SCOS Update January 2017

Dear Scossers,

Happy New Year for those marking the turning of the season with the Gregorian calendar! Let 2017 be a year of excellent things for you all! Of course as only one cultural form of organization, your perspective on the December to January transition as a marker of the passage of Χρόνος may differ. In the Southern hemisphere the days begin to grow shorter while in the North we hope for the return of the light; yet for those in office blocks and airport terminals the lighting may mean little at all. Indeed, you may instead be searching for καιρός – of which the moments highlighted through this newsletter may be opportune!*
Item 1: C&O Special Issue: The Animal (submission deadline 20th March 2017)
Item 2: SCOS 2017 in Rome ‘Carne’ (extended deadline 30th January 2017)
Item 3: Critical MANagement Studies pre-CMS 2017 workshop
Item 4: CfP “Crises of meaning at the fringes of economy” CMS 2017
Item 5: CfS Leicester Workshop on co-working dynamics and the city

Best Wishes to all
Laura   ?


Item 1 Culture & Organization CfP The Animal
The call for papers for the fab special issue following our animalistic conference is not to be forgotten! Deadline for submissions is 20th March 2017 and if you have forgotten the details of the call you can find it here:

Item 2 SCOS 2017 in Rome ‘Carne’

With the usual apologies for cross-postings, please see the call for papers for SCOS 2017 below including the extended abstract deadline of 30th January 2017.

Our keynote speaker is Antonio Strati and the registration fee is £375.
Our website is now live, at All conference enquiries can be addressed to



CARNE – Flesh and Organization


Call for papers for the 35th 

Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism


Universita’ degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza,


10th-13th July 2017


“Flesh, we believe – more than bodies – is at stake in our posthuman times, in the sense that it is flesh that is subject to increased control either in the laboratory or the marketplace and is caught up in processes of modification that seek to master and profit from it.” (Diamanti et al., 2009: 4)


The XXXV SCOS Roma conference theme of ‘Carne – Flesh and organization’ is inspired in no small part by our 2017 venue. One historical narrative of the culture of Ancient Rome tells us that its gladiatorial contests and damnatio ad bestias (being thrown to wild animals, usually lions) and the sacrifice of beasts themselves served a variety of different purposes. These included honouring the dead and making sacrifices to the gods; reminding those not involved in the warrior state’s military expansion of the violence, bloodshed and killing (carnage) carried out and experienced by Rome’s frontier armies; a confirmation of the power of the state and its ability to mete out justice; and the sheer entertainment of the spectacle. Whatever their function, however, these events seem to us to circuit very profoundly around the flesh and its vulnerabilities, with the horrific murder of thousands of men and animals taking place in what Hopkins (1983: #13) vividly describes as “a welter of blood”. But Rome is a triumph of the arts which celebrate the flesh as well; a culture of sensuous indulgence, carnal desires and bodily experiences.


Our theme also takes off from the longstanding use of the notion of flesh in academic investigations of the more or less porous boundaries between the self, others and the world around us. Flesh, these works suggest, is ontologically slippery and definitionally elusive. For Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964), flesh reconnects the viewing and the visible, the touching and the touched, the body and the world. Perception itself is a fleshly – auditory, visual, gustatory, haptic, olfactory – activity. Moreover, as Antonio Strati (2007) points out in his discussion of the connections between practice-based learning and ‘sensible knowledge’ in organizations, when we perceive others, we always perceive them as fundamentally corporeal. Equally, the world acts upon our flesh, so that what or whom we touch, see, smell, taste and hear may touch, see, smell, taste and hear us. Elsewhere, Michel Foucault locates modern western scientia sexualis as having its origins in the earliest years of Christianity and its confessional regime which seeks to unearth “the important secrets of the flesh” (1977: 154) as the deepest truths of the human subject. In this reading, flesh is the natural body, always and irrevocably bound to sin and to death. 


Cherríe Moraga (2015: 19), on the other hand, identifies a theory in the flesh as “one where the physical realities of our lives – our skin color, the land or concrete we grew up on, our sexual longings – all fuse to create a politic born out of necessity”. In a very different feminist analysis, Judith Butler (1990: 96, 33) defines gender as the “styles of the flesh” which “congeal over time”; whereas Vicki Kirby (1997) takes her and other feminist poststructuralists to task in Telling Flesh for their overstatement of the cultural inscription of the body, and argues that “once you are seriously displacing the nature/language opposition, you have to be arguing that nature, far from being written on, and insofar as it cannot be said to ‘lack language’, ‘must be articulate’ (page 90). 

