Summer is leaving us and the new academic year has well and truly started for most. When I think about our little exercise in Uppsala where we discussed the ‘parts’ of SCOS I wonder if this time of the year is the ‘lungs’, when we breathe fresh air into our thinking. Or perhaps we are only blowing hot air out at our students! One has to wonder where our bluster might be taking us, and what role SCOS might have in advocating serious fun as a ‘wind of change’ in knowledge production…reflections on the Facebook group welcome.
Item 1: CfP EGOS 2017 Copenhagen, sub-theme 22 “Organizations, Language/s and Mobility/ies” Deadline Jan 9thItem 2: C&O Anxiety and Organization deadline reminder 28th October
Item 3: VIDA manifesta
Item 4: New issue of ephemera out now on consumption of work and the work of consumption
Item 1 Call for papers: EGOS sub-theme 22: Organizations, Language/s and Mobility/ies
This sub-theme continues the conversation about language/s and organizations that we have held at EGOS for a few years. We welcome conceptual and empirical contributions that in one way or another focus on language, and languages, related to organizing. Following the theme ‘The Good Organization’ we are particularly interested in exploring the political role of language/s for organizational inclusion and exclusion, and, on a society-wide level, the linguistic aspects of voluntary or involuntary mobility. Other themes also possible – see link. Hope to see you in Copenhagen!
Marjana, Martyna and Wilhelm
Item 2 CfP Anxiety and Organization deadline 28th October
Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom” Søren Kierkegaard once remarked. With the liberty afforded by neo-liberalism, a new anxiety has been born. Ours is a globalized economic anxiety where our freedoms are directed towards clambering over the line that separates winners from losers, rich from poor, those ahead and those left behind. Organizations are not innocent. Audits, performance measures, short term targets, and the rest of the plethora of metrics and measurements weigh heavily as liberty is reduced to the freedom to compete in a less than zero sum game. The rules of this restless game are that the future is uncertain and the present is insecure. The agitation is heightened by uneasy managers enlisted to engender and foment anxiety in others.
On a geo-political scale there is the freedom to enter into the circuits of capital that whizz around the globe without care of consequence of what is left in their wake. This is not W.H. Auden’s age of anxiety that heralded the alienation of an industrialized world. Our anxiety is that of a world which we identify with all too much. A world where organization and management hold centre stage in people’s lives – for better or for worse, like it or not. The anxiety is one with which we must identify; to belong; to hope for the spoils; to abate the fear of nothing; to live; to survive.
As Susan Bordo assesses, this anxiety manifests too in the obsessions of unobtainable idealised bodies and lives that are little more that the logical product of the dominant cultural fantasies. Anxiety is written on the bodies of people in organizations whose eyes are never far from the mirror that is given to them as a sad gift from on high. Authenticity as a once hopeful purpose is replaced with the desire to be that which the hierarchy approves, whatever it takes – hard hours at the gym, late hours in the office, 24×7 email demands, painful diets, the surgeon’s knife, the discipline of the personal coach, or the handy advice of the management guru.
This special issue seeks to explore the meaning and experience of anxiety as it is located in ruthless mire of neo-liberal performativity. We are calling for papers that examine organizationally related phenomena from the perspective of anxiety and the related and often ambivalent feelings of fear, freedom, desire, choice, dread, responsibility, worry and uncertainty. In one direction this could mean expounding the organizational structures, cultures, pressures and effects that that lead to and are caused by anxiety. In another, the focus might be on the productive possibilities of confronting anxiety and the paths of freedom away from the anxiety of organizations.
We are open to any papers that relate to the themes described above. Within this some potential topics and themes include:
The effects of anxiety of people’s sense of identity in organizations and how anxiety relates to their desires, relationships or even humanity.
How the anxiety provoked by or in organizations can result in forms of dissent such as worker resistance, anti-organizational protests, workplace conflict, whistleblowing or political activism.
The productive possibilities of anxiety as a means to invigorate organizational responsibility and accountability.
The role of management control mechanisms in attempting to reduce or repress managerial anxiety.
Anxieties produced by neoliberalism, as related for example to precarious work, income inequality or financial crises.
The anxiety of change and its management.
Difference, diversity and discrimination and the production of anxiety.
