The 11th International Critical Management Conference
PRECARIOUS PRESENTS, OPEN FUTURES
The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, UK
27th – 29th June 2019
CALL FOR SUB-THEME PROPOSALS
The Department for People and Organisations at the Open University Business School, in collaboration with VIDA, the Critical Management Studies Association, will host the International CMS conference in 2019 around the theme of ‘Precarious Presents, Open Futures’. This theme invites theoretical and empirical analysis of what it means for societies and organizations to be ‘open’ in the 21st century, what currently constitutes radical political, economic, cultural, historical and ethical openness, and how this openness is under attack from renewed discourses of individualized privilege and closure as well as physical violence.
It was once claimed that the new millennium would mark the ‘end of history’, characterized by the permanent victory of the free market and liberal democracy anticipated by neo-liberalism. Yet these triumphant visions have been profoundly challenged by the global financial crisis and the growing populist demand for radical change across the ideological spectrum. Rising inequality and the growth of the precarious economy, marked by zero hour contracts and other unstable and insecure working arrangements, have meant that for many, modern working life is tainted by material insecurity and psychological anxiety. Faith in democracy is being abused by the spread of oligarchy and the troubling return of nativism, racism and nationalism. Our identities are threatened in a present where personal data are routinely harvested and exploited, as exemplified by many recent scandals. And all of these concerns are exacerbated by fear of a hi-tech, automated, dystopian future of mass unemployment.
Still, these uncertainties may also prove to be the catalyst for creating new opportunities to profoundly reshape and reorganize our economies, politics and societies. Neoliberalist assumptions, once held sacred, are now threatened by new ideas, such as a universal basic income, while seemingly entrenched elites may be at risk. ‘Industry 4.0’ – a potentially unholy mix of the Internet of Things, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and cyber-physical systems, predicted to revolutionize manufacturing – is a very daunting possibility. However, it might be supplemented, dramatically transformed, even supplanted by ideas of ‘democracy 4.0’ and ‘development 4.0’. Perhaps we can reimagine contemporary management thinking and organizations so that they are as radically ‘empowering’ as they are ‘smart’, challenging dominant interwoven paradigms based on patriarchy, racism, ethnic discrimination, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and colonialism.
For these reasons, it is more urgent than ever to ask: who is influencing these new histories and how do, and can, critical management academics participate in them? How can they be further democratized and owned by the many rather than the elite few, the 99% and not the 1%? In the western world, developments like the election of Donald Trump, Brexit, and Theresa May’s ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with the Irish Democratic Unionist Party reveal a distinct politics of closure and exclusion in regard to geographic borders, ‘facts’ and hard-won progress around expanding social inclusion. On the other hand, in the southern hemisphere the election of Jacinda Ardern, a committed feminist who is passionate about the eradication of child poverty and homelessness, calls for a questioning of taken for granted, western-centric approaches to politics as well as an amplification of New Zealand’s voice on the global stage.
At stake, then, is a resurgent need to radically reconceive the meanings and practices associated with openness. It is also vital that we critically assess how and in what ways they might actually be(come) open, rather than simply giving the appearance of openness. Open source creation, collaboration and information are recalibrating the potential for personal and collective interactions and knowledge sharing across the globe. In short, then, how can participants in CMS contribute to transforming our precarious presents into possibilities for genuinely open futures?
For the 2019 conference, we therefore invite stream and workshop proposals from diverse disciplines as well as interdisciplinary proposals which critically unpack new concepts including – but not limited to – digital inclusion, decolonizing data management, trans-human management, alternative human-animal relations, open source organizations, virtual progress, global solidarity and mobile organizing. These concepts (and many others) allow for an exploration of how technologies and emerging forms of organization can subvert established identities, and open the space for new and marginalized voices to shape our presents and futures. We are also interested in proposals, again from diverse disciplines within and without the field of management studies, that engage with the contemporary production and organization of knowledge – specifically its openness to alternative perspectives and traditionally marginalized voices – as well as how emerging techniques and technologies associated with ‘open information’ are reinforcing old or fostering new forms of ideological and social closure. Proposals which engage with the broader sociopolitical, economic and technological changes outlined above and how CMS can respond to them in order to help shape more open societies are equally welcome. These would require reflection on our own role as researchers, educators and intellectual activists, as well as the (changing) role of universities in producing both closures and openness in the contemporary context. Just as importantly, we are committed to ‘opening up’ how a conference is organized and managed, creating collaborative spaces for constructive knowledge sharing between academics, activists, practitioners, artists and policy makers, inter alia. These could include activist-led ‘unstreams’ or ‘noworkshops’, performances, art sharing sessions and interactive installations involving virtual technology and mobile games.
