Whistleblowing advocacy: Solidarity and fascinance

Van Portfliet, Meghan
Kenny, Kate
Van Portfliet, Meghan, & Kenny, Kate. (2022). Whistleblowing advocacy: Solidarity and fascinance. Organization, 29(2), 345-366. doi:10.1177/13505084211051049
What role does difference play in relationships between partners in solidarity? In this article we add to debates on difference-in-solidarity by proposing fascinance as a critical aspect of intersubjective relations in solidarity networks. We build upon extant feminist and affect theory scholarship in doing so. Our novel approach is informed by our analysis of in-depth empirical data from a special case of solidarity – whistleblowing advocacy groups – and by Bracha Ettinger’s concept of the matrixial borderspace. Whistleblower support is a critical factor in enabling disclosures about organisational wrongdoing to come to light. Examining the experiences of workers in advocacy groups, we find that difference-in-solidarity is multi-faceted, compelling compassion while simultaneously generating ambivalence and tendencies towards exclusion. Where such contrary affects are enabled to co-exist, and where boundaries between self and other begin to be troubled, the impetus for people to work towards a common cause is enhanced. Our specific contribution is to add a matrixial perspective to debates on difference-in-solidarity: the concept of fascinance represents a powerful aspect of connection between self and other that is at once elusive, affectively felt, and invokes earlier experiences of interdependency between infant and mother. Our study also provides a unique examination of the difficulties and affordances that can accompany whistleblowing advocacy work.
SAGE Publications
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