Elspeth Probyn (2001), on the other hand, provides a dazzling array of ways to understand skin both materially, metonymically and metaphorically – it protects and is vulnerable, it can be bruised and breached, it is porous, it expands and retracts, it devours and is devoured, it has colour, texture and sensation.


Carne – Flesh and organization’ also resonates with themes of SCOS conferences past, like organizational wellness (Cambridge, 2003), excess and organization (Stockholm, 2005) and the animal (Uppsala, 2016). But organization studies scholars have perhaps been somewhat neglectful of flesh in our various endeavours; whilst for the last three decades or so we have paid a great deal of attention to the body, we have largely overlooked flesh. Yet, as our opening epigraph implies, flesh can be connected to organization/s and organizing in manifold different ways. Possible contributions to SCOS XXXV could therefore include but are certainly not limited to:


·         The pleasures of the flesh: carnality, sensuality, excess and indulgence in, of and as provided by organizations (and their opposites).


·         ‘Fleshworkers’ – cosmetic surgeons, masseuses, cosmetic surgeons, tattooists, make-up artists, slaughterhouse workers, morticians, laboratory scientists etc. – and the markets for their services.


·         The resurging significance of the provenance of meat and fish in western eating habits and its cultural, symbolic and economic implications.


·         Vegetarianism, veganism, ‘clean’ and raw food diets, the markets around and commodification of these practices.


·         Researching the flesh, bodily, sensory, fleshly, aesthetic or sensible knowing and/ or methods, the ethics of fleshly research.  Organizing (and researching) in meatspace and virtual space, ‘in the flesh’ and online.


·         Bodily changes, wounding, scarring and dysmorphia in organizations.


·         Flesh-eaters and the undead: cannibals, vampires and zombies as organizational metaphors.


·         The organization of organ donation and the global black market in body parts. 


·         The global meat industry and its manifold discontents: eg, the certification and marketing of halal meat, the UK horse meat scandal.


·         (Re)incarnation and incorporation in and of organizations.


·         Pro-ana, pro-mia and fat acceptance organizations.


·         Psychoanalytical and psychological perspectives on the organized, the organization and processes of organizing.


·         Organizational metaphors of the flesh: eg, the ‘lean organization’, a ‘meaty question’, ‘fleshing out an argument’, a ‘meat market’, ‘dead meat’ etc.


·         The use of animal skin for clothing and furnishings and the complex global differences of necessity versus excess. 


·         The ethics and politics of organizing as understood through Agamben’s zoë (bare life) and bios (qualified life)  and so on.


Open stream and workshops 

SCOS 2017 will also have an open stream allowing for the presentation of papers of more general interest to the SCOS community; and we are open to suggestions for workshops or similar events in line with the proposed theme. Outlines of workshops should be the same length as a paper abstract and should indicate resources needed, number of participants, time required, approach to be taken and objectives. Please identify ‘Open stream’ or ‘Workshop’ on your abstract as appropriate.


Conference organizing team

Ilaria Boncori (University of Essex), Jo Brewis (University of Leicester), Mauro Gatti (Universita’ degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza), Edoardo Mollona (Universita’ di Bologna), Luigi Maria Sicca (University of Naples) and Charlie Smith (University of Leicester). 


Abstract submission 

Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted as e-mail attachments (all common formats accepted) by Monday 30th January 2017 (please note the extended deadline) to the organizers at Informal enquiries can be submitted to the same address.



Butler, J. (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New  York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall.

Foucault, M. (1977) ‘Power and sex’, Telos, 32: 152-161.

Hart, L. (1998) Between the Body and the Flesh: Performing Sadomasochism, Columbia University Press: New York.

Hopkins, K. (1983) ‘Murderous games: gladiatorial contests in Ancient Rome’, History Today, 33 (6). Online. Available here

Kirby, V. (1997) Telling Flesh: The Substance of the Corporeal, New York and London: Routledge. 

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962) Phenomenology of Perception, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Moraga, C. (2015) ‘Introduction. Entering the lives of others: theory in the flesh’. In C. Moraga and G. Anzaldúa (eds) This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, fourth edition, Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, p. 19.

Probyn, E. (2001) ‘Eating skin’, in S. Ahmed and J. Stacey (eds) Thinking Through the Skin, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 87-103.

Strati, A. (2007) ‘Sensible knowledge and practice-based learning’, Management Learning, 38 (1): 61-77.

Item 3 Critical discriminations, critical oppressions … Critical MANagement Studies?


