Set Your Creative Forces Free! The Liberated Body as a Hybrid Managerial Tool

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Critical studies of new forms of flexible, delegating and even artistic forms of management demonstrate how power relations between employees and management do not dissolve but rather re-configure. This paper addresses this problematic by exploring how an artistic form of allegedly ‘non-hierarchical’ and
aestheticized managerial practice reconfigures power relations within a creative industry. The key problematic is ‘governmental’ in the sense suggested by Michel Foucault in as far as the manager’s ethical self-practice—which involves expressive and ‘liberated’ bodily comportment—is used as a means for culture
management in the company. Critical management studies indebted to Foucault have largely examined the problem of government through ethical self-practice by studying managerial technologies and programs evident in textual documents or, to a lesser extent, architectural arrangements. The analysis in this
study exploits a much more rarely used potential in CMS by placing the managerial body centre stage in the analysis, observing it as ‘a discursive statement’ in its own right. Empirically, this is done via an analysis of video material produced by the film company Zentropa about their apparently
eccentric Managing Director. At first glance the essential message to the employees may be read as ‘set Your creative forces and potentials free!; a statement which activates a semantics of liberation of artistic creativeness and rebellious transgression of conventions. It is suggested, however, that the
manager’s bodily comportment activate and oscillates between a more complex web of managerial rationalities including sovereignty, discipline and pastoral care. It is further suggested that this managerial hybridity renders difficult, or even closes off, conventional forms of contestation and resistance against
managerial authority.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventThe 4S/EASST Joint Conference 2012: Design and displacement: Social Studies of Science and Technology - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 17 Oct 201220 Oct 2012
Conference number: 2012


ConferenceThe 4S/EASST Joint Conference 2012
LocationCopenhagen Business School
Internet address

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