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Doing compassion or doing discipline? Power relations and the Magdalene Laundries

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stewart Clegg, Dr Tyrone Pitsis


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We address the Magdalene Laundries. On the one hand this institution was constituted as a compassionate response to managing troubled young women; on the other hand it was seen as a disciplinary apparatus imposing total institutional life on its inmates. The antinomy of views about the institution is evident in the analysis we make of 116 comments by 66 commenters on an online newspaper article about the Magdalene Laundries. We analyse these comments in the context of broader concerns about contemporary approaches to the topic of organizational compassion. We argue that organizational compassion is a complex social process embedded within power relations that can be disciplinary in nature and create ambivalent rather than wholly positive outcomes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Simpson AV, Clegg SR, Lopes MP, Cunha MPe, Rego A, Pitsis T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Political Power

Year: 2014

Volume: 7

Issue: 2

Pages: 253-274

Online publication date: 16/06/2014

ISSN (print): 2158-379X

ISSN (electronic): 2158-3803

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/2158379X.2014.927684


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