An event organized by VIDA, the Critical Management Studies Women’s Association


FACT, 88 Wood Street, Liverpool L1 4DQ, UK

Sunday 2nd July 2017, 3–6 pm


“[U]niversities are particularly hard institutions to do diversity and equality work [in] because academics tend to think of themselves as “critical subjects,” and thus tend not to see themselves as part of a problem” (Ahmed, 2013).


This event is being organized at a time when we know that many CMS academics from all over the world will be in Liverpool, but it is not a CMS2017 conference event and you do not need to be a CMS2017 delegate to attend. It is inspired by our experiences as a group of CMS academics – VIDA – who identify as women, non-binary or gender non-conforming.


On our Facebook page[1] we have been discussing many of these experiences. One collection of issues that keeps recurring includes:

·         how cismen[2] who consider themselves CMS researchers all too often treat colleagues who are not cismen;

·         the kinds of academic labour that are valued within CMS – and, more significantly, those that are not;

·         manels[3] at CMS conferences and workshops; and

·         gender-exclusive curricula, reading lists and citation practices in critical management pedagogy and research. 


These behaviours, practices and processes take many guises and happen in many places and spaces. They are enacted and reproduced by CMS academics (including ciswomen) whose writing – even activism – critiques precisely such behaviours, practices and processes. For us, Sara Ahmed’s term ‘critical sexism’ captures this collection of things perfectly. She defines it as follows: “the sexism reproduced by those who think of themselves as too critical to reproduce sexism. Critical sexism is not that different to uncritical sexism, then.” (Ahmed, 2015: 11). An alternative, used elsewhere, is the notion of ‘brocialism’, which refers to men who are “so in love with [their] own progressiveness or radicalness [they are] convinced [they] can do no wrong. This extends to being a sexist jerk”.


Importantly, Ahmed (2012: 212) has also written on critical racism, which she describes as the “racism produced by critical subjects who do not see the reproduction because of their self-assumed criticality”. Similar sorts of oppressive and discriminatory reproductions seem to us to be at work in CMS around ageism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and colonialism, at minimum. And these discriminations and oppressions of course also intersect with and exacerbate each other. 


We want to use the event as a space in which we can discuss experiences of these critical discriminations and oppressions in CMS. The format will be confirmed as we draw nearer to the event itself, but the preliminary format is as follows:


1. A short welcome and introduction to the event, including contributions from VIDA members about their own experiences of critical discriminations and oppressions in CMS. 


2. Break-out discussions in small groups for more consideration.


3. No one will be asked to share the names of the people they are talking about (or indeed to share their experiences at all if they feel uncomfortable in doing so).


4. In the last part of the event we will come back together to discuss how we can tackle critical discriminations and oppressions in CMS as a collective.


5. We will offer everyone the opportunity to contribute an anonymized record of their experiences afterwards, but this is entirely voluntary. As Sara Ahmed suggests,


“To name something as sexist is already to begin building an archive: we are gathering different events, situations, incidents together through using this word. We are picking things up. What are we gathering? An archive of sexism might be an ‘archive of feelings’ to borrow Ann Cvetkovich’s expression, we are building an archive from how we are affected by something.” (2015: 10)


6. The discussion element of the event will take a maximum of two hours, followed by a social. Refreshments will be provided.


The event is free to attend, but you will need to pre-register as we have an upper limit of 40 people and we need to book refreshments in advance. Please contact Jo Brewis ( and Sarah Gilmore ( to register or with any queries. Attendance is limited to those who identify as women and non-binary or gender non-conforming. The venue is a short walk from the Adelphi Hotel where CMS2017 is being held, and is easily accessible on foot from both Liverpool Central and Liverpool Lime Street train stations.


“Because after all to name something as sexist is not only to name something that happens as part of a wider system (to refuse to give what happens the status of an exceptional event), but it is also to give an account of that something as being wrong and unjustifiable. To name something as sexist is not only to modify a relation by modifying our understanding of that relation; it is also to insist that further modification is required. When we say ‘that’s sexist,’ we are saying ‘no’ to that, as well as ‘no’ to the world that renders such speech or behaviour permissible …” (Ahmed, 2015: 9)


Sponsored by the University of Leicester School of Business




[2] People who were assigned a male sex at birth and define their gender as male.

[3] Panels consisting only of men.

