Undoing Homo Economicus: de-centering dominant corporate authorships

Authors: Jayme Walenta*, University of Texas - Austin
Topics: Economic Geography, Gender, Qualitative Research
Keywords: Diverse Economies, Corporations, Enron, Homo Economicus
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Empire Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper extends theorizations of the corporation through the diverse economies project, a project that makes visible the multiplicitous economic practices operating outside the strict capital-centric script. To do this, I take up the topic of Enron Corporation’s downfall and aftermath by promoting diverse corporate subjectivities in the form of authorships of Enron emanating from marginal sources. My purpose is to decenter the dominant economic identity of the corporation as that of homo economicus, embodied through the rational, white, and in this case toxic masculine figure. Doing this enables a decentering of the specific gendered and racial orderings and spaces that the corporation as homo economicus produces. Following a brief discussion of literature on homo economicus’ subjectivity, and background on Enron’s capital culture, the paper describes diverse authorships of Enron’s story as enacted at a series of theatrical performances in Austin, TX of the play ENRON, where all cast members were either female or gender non-binary. Using this case, I emphasize a diversity of bodies in the corporate sector, which I suggest could lead to new corporate logics, defined not by white, rational masculinity, but by new subject positions.

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