Critique, Co‐optation, and the Limits of the Corporation

Peter Fleming

in Authenticity and the Cultural Politics of Work

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780199547159
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720024 | DOI:
Critique, Co‐optation, and the Limits of the Corporation

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If corporations are now utilizing the tools of criticism and dissent, then where does this leave scholarly critique? This chapter provocatively explores the role of criticism in a cultural era where large corporations have absorbed and re-packed its own critique in the pursuit of profit. Rather than the firm being afraid of criticism, it actively co-opts and uses it to reinforce the status quo. The chapter uses the ideas of Latour and Boltanski and Chiapello's ‘The New Spirit of Capitalism’ to investigate this shift in managerial ideology. It argues that there might be a danger that critical management studies is actually reinforcing the latest managerial discourses rather than undermining them as it intends to do. It concludes by discussing the limits of co-optation (what kind of critique might not be appropriated and remain inscrutable?) and the role of the university.

Keywords: authenticity; critique; criticism; co-optation; corporate ideology; critical pedagogy; university

Chapter.  8741 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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