Cartoon illustration of Antonio Strati by Bea Acevedo

SCOS Update July 2017

credit for the fabulous image above to Bea Acevedo #beatrizacevedoart

Hello SCOSsers!
It was fabulous to see so many of you at the conference in Rome recently! I hope those who were not able to attend are nonetheless enjoying the shared discussions, photographs, artistic sketches and general ramblings on the Facebook group. While many of you may be taking some well-deserved vacation time at present, if you are looking for things to inspire you there are plenty of very scossy items proposed here! As we have now launched the new SCOS website at scos.org, this message has been uploaded as a web update, and we hope that in future we will be able to send all member messages out in this way, allowing new people to find out more about all of our SCOSSy activities even if they have not yet signed up to the members mailing list. Please bear with us as we iron out any teething troubles with the mail system through the website.

  1. CfP Culture & Organisation SI ‘Carne’ Deadline 31st May 2018
  2. CfP LAEMOS Sub-Theme 06 Organisational Resilience and the Resilience of Corruption Deadline 30th September 2017
  3. Expressions of interest – SCOS board vacancies from 2018
  4. CfP Joint SCOS/ACSCOS conference ‘Wabi-Sabi’ in August 2018, Tokyo
  5. SCOS scribbles: web content

Item 1: CfP Culture & Organisation ‘Carne’
CARNE – Flesh and Organization

Call for papers for a special issue of culture and organization
volume 25, issue 4, 2019

“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)

This call for papers 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.

Organization studies scholars have, nonetheless, 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 this special issue 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.
  • 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.

This list is intended to be indicative only. Innovative interpretations of the call are encouraged. With its long tradition of inter-disciplinary approaches, C&O invites papers that draw insights and approaches from across a range of social sciences and humanities. In addition to scholars working in management and organization studies we welcome contributions from anthropology, sociology, philosophy, politics, art history, communication, film, gender and cultural studies. We also welcome papers from any disciplinary, paradigmatic or methodological perspective as long as they directly address the theme of flesh and organization.
Editorial team, submission and informal enquiries

The editorial team for this special issue are: Ilaria Boncori (University of Essex), Jo Brewis (University of Leicester), Luigi Maria Sicca (University of Naples) and Charlie Smith (University of Leicester).

Please ensure that all submissions to the special issue are made via the ScholarOne Culture and Organization site at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/gsco. You will have to sign up for an account before you are able to submit a manuscript. Please ensure when you do submit that you select the relevant special issue (Volume 25, Issue 4) to direct your submission appropriately. If you experience any problems, please contact the editors of this issue.

Style and other instructions on manuscript preparation can be found at the journal’s website: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/gsco20/current. Manuscript length should not exceed 8000 words, including appendices and supporting materials. Please also be aware that any images used in your submission must be your own, or where they are not, you must already have permission to reproduce them in an academic journal. You should make this explicit in the submitted manuscript.

Manuscripts must be submitted by 31st May 2018.

Prospective authors are invited to discuss manuscript ideas for the special issue with the guest editors before the deadline for submissions. They can be reached via e-mail at: scosxxxv@gmail.com.

References

Butler, Judith. 1990. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity.New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall.
Foucault, Michel. 1977. “Power and Sex.” Telos 32: 152-161.
Hart, Lynda. 1998. Between the Body and the Flesh: Performing Sadomasochism. Columbia University Press: New York.
Kirby, Vicki. 1997. Telling Flesh: The Substance of the Corporeal. New York: Routledge.
Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. 1962. Phenomenology of Perception. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Moraga, Cherríe. 2015. “Introduction. Entering the Lives of Others: Theory in the Flesh.” In This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa, fourth edition, 19. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Probyn, Elspeth. 2001. “Eating Skin.” In Thinking Through the Skin, edited by Sara Ahmed and Jackie Stacey, 87-103. London: Routledge.
Strati, Antonio. 2007. “Sensible Knowledge and Practice-Based Learning.”Management Learning 38 (1): 61-77.


Item 2: CfP LAEMOS 2018 IAE Business School Buenos Aires.
Sub-theme 06: Organizational Resilience and the Resilience of Corruption deadline for abstracts: September 30th 2017
Convenors:

David Arellano-Gault Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE), Mexico City, Mexico. david.arellano@cide.edu
Lynne Baxter University of York, UK. lynne.baxter@york.ac.uk
Eric Breit Work Research Institute, Norway. Eric.Breit@afi.hioa.no
Thomas Taro Lennerfors Uppsala University, Sweden. lennerfors@gmail.com

Call for papers

Corruption, i.e. the abuse of entrusted power for private gain, is undoubtedly a central problem to handle for organizations. Among others, corruption has the unpleasant characteristic of disrupting any pursuit of goods, such as poverty alleviation, equality, inclusion, human rights, and environmental conservation. Hence, there is a need for organizations to be resilient against corruption in order to protect and preserve democratic social, political and organization institutions.

