Rejecting capitalism is like living out Don Michael Corleone’s famous phrase from The Godfather Part III: ‘Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in’. Traditionally, capitalism has used violence to lay claim to everything that escapes from it. But today this violence is complemented by more insidious forms of coercion that are based as much on seduction and pleasure as they are on cruelty and oppression. We now work for capitalism as much in our free time as we do when we are being paid – not because we have to, but because we want to.
This issue takes up the role of disorganization and the relations between order and disorder in organization studies and everyday life. Rather than juxtapositioning these features as oppositions, the issue explores how to understand other aspects of the often unwanted and dark sides of disorganization and disorder - by scrutinising how they are entangled and mutually constitutive to organization practice and theory.
Scanned from a faded old analogue print and bearing no date, this photo was taken at the first meeting of the recently formed ephemera editorial board in Chris’ living room. Someone had suggested we should capture the moment for twenty years hence, when people asked us about it. Weird.
With some vigour, American artist and information studies scholar Johanna Drucker clarifies: ‘the notion of data as “given” and thus self-evident is patently false – all data are constructed’ [Visualization, 563]. Since data are not just given, the questions then are who produces data, who decides what data are stored, maintained, and deleted, who profits and who is discriminated in and through data sets? The glossary Uncertain archives: Critical keywords for big data (2021) sets out to tackle these questions.
In December 2019 the internet giant Amazon got into a spot of bother when it was found to be selling T-shirts depicting a body plummeting from a helicopter beneath the caption, Wanna take a ride? (Goñi, 2019). The reference here was to the ‘death flights’ of Pinochet’s military dictatorship, which involved throwing left wing opponents of the regime from helicopters in lakes or the sea in an attempt to hide their murders.
In 2006, ephemera published its first special issue dedicated to Latin America. It aimed ‘to inform readers across the globe about the organization of the ongoing struggles and resistances and the tensions lived and experienced by so many Latin Americans’. We tried to make present the multiplicity of social movements on the continent, avoiding ‘a naïve monovoice and an over-optimistic view of the intensity of movements throughout the continent’ (Misoczky, 2006: 228).
In 2006, ephemera published its last special issue dedicated to Latin America. After long 14 years, the publication of this new special issue can be read as a renewal and continuation of the themes addressed in the previous one. Why do we need another special issue? While each moment of organisation and struggle is unique, the turbulence in the current Latin American political context is evidence that there are political, economic, cultural and organisational issues that have been reoccurring on the continent, again and again.