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Critical management studies and the agélaste ethos

Critical management studies and the agélaste ethos Purpose – This paper aims to discuss the notion of carnival laughter in Bakhtin's examination of Rabelais's literary works. The paper suggests that what may be called, after Rabelais, the agélaste ethos, the ethos of the men and women without laughter, remains a strong influence in some domains of critical management studies (CMS) as well as mainstream organization theory. Design/methodology/approach – The literature review discusses Russian literature theorist Mikhail Bakhtin's analysis of the writings of François Rabelais and related his concept of the agélaste to contemporary social and organization theory. Findings – Some proponents of CMS praise the critical thinking and the outlook on society established by its foundational writers Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse. As a consequence, CMS tends to exclude the sources of joy, laughter and transgression and regard such social and human gestures and events as being frivolous and ephemeral. Therefore, CMS remains trapped within its own sphere of critical thinking and fails to address and understand significant components of everyday life. Research limitations/implications – The paper suggests that the notion of “critique” needs to be explored within the community of CMS researchers. Originality/value – Discusses the concept of critique so central for both the CMS tradition of thinking and other domains of management studies in new terms. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Organizational Change Management Emerald Publishing

Critical management studies and the agélaste ethos

Journal of Organizational Change Management , Volume 21 (1): 15 – Feb 15, 2008

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References (56)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0953-4814
DOI
10.1108/09534810810847057
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to discuss the notion of carnival laughter in Bakhtin's examination of Rabelais's literary works. The paper suggests that what may be called, after Rabelais, the agélaste ethos, the ethos of the men and women without laughter, remains a strong influence in some domains of critical management studies (CMS) as well as mainstream organization theory. Design/methodology/approach – The literature review discusses Russian literature theorist Mikhail Bakhtin's analysis of the writings of François Rabelais and related his concept of the agélaste to contemporary social and organization theory. Findings – Some proponents of CMS praise the critical thinking and the outlook on society established by its foundational writers Adorno, Horkheimer and Marcuse. As a consequence, CMS tends to exclude the sources of joy, laughter and transgression and regard such social and human gestures and events as being frivolous and ephemeral. Therefore, CMS remains trapped within its own sphere of critical thinking and fails to address and understand significant components of everyday life. Research limitations/implications – The paper suggests that the notion of “critique” needs to be explored within the community of CMS researchers. Originality/value – Discusses the concept of critique so central for both the CMS tradition of thinking and other domains of management studies in new terms.

Journal

Journal of Organizational Change ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 15, 2008

Keywords: Literature; Management techniques; Change management; Critical management

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