Missing Connexions: The politics of airport expansion in the United Kingdom

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Abstract

Airports have recently become a central preoccupation for scholars concerned with a range of issues in the social sciences and the wider academy focused around governance and the modern nation state, philosophy, political economy, economics, geography, society and community. There is, however, little critical scholarly interest in what can be learned about management and organisation from airports, which has meant that our discipline is ceding ground to unitarist and highly functional, prescriptive and practitioner-oriented literature. One of the most significant critical challenges to this managerial orthodoxy is the recent work of Griggs and Howarth who adopt the theoretical resources of Laclau and Mouffe to advance their thesis that a discourse built around ‘sustainable aviation’ is established within public policy in an attempt to develop ‘hegemonic’ consensus around airport expansion. Laclau and Mouffe have been a significant influence on organisation studies, but when applied empirically their work is discovered to embody contradictions and tensions that prove ultimately self-defeating for those interested in developing a ‘critical’ politics of organisation. We consider the possibilities for a more critical and politically engaged form of organisation analysis based upon what we call here an ‘interventionary ethnography’.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-431
Number of pages13
JournalOrganization
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

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