Proposals should include an outline of the proposed sub-theme (500-750 words), as well as a short description of the team of convenors, including their backgrounds and experience. Ideally, convenors for streams will be drawn from different continents and disciplines, and be gender-balanced. We would also like to encourage the inclusion of early-career academics and Doctoral students as part of convener teams. We expect most of the submissions to be linked with the overall conference theme, but other submissions are welcome as long as they are likely to appeal to the wider CMS community and beyond. We are keen to encourage proposals from the range of management studies disciplines (accounting and finance, human resource management, industrial relations, marketing and consumption, organization studies, international business, etc.) and related disciplines including – but not limited to – sociology, human geography, cultural studies, anthropology and psychology. Cross-/multi-/interdisciplinary proposals are very much encouraged.
Please note that we will apply the principle of progressive stacking in the event that we receive more proposals than we can accommodate for the conference. This approach means that convenor teams including members of non-dominant gender, racial, ethnic, sexual, age, ability and regional groupings will be given priority over other teams whose proposals are deemed to be of an equally high standard.
The deadline for submission of sub-theme proposals is 1st September 2018. Please send these to the local organizing committee at OUBS-CMS2019@open.ac.uk. Convenors will be notified by 29th September 2018 of the outcome of their submissions. Any questions can be directed to the same email address.
DEADLINE EXTENDED UNTIL JULY 1ST
Apologies for cross-postings
Call for Papers
Special Issue of the Journal of Business Ethics
DISSENSUS! RADICAL DEMOCRACY AND BUSINESS ETHICS
Carl Rhodes, University of Technology Sydney, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
Iain Munro, Newcastle University, UK. email@example.com
Torkild Thanem, Stockholm University, Sweden. firstname.lastname@example.org
Alison Pullen, Macquarie University, Australia. email@example.com
INTRODUCTION TO THE SPECIAL ISSUE
In an era of prolonged financial crisis, political instability and worldwide injustice, the economic and ethical legitimacy of corporate power requires continued challenge. Scandal after scandal has revealed corporations showing little regard for the institutions of liberal democracy. Whether it be tax evasion, law breaking, political lobbying or outright corruption, corporations are content to flout notions of justice, equality and freedom in an escalating pursuit of profit (see Barkan 2013; Brown 2015). Liberal democracy promises opportunity and inclusion, yet democratic states are complicit in strengthening the power of the corporations they glorify as wealth creators and job securers. In ‘post-democracy’ (Crouch, 2004) politics revolves around the conflated interests of corporations and politicians, reinforcing injustice and inequality on a global scale and resulting in poverty, torture, trafficking, imprisonment, and death.
This special issue will investigate and challenge this state of affairs by exploring business ethics as it relates to ‘radical democracy’ (Mouffe, 1996; Robbins, 2011). This is democracy conceived as an ethical alternative to the potent marriage of the liberal democratic state and corporate power. As Rancière (2015) explains, the political dissensus required for democracy bears witness to marginalized voices excluded from the prevailing status quo. Such dissensus also enacts a particular ethics rested in the radical questioning and subversion of the totalizing tendencies of power. In response to what Ziarek (2001) has called ‘the ethics of dissensus’, the political task is to fight against the powers, injustices and inequalities that affect people not just politically, but also materially. This ethics goes beyond the questioning of corporate power, and projects us towards trajectories where people already live and work independently of the corporate-government complex. The ethics and politics of dissensus becomes the radically democratic alternative, directed towards sustainable futures at the level of life itself.
POSSIBLE THEMES AND TOPICS
Papers are called for which explore the ethics and politics of radical democracy as it manifests in dissensus and the subversion of corporate power by alternative democratic practices and realities. This is no fantasy, it is witnessed by struggles in domains as diverse as environmentalism, agriculture, affective labour, domestic work, craftwork, art, and the hacker ethic of the open source community. Acknowledging that contemporary politics have created an inverse relationship between corporate power and democracy, we seek to consider the character of this inversion, how it has been resisted, and the alternatives to it.
