Three year project explores complex relationship between anarchism and management

Posted by ap507 at Dec 10, 2014 01:55 PM |
New journal special issue on anarchism and management to be published

A new special issue of the academic journal ephemera: theory & politics in organization published this week titled ‘Management, Business, Anarchism’ examines the connections between anarchism and critical management and organisation studies.

Radically left-wing political theory and business and management studies aren’t the most obvious of bed fellows. Researchers at the School of Management however have been attempting for several years to bring these two fields together and have this week published a special issue of the prestigious journal.

The special issue includes contributions from 40 authors over almost 500 pages on topics such as anarchism as a theory of organisation, non-commodified spaces of work, protest camps, alternative economics, hacktivism, musical improvisation and leadership in social movements.

The culmination of three years’ worth of informal chats, conference presentations and workshops, the special issue marks a further step in highlighting the relevance of anarchist theory and practice to critical management studies and vice versa.

The editors, Thomas Swann and Konstantin Stoborod, said of this seemingly odd connection: "If the title for the special issue sounds provocative, that’s because it is meant to!

"When we began this project we were worried that this peculiar juxtaposition of management and anarchism was one which wouldn’t draw much interest. But the events we’ve organised have taken place in rooms packed full of scholars and activists, with people crowing round the floor and the door for want of seating.

"Clearly there was already something bubbling under the surface and we are delighted to have played our part in bringing some of it out into the open."

Martin Parker, Professor of Organisation and Culture, added: "Management and anarchism sounds like a bad joke, but this collection of work proves that the Business School needs anarchism to help us think about alternatives."

The special issue is devoted to understanding alternative forms of organisation, which in a world wracked by economic, political and environmental crises are as relevant today as they have ever been.

Recent responses to these crises, such as the Occupy Movement and similar occupations of public space, have had anarchist ideas of organisation and radical democracy at their core.

The editors of the special issue said: "Furthering our appreciation of these contemporary developments as well as identifying where and how scholarly work can contribute fruitfully to reinforcing those movements that seek to change society for the better are vital concerns for engaged academics. This special issue is aimed at opening up a space for debate on how the relationship between anarchism and critical management studies can be a part of this."

Ruth Kinna, Professor of Political Theory at Loughborough University, added: "This issue of Ephemera brings together innovative theory, imaginative reflection and practical analysis to re-examine grass-roots organising and self-organising systems, explore the creative tensions between ethical principles and practical experiments from a range of different critical perspectives and probe the fundamental incompatibility between mainstream management and radical politics."

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