Speaking Truth to Power? Anti-bureaucratic Romanticism from Critical Organizational Theorizing to the White House

Thomas Lopdrup-Hjorth*, Paul du Gay

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

In spite of their distinctive normative and political differences, critical organizational scholars use a vocabulary which in several respects resembles that adopted by right-wing populists. This vocabulary, we argue, consists of components that can be deployed in the pursuit of radically conflicting goals. At its heart lies a profoundly antithetical stance toward bureaucracy and the state. In this article, we explore the components of this vocabulary as well as the role they play in both populist- and critical organizational theory-variants. In doing so, we further discuss the lack of critical potential this vocabulary has in the present. For critical organization scholars, we argue, this should perhaps lead to a renewed consideration and reflexivity concerning not only the merits of bureaucracy and the state, but also of how to conduct critique in populist times.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization
Volume27
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)441-453
Number of pages13
ISSN1350-5084
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: March 11, 2019.

Keywords

  • Anti-bureaucracy
  • Bureaucracy
  • CMS
  • Critique
  • Organization theory
  • Populism
  • Trump

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