Brexiting CMS

Bristow, Alexandra and Robinson, Sarah (2018). Brexiting CMS. Organization, 25(5) pp. 636–648.



Brexit could be seen as the largest popular rebellion against the power elites in the UK modern history. It is also part of a larger phenomenon – the resurgence of nationalism and right-wing politics within Europe, the United States and beyond. Bringing in its wake the worrying manifestations of racism, xenophobia and anti-intellectualism, Brexit and its consequences should be a core concern for Critical Management Studies academics in helping to shape post-Brexit societies, organisations and workplaces, and in fighting and challenging the sinister forces that permeate them. In this paper, we consider how CMS can rise to the challenges and possibilities of this ‘phenomenon-in-the-making’. We reflect on the intellectual tools available to CMS researchers and the ways in which they may be suited to this task. In particular, we explore how the key positions of anti-performativity, critical performativity, political performativity, and public CMS can be used as a starting point for thinking about the potential relevance of CMS in Brexit and post-Brexit contexts. Our intention is to encourage CMS-ers to contribute positively to the post-Brexit world in academic as well as personal capacities. For this, we argue that a new public CMS is needed, which would 1) be guided by the premise that we have no greater and no lesser right than anyone else to shape the world, 2) entail as much critical reflexivity in relation to our unintended performativities as our intended ones, and 3) be underpinned by marginalism as a critical political project.

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