We do not just ask whether democratic alternatives to the liberalistic reign of corporations, markets and corporate governments are possible, but how they are and can be realized. Required is a profound ethico-political engagement; a struggle that moves from critique, to resistance, to alternative realities. This evokes, in Spivak’s (1993) words, an ‘impossible intimacy of the ethical’ that strives for a genuine respect of the value of difference. Such intimacy can also invoke a politically aware and democratic business ethics built on the potential of dissent, alterity and critique as a means of refusing hegemony of all types.
Papers might consider, but are by no means limited to, the following topics:
• The effects of Free Trade Agreements and trade wars on democracy.
• Spaces, places and strategies for ethicso-political democratic dissent.
• The politics, ethics and aesthetics of dissensus, through feminism and critical race theory.
• The ethico-political struggle for alternative ways of life, work and organization in the context of global and nationalist capitalism.
• Alternative economies and the subversion of free market liberalism.
• The development of a heterodox management studies to better imagine alternatives within the field of management studies.
• The ‘depoliticization’ of theory and academic work more generally
• The praxis, organization and effectiveness of anti-corporate movements.
• Business ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility as anti-democratic forms of corporate consensus.
• Inequality, difference and class struggle.
• Critiques of corporate sovereignty, justice and dissent.
• Tensions between the materiality of democracy, neoliberal rationality and neoconservative ideology.
SUBMISSION PROCESS AND DEADLINE
Authors should refer to the Journal of Business Ethics website for instructions on submitting a paper and for more information about the journal: http://www.springer.com/social+sciences/applied+ethics/journal/10551. Submission to the special issue by 1 July 2018 is required through Editorial Manager at: http://www.editorialmanager.com/busi/. Upon submission, please indicate that your sub- mission is to this Special Issue. Questions about potential topics and papers should be directed to the guest editors.
Barkan, J. (2013) Corporate Sovereignty: Law and Government Under Capitalism, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Brown, W. (2015) Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution, New York: Zone Books.
Crouch, C. (2004) Post-Democracy, Cambridge: Polity.
Mouffe, C. (1996) Dimensions of Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community. London: Verso.
Rancière, J. (2015) Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics, London: Continuum
Robbins, J. W. (2011) Radical Democracy and Political Theology, New York: Columbia.
Spivak , G. (1993) Outside the Teaching Machine, London: Routeldge.
Ziarek, E. P. (2001) Postmodernity, Feminism and the Politics of Radical Democracy. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Becoming inventive in multilingual work in management, organisation and leadership studies
Being more imaginative and experimental in ways of researching that include languages and language differences
Becoming reflexive and reflective when using English for publication purposes
Seeing language as heterogeneous, political and powerful
Investigating how researchers might represent people in the translation process
Illuminating processes of communication and power dynamics in empirical material and analysis
The peculiarities and specificities of publishing in different languages
Considering the cultural and linguistic relevance of management, organisation and leadership in differing languages
Enhancing understanding of cultural and language multiplicity
Promoting ‘local’ management, organisation and leadership research
Exploring negative repercussions of overlooking language in research
Exploring methodological approaches and data collection methods in studying management, organisations and leadership across differing languages
Uncovering marginalized linguistically meaningful organizational concepts
An Opening Address will help to set the scene and explore some of the key conceptual and methodological complexities when researching across cultural and linguistic boundaries.
Roundtable sessions will give participants the opportunity to present and discuss a particular aspect or issue from their own research. Peer feedback and feedback from established academics will encourage development opportunities.
Technique workshops will help participants to develop hands-on skills in aspects of the complexity of researching across languages.
Open space workshops focussed on a particular topic (such as translation issues) will be facilitated by established academics and aim to support participants through unique insights into opportunities and challenges in researching and publishing research in this area of business and management.
A ‘meet the editors’ session will help participants to gain a better understanding of potential publication routes for their research.
The collaborative nature of the event therefore also represents networking opportunities with peers and established researchers in the fields.
University of the West of England
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