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Capitalist unrealism: Countering the crisis of critique and imagination

Introduction: Capitalism, unpacked

How does capitalism – in its various guises – capture the value that we produce in society? There are many ways to answer this question, because capitalism has many ways to extract value from us (Chertkovskaya et al., 2016; Hanlon, 2017). On the surface, everything seems above board. Businesses erect factories and offices for us to work in; workers sign contracts and receive wages for their daily efforts; and shareholders put in the capital and get a return on their investments. But below the surface, things are not quite so straightforward.

Beyond happy families and authenticity: Back to work organisation and mundaneness in the critique of ‘authenticating’ management programs


In current HRM practice, ‘fun’ initiatives are becoming widespread (Ford et al., 2003; Schoeneman, 2006) and maintaining a focus on individual health and spirituality has increasingly been embraced as a legitimate way to develop and manage human resources (Lips-Wiersma and Mills, 2014; Grawitch et al., 2006; Nash, 2003). Regardless of the specific program offered, the general idea is to encourage employees to become ‘whole human beings’, while simultaneously enhancing organizational productivity.

Open issue

Issue editors: Ekaterina Chertkovskaya and Ozan Nadir Alakavuklar

ephemera welcomes open submissions, outside of special issues, that address themes relating to the theory and politics in organization.

Critiquing corruption: A turn to theory


Over the past two decades, the will to fight corruption has increased in society at large. Consequently, the importance of effective anti-corruption measures has expanded into a global political agenda with the OECD, the World Bank and the UN in the forefront. Historically, corruption has been seen as an issue in the public sector, defined as the ‘the misuse of public office for private gain’ (The World Bank Group, 2012).

Critiquing corruption: A turn to theory

The world is waging war on corruption. Accompanying this war, there is also a growing academic interest in corruption. This research, however, has tended to operate with a nearly undisputed understanding of what corruption is and how to fight it. It has refrained from theorizing corruption, possibly as a consequence of the perceived urgency involved in identifying, raising awareness about and fighting corruption. This special issue of ephemera seeks to re-emphasize the relevance and importance of theorizing corruption.

Managing the human? Towards diverse, engaged and critical HRM studies

Issue Editors: Frans Bévort, Per Darmer, Mette Mogensen and Sara Louise Muhr

Today considerations about the management of so-called ‘human resources’ is taken up almost routinely both in governmental programs, in organizations as well as in the private lives of citizens (Jackson et al., 2014; Lengnick-Hall et al., 2009). This, in tandem with the increasing power of HRM practices in contemporary corporations, signals how HRM has succeeded to construct itself as a ‘serious’ and ‘established’ field of research.

There is always an alternative: Outlaws for contemporary resistance

Introduction: Alternatives as critique

TINA (There Is No Alternative) was one of the symbolic abbreviations of the 1980s. Whilst Margaret Thatcher used this phrase to praise her party’s programme throughout 1970s and 1980s, in the following years TINA turned into an ideological symbol that her allies in the United States and around the globe mobilized against any sort of alternative idea or model. But, of course, there have always been alternatives to the corporation, to market managerialism and to monopoly capital.

Terrorist/anarchist/artist: Why bother?

Labels are often flashy conduits for hasty assumptions and partial truths.  At the time when I was writing Action and Existence: Anarchism for Business Administration in the late 1970s, the term anarchism served as a handy synonym for mess, chaos, and disorder. In this context the word cropped up in public debates about the Baader-Meinhof terrorism in Germany in the aftermath of Paris 68, for example. In putting my book together, I set out to explain what I had learned through my own reading and discussion about this often short-changed term.

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