The Business School in the Anthropocene: Parasite Logic and Pataphysical Reasoning for a Working Earth

Marta Gasparin, Steven D. Brown, William Green, Andrew Hugill, Simon Lilley, Martin Quinn, Christophe Schinckus, Mark Williams, Jan Zalasiewicz

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We have entered the Anthropocene: a new geological epoch in which human activities, led by business interests, have inexorably compromised the Earth System. The current failure to provide a comprehensive and systematic response to this transition does not result from a lack of reason, but is instead the manifestation of a generalized crisis in communication. Drawing from the work of Michel Serres, we analyze how the roots of this crisis lie with “parasite logic,” which has prevented reasoned responses to the Anthropocene. To work through this crisis, it is necessary to adopt different forms of reasoning and imagination to reshape the rational basis of management education. We propose to do this through an engagement with pataphysics, a science that subjects dominant modes of rationality to a divergent thinking of the absurd and proposing playful forms of reasoning. Pataphysics provides a mechanism for developing “imaginary solutions” to the current situation, which can disrupt anthropocentric forms of reason and reasoning, and further serve to slow down the endless cycles of inclusion and exclusion that arise from parasite logic. Finally, we propose slow design as an example of an “imaginary solution” that comes from this process of conceptual and practical deacceleration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcademy of Management Learning and Education
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)385-405
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Change and innovation
  • Decision making
  • Ethnical issues
  • Leadership education
  • Learning under conditions of rapid environmental change
  • Management development
  • Philosophy

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