However, because of inherent traits of corruption which together constitute the resilience of corruption, such organizational resilience is not easy. Corruption is often invisible, by being deliberately obscured and hidden by its participants. Corruption may also be psychologically externalized to some distant place or types of actors, a process which contributes to sustain images of purity and absence of corruption. Furthermore, corruption may be so open and taken for granted that authorities or other actors fail to take notice of it – for instance by being normalized, socialized and institutionalized as accepted behaviour. In fact, some forms of corruption may even beneficial to the functioning of organizations or to reach legitimate ends – consider for instance the dilemmas facing emergency aid organizations when needing to bribe officials to gain access to specific areas or to cross borders. Finally, corruption may also span across organizational boundaries. These issues make corruption extremely difficult to detect and to combat, and thus contribute to its resilience against efforts to fight it.

Organizational resilience against corruption may be understood in different ways. One way is through protecting organizations and its members against corrupt practices. Organizations, spanning from supra-national organizations to state governments to businesses, are therefore required to participate in the struggle against corruption. Often, anti-corruption takes on standardized forms, being a natural part of codes of conduct created by companies, industry organizations, and professional organizations. There is now even an ISO standard for anti-corruption (ISO37000). Another way of understanding resilience is through recovery in the aftermath of corrupt incidents or even mediatized scandals. For instance, responses to exposed scandals may turn into large scale cleansing programs; not only with the expulsion of unwanted elements, but with also an exponential growth of compliance staff.

Such efforts of organizational resilience are often difficult to perform in practice, and there are few guarantees that they will successfully handle the problem. One issue is that they are often (too) rigid; introduced rules may be inherently difficult to interpret, which leads to some uncertainty of individuals who need to relate to the rules. A result is that rules artificially separate a complex reality – a large “grey area” of corruption – into black and white areas. Another issue is that anti-corruption measures focus too extensively on fighting petty corruption, but fail to address grand corruption – perhaps the most elusive and resilient form of corruption. A third issue is the often symbolic nature of anti-corruption, which after initial attention and focus with time becomes vague and bland. A fourth issue is that anti-corruption responses may themselves increase bureaucracy; indeed, organizations may even become less resilient and flexible due to anti-corruption measures. For instance, in some organizations, employees have had to devise tricks and break rules to promote organizational goods.

Hence, in line with the general call for papers for this conference, the dominant interpretation of resilience involves rather rigid understandings of and responses to corruption. But are there more flexible ways to deal with the issue? Can one create vague anti-corruption rules and rather rely on the common sense of organizational members? Can judgment and autonomy become the base of anti-corruption rather than standards and rules?

In this subtheme, we aim to discuss the development and implications of organizational resilience to corruption, both theoretically and empirically. We also want to discuss how the apparent resilience of corruption as a phenomenon impact organizations and their practices. Corruption is in itself “in the interstices” and we encourage theoretical engagement drawing on knowledge from different fields. We also encourage a wide range of empirical and geographical loci for studying corruption, especially empirical studies from Latin America, to subvert the Western-centric dominance of academic discussions.

We would welcome papers which:

Explore the resilience of both of corruption and of anti-corruption practices in various empirical contexts and cultures
Describe and explain resilience both of corruption and of anti-corruption theoretically
Explore effective and less effective ways of creating organizational resilience against corruption
Organizations responses and their discontents: hypocrisy, window-dressing, lack of enforcement, contradictory standards, absurdity
Power relations in anti-corruption, the interplay within the organizational hierarchy as well as between core and periphery
Individual and group responses to organization wide forms of anti-corruption
Recovering after a corruption scandal: the Big Bang and beyond
Dealing with the uncertainty of potential corruption: the underlying threat in everyday organizational life
The grand and the petty – is anti-corruption not ambitious enough?
The semiology of corruption, both in countries/regions and organizations
Empirical studies which have attempted to create innovative ways to study corruption or anti-corruption outcomes
Case studies of successful anti-corruption organizations (i.e. CICIG in Guatemala) or successful organizational efforts to tackle the resilience of corruption
Submit your abstract on the website here: https://www.laemos2018.com/


Item 3: SCOS Board vacancies

At this year’s conference in Rome we reminded members that there are a number of vacancies that will become available on the board over the next year or two. While some great SCOSsers did let us know of their interest at the conference, this message is to make sure those who couldn’t make it to Rome can still nominate themselves! If any SCOSSers want to register interest in future vacancies on the board or request information about specific board positions, please contact the elections officer, Mary Phillips mary.phillips@bristol.ac.uk


Item 4: CfP Wabi-sabi (侘寂): Imperfection, incompleteness and
impermanence in Organisational Life

August 17-20 2018
Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan.

Don’t imitate me
It’s as boring
As the two halves of a melon

Matsuo Basho

Ring the bells that still can ring, Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen

 

Wabi-sabi is an approach to life based on accepting the transience and imperfection of the world. As a Japanese aesthetic derived from Buddhism, wabi-sabi embraces the wisdom that comes from perceiving beauty in impermanence and incompleteness. What might such advocacy of the harmony to found in the flawed, faulty, and weathered have to do with formal organisations, obsessed as they seemingly are with continually striving for perfection? The very ideal of perfection, as an antithesis of wabi-sabi, is embedded in managerial efforts as diverse as striving for continuous improvement, setting ‘stretch’ targets, managing the performance of ideal employees, promoting organizational cultures of excellence, and even the romanticized perfect bodies of employees. Is it then the case that the managerial aesthetic of organizations is the antinomy of wabi-sabi?

