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Crawling from the wreckage

In this special issue of ephemera, we place critique at the heart of the discussion about the future of business schools and higher education more generally. The issue reflects on this in a myriad of ways, from debates about the more-than-human entanglements through which business schools have become performative to the monstrosity of the neoliberal capitalist business models that dominate today's academia. Despite the gloomy challenges that the contributions illuminate, the issue helps us to meet these challenges by exploring potential pathways forward.

Matters of dis/order and dis/organization

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.

Capitalist unrealism: Countering the crisis of critique and imagination

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.

Pasts, presents and futures of critical publishing

This issue celebrates 20 years of ephemera. We, the editorial collective, feel this anniversary provides the opportunity to debate the pasts, presents and futures of critical publishing. Today, most academic journals are owned by commercial publishing houses and organized according to journal rankings and impact factors. Yet ephemera remains stubbornly independent of these global capitalist forces. In this anniversary issue, we want to raise questions about independence – independent thinking, independent publication, independent organizing.

Modes of organization

Most of the work leading to publication of this open issue has taken place during the pandemic’s overlapping phases of lockdown, containment, vaccination and (re)opening. Somewhere along the way, we, the editors of this open issue, came to embrace its diverse contributions through the theme of ‘Modes of organization’, as an oblique return to the perennial question ‘What is organization?’.

Unpacking party organizations

The internal dynamics of political parties were a central concern for the founders of both organization theory and political sociology, yet contemporary research tends to neglect the importance and value of studying these electoral machines from a truly organizational point of view. The present issue seeks to remedy this shortcoming by allowing curious and creative scholars to reimagine what it might mean for organization scholars and activists alike to engage actively with political parties.

Work, reconfigured

This open issue is published against the background of a major global pandemic. The old ‘normal’ seems far away and undesirable, as a socio-ecological transformation becomes even more urgent. The contributions featured here scrutinize the current trends in the capitalist mode of production and envision the alternative organization of our societies. They examine new configurations of work, to which capital-led digitalization is often key, and ways to resist it. Attention is also paid to a fundamental rethinking of work, economy and care.

Beyond measure

This special issue explores questions around measurement in relation to management, organization, and politics - that is, how processes quantification intervene in our lives, sideline other modes of judgement, and lead us astray with a trail of numbers. Numbers reveal, but they also hide; they tell us who we are, but also who we ought to become; they show us how happy and healthy we are, but also urge us to adjust ourselves to the norm. Numbers manage us and we, in turn, manage ourselves through numbers.

Quarantined ideas

The current pandemic is coming to redefine our lives in so many ways, both real and symbolic. It has already changed the way we travel, the way we work, the way we live. And it will continue to have far-reaching effects on all of us for the foreseeable future. In the face of the current re-organization of public and private life on an unprecedented scale, ephemera’s editorial collective has made the decision to cancel one issue and postpone forthcoming issues by three months.

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