The Topographical Imagination: Space and Organization Theory

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We live in a time of space, also in the study of organization. This review essay reflects on the state and the potential of organization theory’s spatial turn by embedding it in a wider movement of thought in the humanities and social sciences. Reading exemplary studies of organizational spatialities alongside the broader history and renaissance of spatial thinking allows us to identify and discuss four twists to the spatial turn in organization theory. First, organization is understood as something placed or sited. Second, it is a site of spatial contestation, which is constitutive for (and not merely reflective of) organizational life. Third, such contestation is itself an outcome of a spatial multiplicity that encompasses affects, technologies, voids and absences. Fourth, such an excess of space is beyond (or rather before) representation and thus summons a spatial poetics. In following these twists, increasingly complex and speculative topographies of organization take shape.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization Theory
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: May 20 2020


  • Aesthetics
  • Affect
  • Organizational form
  • Materiality
  • Power
  • Proces theories
  • Representation
  • Resistance
  • Space
  • Site technology
  • Topography

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