A dérive in Bled:
Talking the walk in management and organization
Damian Ruth, Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand email@example.com
Deborah Knowles, Westminster Business School, University of Westminster, UK firstname.lastname@example.org
Clare Hindley, IUBH School of Business and Management, Germany, email@example.com
You are invited to a workshop on dérives in which we will adopt the flaneur as a ‘methodological persona’ (Castro, 2003). There are many ways to wander (Qualmann and Hind, 2015) and many histories of walking (Solnit, 2000) but our focus is on how dérive opens up novel ways to think about management and organization. We will also push the methodological boundaries of expression to explore diverse ways of knowing, ‘personal, narrative, embodied, artistic, aesthetic – that stand outside sanctioned intellectual frameworks’ (Cole and Knowles, 2008: 55). We want to explore the experience of space and movement and the aesthetic expression of that experience relative to management and organization.
We have one ½ day (more or less depending on the response) to offer, listen and dérive. There will be a place for peer reviewed papers. We also welcome non-standard presentations, accompanied by a ‘score’ or alternative ‘texts’. You may ask what your organization or its type sounds like (Phipps, 2007) or what does an organization in flux taste like. The main process of the workshop is a dérive followed by our personal post-dérive Reports on Knowledge. We will be psychogeographers, flaneurs, and ethnographers bringing back stuff: noise, colours, fragments of conversation, bits of paper, photos, brochures, litter and maybe new friends. We come back from the field as scientists (Latour, 1999) to tell tales (Van Maanen, 1988) about our investigations into business and organization. There is a rich body of work to which we can relate.
The dérive is a concept coined by the French situationists and is described by Debord (1958) as “a rapid passage through various ambiences [involving] playful-constructive behaviour and awareness of psychological effects”. The point is to drop usual motivations for movement and actions and let oneself be “drawn in by the attractions of the terrain“, or simply "drift“, which is how Nicholson (2011:26) translates the term (see also Smith, 2014). It is associated with psychogeography in which psychology and geography meet, or “collide” (Coverley, 2010:13; Debord, 1955), recently used most notably by Self (2007; 2008; 2009) and Sinclair (2002; 2003), and which has been synthesised as a research approach in the business and management field (Knowles, 2008; 2009). This method constitutes ‘strolling’ along a route in order to observe (choosing or being open to sensual data) the environment and to construct meanings and explicitly includes the search for new methods of “apprehending our urban environment” (Coverley, 2010:1).
You may wish to draw on de Certeau’s thinking in his Walking in the City (1984) and link this to how organizations are spaces of physical, mental and political pollutants, evidencing Turnbull’s (2003) ‘messy’ knowledge and space creation and Ingold’s (2013) exploration of perceiving space. We wish to explore how new ideas need new spaces and how random objects, moments, voids, gaps can be found or created. We want to “[push] on the methodological boundaries” (Hesse-Biber & Leavy, 2008) of organizational research.
We will explore collage because in collage, a single coherent notion “gives way to relations of juxtaposition and differences” (Rainey, 1998:124, in Butler-Kisber, p.268) and these fragments “work against one another so hard, the mind is sparked” (Steinberg, 1972, cited by Butler-Kisber, 2008:.268). This resonates with Ingold’s (2012:49) idea of reality as a quilt, with ill-fitting elements and irregular edges.
In this call for contributions we have the following flexible ‘shape’ in mind. We will limit participation to 18.
Introduction: Damian, Deborah and Clare 10mins
Six ten-minute slots for required formal paper presentations 60mins
One hour for everyone to dérive 60mins
One hour for everyone to create their Report on Knowledge 60mins
There will then be a time slot later in the conference for each participant to stand by their ‘Report’ and report, a bit like a poster presentation period. We aim to have several informal ‘happenings’ over a couple of days and then a collective artwork that entails sound, theatre, re-enactments, exhibits and whatever else people can think of; a sort of huge collage of experience.
Most of all, we will wallow with relish in the sensuousness of knowledge creation!
Please email your contributions in the form of a 500 word abstract to all the convenors and please feel free to raise any queries or offer suggestions. We would like to receive your contributions by February 1st, 2016.