Item 4
CfP: Crises of meaning at the fringes of economy
Critical Management Studies Conference, Liverpool, 2017
Dr Deborah N. Brewis, Kingston University, UK
Prof. Anne-Marie Greene, De Montfort University, UK
Dr Carolyn Hunter, York University UK
Dr Laura Mitchell, Keele University, UK
We invite contributions that consider how ‘crises of meaning’ are contributing to the development of new frameworks for understanding work that takes place at the fringes of the traditional paid economy, such as work by those undertaking volunteering, creative and digital self-employment, or those in precarious work. Fields of interest include creative and digital labour, freelancing, self-employment and volunteering, the creative industries and community sharing economies of ‘independent workers’ (e.g. Uber, Deliveroo, AirBnB).  
The notion of crisis speaks beyond defining critical historical events to the gradual transformation of the traditional social frameworks with which we understand and conduct our lives. Historical crises (present in our minds with the approaching centenary of the Great War) and modern crises (global economic crises of 2009, modern wars, migration and looming Brexit) are felt not only at a national level but also as individuals and communities. Crises are experienced, by many, as an everyday struggle in which the frameworks traditionally used to attribute meaning to labour and work have been fundamentally unsettled. The creative industries in particular have been subject to claims that work has become increasingly precarious (Gill and Pratt, 2008) and that the divisions between work and leisure are blurred. In recent years we have seen the rise of boundaryless careers (Rodrigues & Guest, 2010) that collapse traditional divisions: such as between work and play through gamification and ‘playbour’ (Kücklich, 2005); and between paid and unpaid labour through volunteering (O’Toole and Grey, 2016), the sharing economy (Bauer & Gegenhuber, 2015) and the connectivity of social media (van Dijck, 2013; Dery, Kolb & MacCormick, 2014). For those at the edges, where traditional frameworks have been eroded, there is a pressing struggle to identify new ways of finding value in work and understanding the place that work holds in their lives. 
Through exploring their part in a wider crisis of work, we call for contributions that question the common assumption that creative forms of labour represent a new, enlightened future for employment. We invite papers that challenge assumptions that are often made about the forms of work that we have outlined, such as ‘humane work’ (Ross, 2004), ‘good work’ (Hesmondhalgh & Baker, 2011), the ‘creative class lifestyle’ (Florida, 2005), and project-based enterprises (Pratt, 2009). This call is interested in hearing from those who return to traditional theorists (Marx, Bourdieu, Foucault, Douglas, Hochschild), as well as those who explore new theoretical possibilities and open up discussions around class, gender, race, embodiment, emotions and the materiality of labour at the fringes of society. We particularly welcome papers which explore whether there is a fundamental human need for greater meaning in work (Yeoman 2013) and the success or failure of such pursuits through new forms of work, spaces, and technologies; and equally whether these environments transform work experiences,  diminishing some traditional frameworks of meaning and offering new ones in their place. Such frameworks may draw on and re-work notions such as autonomy, dignity and meaningful work. 
We call for participants to engage with the idea of ‘crises of meaning’ both theoretically and empirically. We welcome contributions on topics that may include (but are not limited to):
* Crises at the level of the community and the individual, especially related to employment in the ‘creative class’ and ‘sharing economy’
* Valuing work: unpaid labour, hope labour and insecure conditions of employment
* Autonomy and dignity
* Spaces of work and their meaning or value (e.g. co-working, home working and working in virtual space)
* Boundaries and interrelations of work and non-work (e.g. creative labour, technology and the right to disconnect, playbour, gamification, privacy)
* Emotions and affect in relation to crises (e.g. ‘crises of happiness’ & narratives of disappointment)
* Class, gender, race, embodiment, emotions and materiality of labour at the fringes of society
Bauer, R. and Gegenhuber, T. (2015) Crowdsourcing: Global search and the twisted roles of consumers and producers. *Organization *22(5): 661-681.
Dery, K., Kolb, D. G., & MacCormick, J. (2014). Working with flow: The evolving practice of smartphone technologies. *European Journal of Information Systems* 23(5), 558-570.
Florida, R. (2005) The Experiential Life. in Hartley, J. (ed) *Creative Industries*. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Gill, R. and Pratt, A. (2008) In the Social Factory? Immaterial Labour, Precariousness and Cultural Work. *Theory, Culture and Society* 25(7-8): 1-30.
Hesmondhalgh, D. and Baker, S. (2011) *Creative labour: Media work in three cultural industries. *Culture, Economy and the Social Series. Oxon: Routledge.
Kücklich, J. (2005) Precarious playbour: Modders and the digital games industry. *fibreculture*, *5*(1).
O’Toole, M. and Grey, C. (2016) ‘We Can Tell Them to Get Lost, but We Won’t Do That’: Cultural Control and Resistance in Voluntary Work. *Organization Studies*. 37(1): 55-75
Pratt, A. (2009) Situating the Production of New Media: The Case of San Francisco. in McKinley, A. and Smith, C. (Eds) *Creative Labour: working in the creative industries. *Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan
Rodrigues, R. and Guest, D. (2010) Have Careers become Boundaryless? *Human Relations. *63(8): 1157-1175.
Ross, A. (2004) *No-Collar: The Humane Workplace and Its Hidden Costs. *Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
van Dijck, J. (2013) *The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media. *Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Yeoman, R (2014) ‘Conceptualising Meaningful Work as a Fundamental Human Need’ *Journal of Business Ethics *125 (2): 235-251
Submission details
Please send abstracts or any questions to: Deborah Brewis at
Abstracts should be a maximum of 500 words, A4 paper, single spaced, 12 point font.
Abstract submission deadline: 31st January 2017
Notification of paper acceptance: by 28th February 2017

