Workplace emotions in postcolonial spaces: Enduring legacies, ambivalence, and subversion

Eda Ulus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses the emotions of work in postcolonial spaces, where enduring racial tensions, arising from white privilege, continue to shape people’s experiences. Based on a close scrutiny of two interview extracts from field work in India, the article applies a postcolonial perspective to illustrate that colonial dynamics and attendant power relations are daily reproduced or subverted at work. Postcolonial arguments are extended to organizational emotions, by demonstrating how everyday narratives, including those told to researchers, uncover a wide range of experiences of race that may go unnoticed or may not surface through more structured methods. Ambivalence and subversion feature in these extracts as core experiences of emotionally charged postcolonial relations, which are often reproduced or experienced unconsciously. The enduring legacies of colonial history on organizational spaces are discussed, with implications for the emotions of working across racial and geographic boundaries. In a globalized work environment, such legacies may go unnoticed, but their effects are manifest in individual experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)890-908
Issue number6
Early online date5 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


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