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21st April, 2017

Organizing for the common good: revisiting performativity

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Event Details

21st April, 2017
13:00 - 18:30
Cass Business School, 106 Bunhill Row
106 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8TZ

How can theories – and in particular critical theories – transform social reality or support social changes? Spicer, Alvesson and Kärreman introduced the concept of critical performativity in 2009 which has subsequently generated multiple developments around this central question as well as exploring the role of critique more broadly.

This debate is on-going as illustrated by a recent special section of Human Relations (2016) and related publications (e.g., Parker and Parker, forthcoming; and a forthcoming special issue in Management). But what is and should be the role of performativity within research? What can organizational studies of performativity tell us about how private actors interact with the society around them? Can performativity research inform current debates about the social and economic impact of scholarly work? And also, does critical performativity provide a way out from purely negative forms of critique?

Far from being a mere philosophical speculation, we regard the performativity conversation as a unique opportunity to reconsider the relevancy of academic organizational research and to discuss its potential to promote or help design alternative organizations or forms of organizing.

The types of questions that will be addressed in this workshop are the following: How shall we deal with the Butlerian performative effects of management research? How can we put critical performativity into practice? What are the core assumptions behind the narratives of ‘sustainable business’ or ‘corporate responsibility’? And how do we determine what ‘counts’ as a heterotopia or an alternative organization?

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