that governs management knowledge. Facilitating this movement would allow us to learn from it, inserting ourselves in this lacunar perspective as well, as it happens when we read Carolina de Jesus’ escrevivências .

As we consider the gap a form of positive forgetfulness, to work with and in the gap is to negate this positivity, and weaken the forgetfulness that submerges lacunar people, doings, and knowledge forms. Therefore, this movement is an opposing force and, as such, it challenges those who situate themselves in the structured and homogeneous field and dare to see the strata that are suffocated and forgotten by it. We dare to look at the obverse of the field and see what is outside from the inside. But to achieve this, it is imperative to dwell on the social-historical knowledge of societies and organizations, to identify the silhouettes of the negative imprinted in the developed image.

According to this perspective, reframing organizations and society from the gaps is “to study the organizational phenomenon and its societal effects as well as the societal impacts on organizational life” ( Szlechter et al., 2020Szlechter, D., Pazos, L. S., Teixeira, J. C., Feregrino, J., Madariaga, P. I., Alcadipani, R. (2020). Estudios organizacionales en América Latina: hacia una agenda de investigación. RAE, 60(2), 84-92. doi:10.1590/S0034-759020200202 , p. 89), by adjusting the theoretical lens to capture what lies between the lines of the grammar of organizational studies. Thus, to consider that lacunar doings and knowledge forms and their respective ways of organizing life are acts of management means to unveil the multiplicity of everyday life, the creative potentiality of these subjects for surviving, despite the impacts of coloniality on organized social life.

And a way to achieve this is to produce our escrevivências , as stated by Evaristo (2020)Evaristo, C. (2020). A escrevivência e seus subtextos. In C. L. Duarte, & I. R. Nunes (Orgs.), Escrevivência: a escrita de nós: reflexões sobre a obra de Conceição Evaristo (pp. 26-47). Rio de Janeiro, RJ: Mina Comunicação e Arte. , so as not to let those from the Big House sleep their unjust sleep and mitigate the homogeneity of organizational knowledge and practices. One day, we will become unaccustomed to this modus operandi that institutes the limits of a single model of success in administration and create new specifiers for the verb “organize.”

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  • 1
    Translator’s Note: a portmanteau of the Portuguese words escrever and vivência , which can be translated respectively as “to write” or “writing,” and “knowledge obtained by doing.” In turn, escreviver is a verb derived from the noun and is used with similar meaning.
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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    16 May 2022
  • Date of issue
    Apr-Jun 2022

History

  • Received
    1 Aug 2021
  • Accepted
    10 Jan 2022
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