SCOS Update September 2016

Dear Scossers,

It was so fabulous to see so many new and traditional faces at the SCOS conference in Uppsala. I hope all who attended had a great time and found the animal theme as inspiring as I did. Following the theme, there is now a CfP for Culture and Organization which many of you may wish to consider as an outlet for your research. I hope for many of us, this SCOS was unforgettable, not only thanks to hellan gore, but also Bob Monkhouse!
For all the new members, please send any items for circulation on the mailing list to me for inclusion in our digest, and you can also find many SCOSsers on social media such as Facebook to continue the fabulous ideas and inspirations from previous and future conference themes. It’s also a great place to swap articles, poetry, art and a variety of other materials!

Check out these five fantastic items for you today:

Item 1: Next SCOS conference in Rome. Theme: Carne
Item 2: Workshop on Waste at Lund University
Item 3: Ethnography Workshop in Manchester, UK
Item 4: Culture & Organisation CfP Special Issue on the Animal, submit by March 2017!
Item 5: Plan ahead – SCOS is going to join ACSCOS in Japan in August 2018!

Best Wishes,

Laura ?

Item 1: Next SCOS in Rome! Deadline 2nd December 2016

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 Friday 2nd December 2016 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 2:Workshop on Waste at Lund University, deadline December 1st 2016

Opening the Bin – New perspectives on waste, culture and society from the humanities and the social sciences

– Lund University, Helsingborg Campus, Sweden, April 27-28, 2017

The production and management of waste comprise a vast array of socio-material practices that together shape many aspects of contemporary culture and society. Simultaneously, the challenges of climate and environmental change and the contribution of society’s consumption to global warming and natural resource depletion make the issue of waste management crucial for contemporary societies and for their wider ecological footprints. Yet, despite its eminently social and cultural nature, waste often remains merely positioned in theoretical and practical discourses as a technical and natural scientific issue. Social scientific and humanist research on waste is alive and well, but splintered, and with a limited impact on what ends up in bins and dumpsters.

The purpose of this two-day transdisciplinary workshop is to gather scholars from the social sciences and the humanities together with a few practitioners to critically discuss the places, roles and trajectories as well as the meanings, practices, and vocabularies of waste in culture and society.Here are a few examples of questions that might emerge during the workshop: How can the humanities and the social sciences prompt new ways to imagine, conceptualize and characterize waste and its management? How do discourses on waste (and related discourses about de-growth or circular economy) travel as ideas and practices, and how are they translated and materialized in new contexts? What are the implications of waste production and management with regard to democracy, welfare and environmental justice?

Submission of abstract: December 1st, 2016
Acceptance decision: December 15, 2016
Sending in full paper or work-in-progress: April 13, 2017
Seminar at Lund University in Helsingborg: April 27-28, 2017

Participation fee: 500 Sek / 55 € + VAT if applicable

Book the dates: April 27-28, 2017 – and, please, forward this invitation through your networks.

Organizing committee: Hervé Corvellec and Richard Ek from Lund University, and María José Zapata Campos and Patrik Zapata from the University of Gothenburg.

Item 3: Ethnography workshop in Manchester, deadline 30th Sept 2016

Ethnography Workshop: Call for Papers
Submissions are invited for a one day workshop on 23rd November 2016 taking place at the University of Manchester:

“On the Development of Ethnographic Organization Studies: Towards New Objects of Concern”
Sponsored jointly by the journal of Organisation and the Manchester Ethnography Network, the workshop aims to hear about ethnographies that propose ways of tackling the ‘big issues’ that might renew and extend repertoires of political action and intervention.
Applications for discussants would also be very welcome (especially PhD students).
The deadline for submissions is 30th September 2016.
The workshop organisers are Damian O’Doherty from the University of Manchester, Daniel Neyland from Goldsmiths University of London , and Barbara Czarniawska from the University of Gottenburg. for full details.

Item 4: CfP Special Issue Culture & Organization: The Animal

If you enjoyed the conference, you should think about submitting your paper to the special issue! The deadline for submission is 20th March 2017.
The full call can be found here:

Item 5: Plan ahead – in August 2018 SCOS and ACSCOS will be coming together in Tokyo!

Japanese myth includes that of the shapeshifting water dragon, a symbol of not only fury but also of hidden femininty. I wonder how we might further our discussions of the fleshy SCOS animal in such a location? In the Eastern Capital, our worldwide community is invited to meet and reflect upon organization. The full details of the theme and conference will be announced closer to the time, but due to climate and differing academic schedules the conference will occur in August instead of the usual July. If you want to keep up to date with the latest info about the 2018 conference you can follow the facebook page: