The question of theoretical excess: Folly and fall in theorizing organization

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Abstract

This paper traces and distils crisis in theory and organization that threatens to generate what we call here a cacophony of voices-a 'dada' of incoherence and contradiction; but it is babble with 'real world' consequences and effects. To explore this we consider organization studies as a machine that is out of control, an 'ambulatory automatism' (Hacking, 1999) that is symptomatic of the end, or perhaps the impossibility, of 'the social'. Theory can respond to this crisis, however, if it can recover its capacity for 'theorizing', a practice that can help navigate and understand contemporary organization, but only insofar as it is able to embrace its absurdity and surrealism and learn to accept that truth may be error, and fact, fiction. 'Pataphysical experiments and the practice of theory as θεω ρia , as travel and adventure, provide some suggestive modes of theorizing that welcomes and admits the necessity and inevitability of theory as a 'deterritorialising activity' in the struggle to respond to the challenge of organization today. Copyright © 2007 SAGE.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-867
Number of pages30
JournalOrganization
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007