“Critical” This and “Critical” That

14 August 2006 at 8:34 pm 7 comments

| Nicolai Foss |

At the ongoing Academy of Management Meetings there are a number of sessions with titles such as “Critical Perspectives on Power in Organizations.” Of course, we all know that “critical” is a code-word for left-leaning (often extremely so) work on the issues with which social science deals, in the traditions of mainly European lefty and muzzy sociologists and philosophers, such as Foucault, Habermas, etc.

Still, I am somewhat disturbed that a scholarly organization, such as the AoM, can accept session titles of these kind. The clear implication of these kind of titles is that the rest of us, who may also be interested in, say, “power in organizations,” are not really critical — which to me means that we are not serious scholars. That implication is evidently preposterous, particularly given the low level of scholarship that often characterizes so-called “critical studies,” including those in management.

Entry filed under: - Foss -, Ephemera, Methods/Methodology/Theory of Science.

Architecture NYU Journal of Law and Liberty

7 Comments Add your own

  • […] “Critical” This and “Critical” That: My esteemed blogging colleagues at Organizations & Markets have a burr under their saddle: At the ongoing Academy of Management Meetings there are a number of sessions with titles such as “Critical Perspectives on Power in Organizations.” Of course, we all know that “critical” is a code-word for left-leaning (often extremely so) work on the issues with which social science deals, in the traditions of mainly European lefty and muzzy sociologists and philosophers, such as Foucault, Habermas, etc. […]

  • 2. David O'Donnell  |  19 August 2006 at 6:53 am

    Lefty and muzzy???? Have you perchance read Habermas? touch to the left certainly and very very very fuzzy and difficult but I for one would not have learned any ‘real’ philosophy had I not been attempting to read him for some time. Foucault certainly has something to say – I’m not as tuned but the type of empirical work demanded by following him is also – well – difficult and very time consuming but produces some very rich findings.

    I’m a big Jurgen fan – always back up his corner. Dave

    The CMS Interest Group of the AOM has about 600 members and ran a good pre-AOM Conference Workshop – outside the usual AOM restrictions etc where participants actually had time to talk to each other and really discuss each other’s papers. The 5th International CMS Conference is in Manchester in 2007 http://www.cms5.org Why not come along and we try to get the Austrian School and the Frankfurt School to take up where they left off over a half century ago?

  • 3. Nicolai Foss  |  19 August 2006 at 7:03 am

    David, I have both read Habermas and had to endure being taught Habermas. BTW, why do you ask when you yourself admit that he is indeed “lefty and muzzy”??? There are a number of Austrian-style critiques of Habermas out there, BTW.

  • 4. David O'Donnell  |  19 August 2006 at 7:16 am

    Wish I had someone to teach me Habermas! In a recent paper I’m actually seeing overlaps between Frankfurt School and Austrian School – coming to the conclusion that mid 20th century ideology on individual/collective clouded things. I’m interested in your recommendations on Austrian Crits of Habermas – I’m very new to the Austrians but I’ve been looking for an economics for about 6 or 7 yrs [I’m not an economist] and it looks like the Austrians are it – hence I’m on this site and reading some of your stuff – mainly influenced by JC. Can send you the recent paper or post it here if I can figure out how?

  • 5. David Gordon  |  19 August 2006 at 9:54 pm

    Douglas Rasmussen gives a good criticism of Habermas’s theory of justice in his article “Morality and Modernity” available here: http://www.heritage.org/Research/PoliticalPhilosophy/HL230.cfm

    Habermas criticizes Foucault as an irrationalist in his The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures.

  • 6. Peter Klein  |  19 August 2006 at 11:33 pm

    And don’t miss David Gordon’s own “Hermeneutics versus Austrian Economics”:
    http://www.mises.org/etexts/hermeneutics.asp

  • 7. David O'Donnell  |  20 August 2006 at 4:33 pm

    Thanks guys – I will read these with interest. Dave

    Although Hab was a bit heavy on Foucault in PDM he is much closer to Foucault than to Derrida …………

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