The idea for this conference is to explore how the wabi-sabi aesthetic can offer a counterpoint to the forms of idealization that dominate so much of managerial and organisational thinking. This is an exploration of how ideas from an ancient Eastern tradition might fruitfully be brought to bear on organisational issues, challenges and problems, especially as they are dominated by Western intellectual habits and foibles. Wabi-sabi as a theme explores the imperfect idea of a dividing crack between ‘the East’ and ‘the West’ that we hope conference participants will illuminate with the sort of effervescent creativity and fluid thinking that have characterised SCOS and ACSCOS conferences in the past.

We invite submissions that consider any of the possibilities through which principles of transience and imperfection are present in, or can be made relevant to, organisational life. Central to this is how organisations have long been exemplars of containment that wilfully defy any recognition of the importance of transience, flux, and fluidity. The edifice of knowledge and its insistence on the reduction of difference and undecideability can, however, have disastrous political and social effects. Undoing the desire of such rock solid certainty might just prove to be essential for developing ethical openness to others. Is it then possible that wabi-sabi’s emphasis on transience and imperfection offers a path appreciating ethical relations and challenging oppressive organizational regimes that violate humanity?

The 2018 SCOS/ACSCOS Conference is a joint conference. For the first time the annual SCOS conference will be combined with the ACSCOS conference which was last held in Sydney in 2015. There is also another first, that SCOS has never before been held in an Asian/Pacific country. Pursuing these new dimensions to SCOS will ensure that it is a memorable experience. As part of this the local hosts at Meiji University have arranged numerous activities that we can participate in which will help all delegates directly experience wabi-sabi during the conference.

Contributions may find inspiration from the following list of potential themes:

• The desire for perfection in organisations, careers, and lives
• Mindfulness, organising, managing, leadership, and followership
• Western philosophy’s engagement with Eastern philosophy though, for example, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Irigaray, as well as Eastern philosophy’s engagement with Western philosophy, for example Nishida, Watsuji, and Yuasa, and its implications for organisations
• The idealization of Japanese management practice in Western management theory, in for example kanban (lean just-in-time process), jidoka (stop everything!), babyoke (automated mistake proofing), poka yoke (mistake proofing)
• Imperfection as a new organizational ideal
• Undecidability and the ethics of not-knowing
• Living imperfect lives at work
• Imperfection as lack, critiques of patriarchal organisation
• Western preoccupations with completeness and totality
• An organisational aesthetics of im/perfection and transience
• Eastern and Western ideals of beauty and cultural perfection
• Symbols of imperfection, imperfect bodies, the monstrous
• The politics and ethics of failure
• Impermanence and organising
• Global transitions and transience
• Simplicity and/or quietness in organizations
• Enlightenment (satori)
• Desolation and solitude or liberation from the material world
• Inspiration for wabi-sabi expressed in the arts (music, flower arrangement, gardens, poetry, food ceremonies)

Convenors
The conference is hosted by Meiji University in Tokyo, Japan. The conference organizers are Masayasu Takahashi (Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan), Masato Yotsumoto (University of Nagasaki, Sasebo, Japan), Toshio Takagi (Showa Women’s University, Tokyo, Japan), Alison Pullen (Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia), Carl Rhodes (University of Technology Sydney, Australia), and Janet Sayers (Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand).

Abstracts
Abstracts of no more than 500 words, in pdf format, should be submitted as e­mail attachments by December 1st 2017 to scos2018@gmail.com. You may also direct any queries to this address. If you need a refereed conference paper in order to satisfy funding requirements for your travel please make this clear on your submission.

There are a limited number of bursaries available to assist students to participate in the conference. Please indicate on your abstract proposal if you are a student and if you wish to apply for a bursary.

Open stream
SCOS/ACSCOS 2018 will also have an open stream, allowing for the presentation of general papers that do not fit this year’s conference theme but are of interest to the SCOS/ACSCOS communities. Please identify “open stream” on your abstract, as appropriate.

Workshops
We also welcome proposals for longer sessions run in a workshop format. Outlines of workshops should be the same length as a paper abstract and should give an indication of the resources needed, the number of participants, the time required, the approach to be taken and the session’s objectives. Please identify “workshop” on your abstract, as appropriate.


Item 5: Scribbling for SCOS

As part of the conference in Rome, Antonio Strati gave a fabulous keynote which included some detailed reflections on the emergence of SCOS and some of the early conferences. Some of the early publications he mentioned are now on the website in the ‘archives’, and we hope to encourage SCOSsers past and present to submit their own reflections for the website in future. Writing would not be restricted to any particular format and could include photographs or other media. If you have something you would like to submit or if you have an idea you would like to explore, please contact Scott Lawley on scott.lawley@ntu.ac.uk  We would especially like to hear from new members or first-time attendees!