ephemera: theory & politics in organization

Call for papers......
Armin Beverungen

ephemera: theory & politics in organization

Postby Armin Beverungen » Tue Jul 14, 2009 11:51 am

ephemera: theory & politics in organization

Call for papers for a special issue


Upon entering Berlin's Humboldt University, one is greeted by the  knowing words of an intellectual giant. The words of one of the university's  former students, emblazoned in brilliant gold upon the marble walls of  its humbling foyer, are known to many: 'Philosophers have hitherto  only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it'. By
chastising philosophers' relative want of relevant function, Karl  Marx's Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach remains something akin to a gadfly upon  the neck of many the would-be intellectual. In this regard Socrates  would surely have approved. And by fronting itself up precisely in terms  of the crisis of intellectual functionality hypothesised by Marx, the
mother of all universities asserts the mother of all of its problems:  What, if anything, is the University for?

This is no small question, for sure. Nor is it a recent one. Nor,  finally, is it a question that has been met with any shortage of compelling  answers. One might turn towards Immanuel Kant's Conflict of the  Faculties and Jacques Derrida's Eyes of the University for two of the more  patient efforts to come to terms with the immense challenges of a project  that would ground the legitimacy of the University upon solid  foundations. One might also consider Thomas Hobbes' infamous attacks upon the  schoolmen, Paulo Freire's project of an emancipatory pedagogy or Max  Weber's scepticism concerning the value of partisan knowledge production,  to come quickly to the realisation that any discussion deriving out of this very question meets with no obvious resolution.

The very disputability concerning the Modern University's proper function was central to what led Bill Readings to diagnose it as an institution in ruins. Already Humboldt's university has been accused of being nothing but a prop for the (Prussian) State Apparatus and its nationalist educational programmes. Perhaps the Modern University was in ruins from the very beginning. And yet, if it is correct to say that the University is no longer for anything in particular, we might still ask what, if anything, can be done with or to these supposed ruins of functionality. Alternatively, one might counter an argument that laments lack of function with an argument that sees something functioning despite, or rather precisely because of, its non-possession of any pre-determined function. And against such a pragmatic appreciation of affairs, one might offer yet another argument that would make lack of stated purpose and political conservatism synonymous with one another. This argument would in turn bring us right back to where we were in the very beginning: within the foyer of a particular university wondering about what the University in general is for.

So it is with this forthcoming special issue of ephemera. In this regard we anticipate contributions to what has been and will undoubtedly remain a topic of intense debate: we encourage submissions to consider the role of the Modern University from any number of directions. A list of suggestions is offered below but discussion need not be limited to these. What we are primarily interested in receiving is a variety of thoughtful discussions concerning the place of today's University alongside provocative proposals for the university of tomorrow. We are hence interested in considering many sides of a discussion that is as important as it is complex.


This special issue will be composed of three broad sections: 'papers', 'notes' and 'reviews'. In all cases, submissions must engage in a discussion of what the university is for. Regarding the 'reviews' section, potential contributors should contact the editors in the first instance with their suggested items for review. For the 'notes' section, we are particularly interested in considering essays of no more than 3,000 words, as well as interviews relevant to the question at hand - again, please get in touch with the editors to discuss your potential contribution. As for the 'papers' section, submissions should typically be of between 6,000 and 10,000 words in length. Papers may take the form of theoretical discussions, empirical analyses, literature reviews, organisational prescriptions, political analyses etc. Contributors might want to address one or more of the following suggested topics:

* The University of Excellence & The Corporate University * Academic Labour & Value Production * Academic Activism & The Public Intellectual * Measurement and Evaluation of Research * The Crisis of Legitimacy & Anti-Intellectualism * The Pursuit of Objectivity, The Science Wars & The Sokal Affair * The Post-Enlightenment or Post-Modern University * The University & Its Stakeholders * May 1968, Its Effects & Its Heritage * The Pedagogy of the Oppressed * The Role of Critique & Critical Management Studies * The Business School & The Business School of Tomorrow * Ideological State Apparatuses, The University & The State * Commoditisation of Knowledge and Privatisation of Education * The End of Free and Independent Research?


To be considered for publication, papers, notes and reviews must be sent electronically as an email attachment to the special issue editors by 1st of February 2008. Please prepare your paper in accordance with ephemera guidelines, which you can find at http://www.ephemeraweb.org/journal/submit.htm. All submission will be double-blind peer reviewed. The issue is scheduled to be published at the end of August 2008. Preliminary inquiries should be made through the editors.


Armin Beverungen
School of Management
University of Leicester
+44 116 229 7420

Stephen Dunne
School of Management
University of Leicester
+44 116 223 1079

Bent Meier S?rensen
Department of Management,
Politics and Philosophy
Copenhagen Business School
+45 3815 3768

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