Handle with care

volume 4, number 1
February, 2004
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Handbooks, of organization studies. The main advantage of these collections is said to be the efficiency of fitting a wide raft of pieces in the palms of your hands, and hence the title or subtitle of ‘handbook’. As such, these handbooks are designed to be carried, used and situated within arms reach, with little fuss or effort... The purpose of this issue of ephemera is to critically investigate this publishing phenomenon... So, the whole issue is a collection of what might be thought of as ‘book reviews’, although there is perhaps more going on than this. This issue considers this ‘handbook’ phenomenon in some detail, as a way of getting a grasp on contemporary developments in organization studies and the publishing apparatuses that mediate the formation and legitimation of knowledge. The tenor of the review essays collected here is not traditional in the sense of clearly and sequentially laying out the contents of the handbook (a reverse totalization). Instead, the contributions are more sporadic and diverse in form, offering critical incisions at unexpected points. Like the mayfly that is the team mascot of the ephemera project, the goal will not be one of building another edifice, but one of dropping little bits of poo at carefully chosen spots.