Performance anxieties produced in organizations.
Cultural constructions of anxieties on bodies ranging from cosmetic surgery, to self-mutilation to psychosomatic illnesses.
LGBTI and the anxiety of sexuality and sexual identity in organizations.
Auden, W.H. (1947) The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue, New York: Random House.
Bordo, Susan (1993) Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body, Berkeley: University of California Press.
Kierkegaard, Søren (1980) The Concept of Anxiety, Princeton: Princeton University Press
Item 3 VIDA manifesta
“I often experience feminism as energy, the energy of making feminist connections can be how we survive being depleted by doing feminist work.” (Sara Ahmed, 2013)
VIDA is the Critical Management Studies Women’s Association, formed in 2009. This manifesta offers an overview of who we are, what we aim to do, how we work, the values we stand for and the activities we are currently involved in. Manifesta is a feminine Italian adjective meaning ‘apparent’, ‘obvious’ or ‘evident’. We use it as an alternative to ‘manifesto’. ‘Manifesto’ has the same etymological roots as manifesta– the Latin manifestum, which translates into English as ‘clear’, ‘explicit’ or ‘public’ – but it is masculine.
VIDA is a feminist, anti-racist, anti-ageist, anti-classist, anti-ableist, anti-colonial, anti-heteronormative organization. We stand for equity, democracy, support, friendship, collectivism, challenge, resistance and intervention. We emphasize democratic values, solidarity and support in all of our activities. We focus on reflexivity and on developing structures that stress the need for action, accountability and change.
There has been a long tradition of activism and critical scholarship both outside and inside CMS and management and organization studies more generally. Inside the academy, there are many different forms which this work takes: book series, conference streams, special issues, equality work on University committees, mentoring programmes and so on. We therefore have a rich and significant history – and present – to draw on, and we see ourselves as very much part of this.
Specifically though the tenor of academic writing and debate in Critical Management Studies – the tendency to machismo, incredulity, one-upmanship and acidity, as well as the continuing reliance on what one brand of feminism calls the Dead White European Men – can be regarded as a particular challenge for CMS scholars who do not identify as white, heterosexual, Anglophone, middle class, able-bodied cismen. So can the low numbers of senior role models who do not identify as such in academic institutions of all kinds. Equally, those who don’t identify as cismen, white, heterosexual, Anglophone, middle class and/ or able-bodied, and who are fortunate enough to find sympathetic cismen mentors may end up on the receiving end of a variety of sexist judgements about their relationships with these men.
And all of this is made yet more complicated and yet more persistent by the ways in which we just as much as white, heterosexual, Anglophone, middle class, able-bodied cismen enrol in the discourses which produce and reproduce these problematic effects. It is also important to acknowledge not only the “monotonous similarity” of academic gender relations, but also their “endless variety” (Rubin, 1975: 160) – cut across as they are by race, ethnicity, age, (dis)ability, sexuality, national origin and a whole host of other differences. We need to challenge the complexity of power relations in the critical management academy and its cognate disciplines.
As CMS scholars we often fall prey to the prejudices associated with our non-cismen genders, as well as our identifications as non-white, non-heterosexual, non-Anglophone, working class, disabled and so on. We are more easily the targets of bullying and sexual harassment, are oftentimes swamped with large administrative and teaching loads and are rarely naturally included in formal but more especially informal decision-making fora. The resulting isolation is perhaps particularly difficult because we are engaged in critical management work, as we can be seen to ‘rock the boat’ more than most. We feel that we often occupy a place of ‘double Otherness’ in terms of our relationship to mainstream management studies as well as to the Centre of academia. Without necessarily attempting to define and clarify our Otherness – or indeed the differences that exist between us as a group of CMS scholars – we want to challenge in a very real and material way the ‘automatisms’ of academic work that reproduce existing processes and ways of being.
We are therefore a networked organisation dedicated to challenging patriarchal, racist, heteronormative, ableist, classist, colonialist and ageist practices in academic institutions and in the (re)production of knowledgetout court. We aim to change the ways in which we and other Others, in the critical management academy as elsewhere, are silenced and marginalized. We are working together to challenge the exclusions, oppressions and discriminations which continue to exist in CMS, and the lack of reflexivity which contributes to their perpetuation. We exist to fight against all forms of inequality – including but not limited to sexism, racism, ableism, ageism, classism, heteronormativity and colonialism – and to change the uneven distribution of material and symbolic power. We want to make a difference inacademic practice: teaching, researching and managing in our organizations and beyond, in the global CMS community.
