[URBANTH-L] CFP: Signs of the Future: Management, Messianism, Catastrophe (Ljubljana)

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Sat Aug 19 22:42:43 EDT 2006

25th Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism

1-4 July 2007, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Call for Papers


Today the future seems both more promising and more perilous than ever
before. What will the future look like, and by what signs will we know 
it? How are we organizing for the future, and how might we plan for 
different futures of culture and organization? After various attempts to 
bring history to an end, today we again sense a mood of possibility. 
There is, it would seem, a future for the future. What will that future 

Victor Hugo writes: 'For what tomorrow will be, no one knows'. This 
kind of remark might seem a poetic extravagance when faced with the 
need to plan and to organise for the future. Any practical person knows 
that in order to bring about our plans we must organise gradually and 
methodically, paying due care and attention to the demands of time. But 
at the same time, we sense that the more routinized our planning for the 
future, the less likely that the future will be particularly surprising. In this 
way, maybe the last thing that any manager wants is to come face to face 
with the future.

The future often appears today in the popular imagination as complete 
system failure or global ecological catastrophe. The end of the world is 
now no longer a religious problem, but something of immediate concern 
to policymakers and newspaper readers. If the future involves increasingly
unmanageable waves of risk, out of this crisis emerges the possibility 
of a different future, the promise of a future as radically different.

If we learned from the twentieth century the dangers of eschatological
promises of a perfect future, today we sense both the peril of those
promises and at the same time the catastrophe that the future will 
bring if we remain on our current course. The theme of the future 
therefore asks profound questions about alternative futures. If these no 
longer appear in the form of Utopia, they do however imply the 
impossibility of refusing messianism and hope. Hence the prospect 
of speaking, following Jacques Derrida, of a 'messianicity without 
messianism' and a future that is forever to-come.

Writing in the spring of 1940, Walter Benjamin offered the image of 
Angelus Novus, which looks back at the past and sees 'one single 
catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage' ('Theses 
on the Philosophy of History'). But what if the angel looked over 
its shoulder to glimpse the signs of the future? If the angel could 
read those signs of the future, would it stop, would it shudder, 
would it take flight?

Contributions are invited that consider any aspects of the future of 
work, culture and organization, and some indicative topics follow:

  a.. Visions of the future: utopias, dystopias, brave new worlds
  b.. The future of the economy: prospects for capitalism and the state
  c.. Trading on the future: futures market and their philosophical 
  d.. Spectacle and speculation
  e.. Prediction, anticipation, planning
  f.. Interruption and discontinuity
  g.. Attempts to create new worlds: 'Another world is possible' (The 
World Social Forum)
  h.. Mourning, loss, trauma
  i.. Memory, nostalgia and the relation to the past: the 'future 
within the present' and the celebration of the past in the name of 
the future
  j.. Responsibility, promise, justice
  k.. Mastering the future: chaos and control
  l.. Managing risk and event
  m.. Planetary futures: the rise of new economic and cultural 
  n.. Pensions funds, saving for the future
  o.. The end of work, the endlessness of work
  p.. The future of nature: ecological sustainability, environmental
  q.. Responsibilities for not yet born others
  r.. The future of diversity, gender and difference
  s.. The future of communication: new media technologies, the end of 
the book
  t.. The future of the academy: the business school of tomorrow
  u.. Cyborgs and other hybrid bodies
  v.. Fictions of the future: science and fantasy
  w.. Accessing the future: futurology, divination, sacrifice
  x.. Concepts of time past, present and future
  y.. The 'now', the out of joint and the untimely
  z.. The future of the sign: asignifying practices and the war against 
the signifier

This list is intended to be indicative only. We actively encourage
innovative takes on the conference theme, as well as those that focus on
more than one of the above areas. With its long tradition of
inter-disciplinary reflections, SCOS encourages papers that draw 
insights and approaches from across a range of disciplines. In addition 
to scholars working in management and organization studies we welcome 
contributions from anthropology, sociology, philosophy, politics, art history, 
communication, film and gender studies. Contributions can be theoretical, 
empirical or methodological, but should address their subject matter in a 
critical and rigorous fashion.

We also welcome suggestions for workshops, performances or events. 
Outlines of proposed workshops should be the same length as a paper 
abstract and should clearly indicate the resources needed, the number of 
participants, the time required, the approach to be taken and the session's 

Open stream
An open stream at SCOS XXV will facilitate interesting presentations of
recent developments in research on organizational culture and symbolism 
that do not connect directly to the conference theme. Papers are therefore
invited on any aspect of theory, methodology, fieldwork or practice 
that is of continuing interest to the SCOS community. If submitting to the 
open stream, please indicate this clearly on your abstract.

SCOS 2007 will be held at Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia. Situated to 
the east of Italy and south of Austria, Slovenia is one of the most 
beautiful countries in Southeastern Europe.  The capital, Ljubljana, 
with its walled river, castle and outdoor cafés, is a beautiful miniature 
of Prague.

Daily sessions will take place at the Faculty of Economics at the 
University of Ljubljana, a large university situated 2 miles from the 
centre of Ljubljana. Accommodation will be in hotels, a choice of 
which will be provided to delegates, at a range of prices and locations, 
and at negotiated conference prices. Social events, receptions and meals 
will be held around the city, and we hope to hold the conference dinner 
at Ljubljana castle.

For more information about conference events visit www.scos.org, and for
information about Ljubljana, www.ljubljana.si/en

Organizing Committee
Working in collaboration with the Faculty of Economics at the 
University of Ljubljana, SCOS 2007 is being organised by a committee 
of researchers based at the University of Leicester School of Management. 
This committee consists of:

Armin Beverungen
Michèle Bowring
Jo Brewis
Gibson Burrell
Nick Butler
Pippa Carter
Ishani Chandrasekara
Stephen Dunne
Leonidas Efthymiou
Nick Ellis
Gavin Jack
Norman Jackson
Campbell Jones
Eleni Karamali
Ruud Kaulingfreks
Tom Keenoy
George Kokkinidis
Geoff Lightfoot
Simon Lilley
Ming Lim
Mark Tadajewski
Martin Parker
Carl Rhodes
Charlotte Sanderson
Christiana Tsaousi

For informal discussions about SCOS 2007, please feel free to contact 
any member of the organising committee. For more information about the
University of Leicester School of Management visit www.le.ac.uk/ulmc

Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted as e-mail
attachments (all common formats accepted) by Friday, 29 December 2006 to
scos at le.ac.uk

Conference Website
For more information on SCOS 2007 visit www.scos.org

SCOS Membership
Have you joined SCOS yet? Join online (its free) at www.scos.org

More information about the URBANTH-L mailing list