From: Critical Perspectives on Work, Management and Organization
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Graham Sewell
Sent: 25 January 2005 11:27
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Call for Papers - APROS XI
APROS XI, Melbourne, Australia, 4-7 December 2005.
(please note, anyone wishing to convene their own stream should contact
[log in to unmask] before 28 February 2005).
CALL FOR PAPERS
Solidarity without Class/Class without Solidarity? Taking Time to
Rethink Class in Organization Studies
Convenors: Graham Sewell and Bill Harley
Contact: [log in to unmask]
This stream invites submissions that bring new light to bear on the
problems of class, interests, and solidarity in organizations.
Having gone missing for much of the 1990s, class is back in the news.
During the 2004 US election campaign, for example, a great deal was made
of the battle for the hearts and minds of the "middle class." Whilst it
may be politically adroit to claim that we are "all middle class now"
this does not appear to be borne out by the facts: in many countries
around the Pacific Rim classic indices of "progress" like social
mobility and increasing real wages have stalled and, in some instances,
gone into reverse. Using a Weberian conception of class based on
consumption patterns, aggregate figures of rising affluence also mask
widening inequalities. At the same time, Terry Eagleton has recently
lamented the declining influence of the professional occupational groups
that have traditionally made up the middle classes (which, of course,
would include academics).
At the organizational level similar contradictory trends are evident.
Although things like "knowledge work" and "unitary interests " have been
trumpeted for years now we have also witnessed increases in part-time
work and casualization, extensive down-sizing, and concerted efforts to
marginalize unions. In sectors where there has been growth in
high-skill/high-discretion/high-pay professional occupations, this has
generally taken place alongside an expansion of
low-skill/low-discretion/low-pay jobs, which has been interpreted by
some as an increasing polarisation of jobs.
Even in the face of such developments, in recent years it seems to have
been unacceptable to mention class in organization studies circles. It
may well be the case that we can no longer read off someone's "real
interests" by locating them in some deterministic "class structure" yet,
without some notion of interests, it is difficult to develop some notion
How do we respond to this? Does a neoclassical world of isolated
economic actors beckon? Has "identity" replaced class as the most
meaningful way of articulating common interests? Are Marxist notions of
class exhausted in the face of "anti-essentialism," the "de-centred
subject," and "capillary power?" Can a Weberian conception of class be
coupled with an explicit notion of exploitation? Can we have a discourse
of power without a discourse of class?
We invite theoretical and empirical submission that take on board (but
are not restricted to) such considerations. In general we seek papers
that enable us to re-conceptualize class, interests, and solidarity by
engaging critically with the "postmodern turn" in organization studies.