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Behind Closed Doors: Complaints and Institutional Violence, Sara Ahmed
5 December 2019 @ 5.30 pm - 6.30 pm
Lecture Theatre, Australian Centre on China in the World, Building 188, Fellows Lane, ANU
This lecture draws on interviews conducted with staff and students who have made complaints within universities that relate to unfair, unjust or unequal working conditions and to abuses of power such as bullying and harassment. Making a complaint requires becoming an institutional mechanic: you have to work out how to get a complaint through the system. It is because of the difficulty of getting through that complaints often end up being about the system. The lecture considers how complaints are often ‘managed’ by institutions in order to limit damage or to avoid a crisis. These institutional tactics for managing complaints can be understood as forms of bullying and harassment. The lecture explores the significance of how complaints happen behind closed doors and shows how doors are often closed even when they appear to be opened.