'You Have to Choose a Novel': The Biopolitics of Critical Management Education

Martyna Sliwa, Bent Meier Sørensen, George Cairns

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    In this article, we engage empirically with the biopolitical nature of pedagogic practice in critical management education. We do so through considering the effects of employing literary fiction in an introductory management and organization module taught to master’s degree students in a UK business school. We see the deployment of fictional literature in teaching as a way of consciously intervening in this biopolitical predicament. By urging students to work with fictional literature that has been part of their personal past, we encourage them to develop a ‘care of the self’. In the analysis, we first discuss the pedagogic process of the module, reflecting on our own presumptions and behaviours. Second, on the basis of students’ assignments, we analyse the outcome of their learning. In the concluding discussion, we argue that the fact that critical management education is already biopolitical does not preclude the possibility for it to renew educational practice. We suggest that as a result of the potential for creative self-formation offered by the use of literary fiction, transformation of both students and educators is possible.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalManagement Learning
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)243-259
    Number of pages17
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015

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