CfP Critical interpretations of the representation and re(production) of organisational life in popular culture: international perspectives.

Special issue CfP (deadline 31st August 2016)

Critical interpretations of the representation and re(production) of organisational life in popular culture: international perspectives.

Guest editors:

Dr Rebecca Finkel, Senior Lecturer, Queen Margaret University,

Dr Kate Sang, Associate Professor, Heriot-Watt University,

Steven Glasgow, PhD student, Heriot Watt University,

This special issue examines the interface between popular culture and organisational life, and how popular culture represents, constructs, and negotiates issues relating to masculinities and femininities. A range of scholars from different disciplines are analysing popular culture to understand the complexities of work under neoliberal capitalism and the personal, professional, and subjective vagaries of organisational life. Recent examples include analyses of series such as Mad Men (see special issue of Cultural Studies Review), Star Trek Voyager (Bowring, 2004), The Bill (a British police procedural drama) (Sullivan and Sheridan, 2005), The Apprentice (Windle, 2010), and Futurama (Pullen and Rhodes, 2012). Analysing popular culture and its representations of working life is useful for media and cultural studies on a number of counts: first, it brings concepts and theories from a wide range of disciplines such as sociology, film studies, communication studies, literary theory, management, and psychoanalysis, bringing new theories and concepts to enrich our analyses of gender and race in organisations. Secondly, as Emma Bell (2008) argues, TV and film allows for an exploration of the emotional and personal aspects of management and organisations, providing resources through which individuals can critically reflect on their work experiences. Thus, film and television can be viewed as part of that social construction of management and organisational life (Bell, 2008). Indeed, popular culture is often critical of working life and large corporations (Hassard and Halliday, 2008). Thirdly, popular culture offers ideals and exemplars of what is imagined to be the ‘good life’ achievable through work.

In spite of the upsurge of interest in popular culture in organisational theory, relatively little of this literature provides us with a sustained feminist or critical race analysis of organisations or management. In particular, little is said about and how films and television may influence managerial and organisational masculinities and femininities and their classing and racialisation. In this special issue, we welcome contributions which explore popular representations of management and managers, especially those which use feminist and critical race theory to critique how managerial masculinities and femininities are (re)produced. We particularly welcome papers which look at the representation of women of colour and from those examining sources of media in languages other than English. Submissions may address (but are not limited to) the following questions:

  • How can feminist analyses of representations of management deepen our understanding of how gender, class and race are (re)produced in contemporary workplaces?
  • How can academic disciplines such as film and television studies or literary theory inform studies of management and its practice?
  • How do cultural representations of organisational life inform, influence or reflect working life?
  • How is gender in the workplace represented in a range of popular culture forms, for example, soap operas, graphic novels, films and fiction. We particularly welcome analyses of popular culture in non English speaking countries.
  • What resources does popular culture offer us for critiquing gendering and racialization in organisations?
  • How can representations of gender at work be used to support teaching?

Submissions can be in English, German, Greek, Thai. For other languages please contact the editorial team as we may be able to accommodate this, for example, French, Spanish or Portugese. To discuss ideas for a paper please contact the editorial team.

Manuscripts should be no more than 8,000 words, including notes and references, and be in conformity with IPED style guidelines. If you have an idea for a shorter piece e.g. a research note please contact the editorial team. We welcome innovative pieces so please do get in touch if you have something you’d like to discuss.

Papers should be submitted online via

Closing date for submissions 31st August, 2016