Item 5

Call for Contributions – Co-working dynamics and the city 

1st March, University of Leicester

A 1 day research workshop on 1st March, 2017, hosted by the Cultural And Media Economies (CAMEo) research institute at the University of Leicester. 

With precedents in hackspaces from the 1990s, the first officially designated ‘coworking spaces’ opened up in 2005, with people opening their homes in San Francisco to fellow freelancers looking for a working space and collegiality. In the same year the first ‘Hub’ opened in London, and St.Oberholz opened in Berlin, offering a combined café/workspace for freelancers.[1] In the 11 years since then the growth of co-working has been phenomenal, with Deskmag estimating that 10,000 new co-working spaces would open in 2016, with membership reaching an average of 76.[2] Whilst much of this growth has been facilitated by technological change, co-working also carries elements of a social-movement, working towards cultural and institutional changes in working practice, and is part of wider, longer-term, political-economic changes related to immaterial, creative and intellectual forms of labour.

For participants, co-working promises a solution to the isolation that freelance workers can experience. It provides a space for community, as well as collaboration, offering informal learning through a ready-made community of practice, as well as colleagues to work with on larger scale projects than independents could otherwise take on. Co-working spaces can function as informal labour exchanges and favoured destinations for other local businesses looking for established and reliable freelancers. In the UK context, where the high-street is under some pressure, but commercial rents remain historically high, co-working can also offer a means of revitalising city centres, bringing freelancers out of their suburban homes and into culturally and commercially vibrant, urban centres.  As an ‘anchor’ for precarious and fluid forms of work and organization, co-working spaces might even offer a basis for city-centre regeneration, adding cultural production to the already recognised and significant role of cultural consumption in processes of urban and economic regeneration.
This workshop will bring co-working researchers, and those with a practical or policy interest, together to discuss a range of issues around co-working, including, but not restricted to:
  • –       The relationship between co-working and place: where are co-working spaces located and how do they emerge from, and contribute to, wider changes in the use of urban space and the emergence of specific zones as culturally distinct places.
  • –       What role do co-working spaces play in wider networks of economic activity? How do they relate to other businesses in a city or area?
  • –       What are the working practices of co-workers? How do they connect technology, space, and co-workers in their activities?
  • –       What is the nature of ‘community’ in a co-working space? What is the role of the host in facilitating community and collaboration? And how do virtual and face-to-face communities intersect?
  • –       How does the identity of ‘co-worker’ relate to other identities? Are there distinct connections between co-working as specific professional identities? How are other identities – gender, ethnicity, class, ability, sexuality etc. – included, excluded and performed in co-working?


Keynote Speaker: Dr Melissa Gregg, Principal Engineer in Business Client Strategy at Intel Corporation. 

Drawing on her ongoing investigation of workplace culture, in books such as The Affect Theory Reader (Duke UP, 2010), Work’s Intimacy (Polity Press, 2011) and the forthcoming Counterproductive (Duke UP), this talk will elaborate coworking’s broader socio-technical context, which includes user-led innovation in work design, and the pivotal role of technology in building atmospheres for personal productivity.

If you would like to participate in the workshop please contact, with a short abstract if you want to present a paper, or a brief outline of your interest in co-working if you want to participate without a formal paper presentation.

*Postscript: Time and both direction and speed of travel may of course alter your view – relativistically speaking. Yet regardless of which conception of time is most apposite to the SCOS newsletter, entropy is irreversible, and as such my coffee is now cold. LM.