Something happened: Spectres of organization/disorganization at the airport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The article explores the practical accomplishment of organization at an international airport during the course of a number of ‘security alerts’ that disrupted routine ‘modes of ordering’ (Law, 1994). Airports, we suggest, invite us to re-think ‘organization’ as the partial, contingent and always-incomplete outcome of complex order(ing)s and disorder(ing)s played out across various spaces, agencies and materials. When ‘something happens’ we begin to see how spaces, agents and materials are subject to unexpected becomings: objects appear treacherous, spaces mutable, agencies ineffectual and informants unreliable. Following the work of Weick we might say that in such moments of uncertainty we are forced to reconsider our customary ways of thinking about objects, subjects and systems. We argue this thinking requires a relational understanding of organization so that we can better grasp how organizations are continuously being made and un-made through an on-going co-creation and dispersal of parts.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1001-1020
Number of pages19
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2015

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