However, VIDA is not one thing, and we do not want it to be. In many ways the use of the collective pronoun ‘we’ is problematic in itself as it suggests that all of us believe the same things, have the same political commitments, work in similar institutions, identify in the same ways, use the same sorts of theories and concepts in our work and so on. Our we is therefore ‘we’: ‘we’ do not want to universalize the work that ‘we’ do through VIDA, nor to close down debates or internal conflicts within our network.
VIDA membership is restricted to those interested in CMS and who identify as anything other than cismen. All of our activities are open to all members, but there is no requirement for anyone to join in anything in particular – or anything at all. We are a work in progress and will continue to be, so we welcome all new ideas and proposals. Some of our work will also be temporary, whereby we come together to address specific issues for a short time. This manifesta itself is therefore also a work in progress.
VIDA has no hierarchy – no Board or ‘executive’ function at all. We want as far as possible to encourage all members to suggest events; offer to run events; share events, job vacancies, funding opportunities, publications and campaigns; ask questions or ask for advice; ask for comments on ongoing work (papers, funding applications, whatever); share work in progress/ finished work/ teaching resources; and responding to others’ requests and queries. Events can be one offs or serial, they can run anywhere at all (including virtually) and they can also involve one, several or many VIDA members. Everyone is welcome to use our name to ‘label’ the events they want to run.
We do not have any form of funding and are unable to provide any. We hope that, where possible, people will be able to draw on institutional pots of money or funding from places like the AoM CMS Division, SAMS or the International Social Research Foundation where needed.
Previously, we have run two professional development workshops at the Academy of Management conference and four critical friendship streams at the CMS conference, the Gender, Work and Organization conference and the UK and Ireland Feminist and Women’s Studies Association conference.
Our current activities include the following:
· The VIDA writing project – regular online ‘shut up and write’ sessions where members meet to focus on writing within a supportive space.
· Critical friendship workshops where we discuss pre-submitted papers in real time, constructively and compassionately. See more about these workshops at: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/…/cons…/2005317.article
· A critical friendship scheme extending beyond these events where we can reach out to each other and form pairs or larger groups to support each other with our papers, teaching and supervision, grant applications, career development, institutional pressures and so on.
· Collecting references to allow us to diversify our teaching syllabi and working towards much more diverse citation practices.
· A group to draw up a strategy challenging the changes to our working conditions in universities. Some key issues to consider include: the gender pay gap; casualization; promotion and development; harassment; mental health; and performance related pay.
· A number of stream proposals in development for CMS2017, organized by teams which include no cismen.
· An event running just before CMS2017 on critical sexism, racism, homophobia, ageism, classism, colonialism, transphobia and ableism.
· Developing ways to actively challenge the racialized, ableist, classed heteronormativity of CMS around publishing, promotion, recognition of what counts as academic work and so on.
· A meet up system for VIDA members attending conferences, especially where they don’t know other delegates already.
· A closed Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1727793390777869/ (send us a join request).
· An anonymous blog at https://criticalmanagementVIDA.wordpress.com.
A new special issue of ephemera is now available at ephemerajournal.org.
Consumption of work and the work of consumption (vol. 16, no. 3)
Special issue editors: Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Rashné Limki and Bernadette Loacker
Today, work and consumption are notably blurred. Consumption matters are found to make inroads into the realm of work, while consumption gains traction in the domain of production. This special issue of ephemera gets to the heart of this phenomenon. Covering a range of themes – genetic testing, self-quantification, migration, popular media and modern workplaces – the contributions to this issue call attention to the ethico-politics of productive and consumptive aspects of contemporary life. Specifically, the contributions address practices that, under capitalism, fall prey to self-perpetuating accumulation, as well as reproduction and sedimentation of social divisions, which shape who we are, what we do and how we relate.
If you like what we’re doing, you can subscribe to ephemera in print or support us in other ways at http://ephemera.jimdo.com.
Yours and always open access,
the editorial collective of ephemera