Strangely Familiar: The Uncanny and Unsiting Organizational Analysis

Timon Beyes, Chris Stayert

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This paper focuses on the aesthetics of the uncanny to inquire into and perform affective sites of organizing that are imbued with feelings of uncertainty and uneasiness. We argue that the uncanny forms an 'unconcept' that allows us to think and apprehend 'white spaces' of organization not as new or other spaces but through a process of relating intensively with the conventional places, streets and squares that form the backdrop to everyday life. We also make use of the notion of 'unsiting' to show how organizational research is able to enhance our appreciation of the aesthetic dimension of organization in ways that expose and undermine that which has become familiar and taken-for-granted. Based on an artistic intervention by the theatre collective Rimini Protokoll, we encounter and analyse such processes of unsiting through the affective and spatial doublings at work in the organization of urban space. Theorizing the organizational uncanny opens up new sites/sights in organization by forging an interconnection of the recent affective, spatial and aesthetic 'turns' in organizational theory. To do this demands what we call scholarly performances that involve the witnessing and enacting of everyday sites of organizing.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume34
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1445-1465
ISSN0170-8406
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Cite this

Beyes, Timon ; Stayert, Chris. / Strangely Familiar : The Uncanny and Unsiting Organizational Analysis. In: Organization Studies. 2013 ; Vol. 34, No. 10. pp. 1445-1465 .
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Strangely Familiar : The Uncanny and Unsiting Organizational Analysis. / Beyes, Timon; Stayert, Chris.

In: Organization Studies, Vol. 34, No. 10, 2013, p. 1445-1465 .

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Stayert, Chris

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AB - This paper focuses on the aesthetics of the uncanny to inquire into and perform affective sites of organizing that are imbued with feelings of uncertainty and uneasiness. We argue that the uncanny forms an 'unconcept' that allows us to think and apprehend 'white spaces' of organization not as new or other spaces but through a process of relating intensively with the conventional places, streets and squares that form the backdrop to everyday life. We also make use of the notion of 'unsiting' to show how organizational research is able to enhance our appreciation of the aesthetic dimension of organization in ways that expose and undermine that which has become familiar and taken-for-granted. Based on an artistic intervention by the theatre collective Rimini Protokoll, we encounter and analyse such processes of unsiting through the affective and spatial doublings at work in the organization of urban space. Theorizing the organizational uncanny opens up new sites/sights in organization by forging an interconnection of the recent affective, spatial and aesthetic 'turns' in organizational theory. To do this demands what we call scholarly performances that involve the witnessing and enacting of everyday sites of organizing.

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