Siinviidatu on sissejuhatuseks ajakirja ephemera. theory & politics in organization organisatsiooni olekutele fokuseeritud numbrile, kus organisatsioonihuvilisele lugemiseks võiks huvi pakkuda ilmselt kõik tekstid. Siinne toimetajate tutvustus pakub muuhulgas hea ülevaate numbris avaldatud tekstidest.


In this editorial introduction to the ephemera open issue 2021, we return to the perennial question: ‘What is organization?’.

Toetudes Giorgio Agambeni tekstidele:

To draw out these presuppositions and their significance, we engage here with Agamben’s (2015) critique of Aristotelian metaphysics. This allows us to do two things: firstly, we find in Agamben a fundamental critique of the form of the question ‘What is…?’ – a critique that has ramifications for the way we think about organizations and organizing (cf. Frost, 2016; Beltramini, 2020); and secondly, we consider the value of mobilising an alternative ontology – a modal ontology – that may enable us to think differently about the theory and politics of organization.

Ontoloogiline pööre:

Our brief engagement with modal thinking here can be located within a wider ‘ontological turn’ in the social sciences, and which in organization studies has encompassed such areas as critical and speculative realisms (e.g. Fleetwood 2005; Campbell et al., 2019), process philosophy (Helin et al., 2014), science and technology studies (e.g. Czarniawska, 2009), posthumanism (e.g. Johnsen et al., 2021), affect theory (e.g. Karppi et al., 2016), object-oriented-ontologies (e.g. Letiche et al., 2018), infrastructural thinking (e.g. Kemmer et al., 2021) and experimental ethnography (e.g. O’Doherty & Neyland, 2019).

Substantsi ja oleku vahekord:

The radicality of this thesis, Agamben maintains, is that the substance does not exist independently of its mode, because the mode is inseparable from the substance. A mode, in Agamben’s view, is a ‘form-oflife’, understood in the sense of ‘life indivisible from its form’ (2005: 206).


Consider, for example, a seemingly simple form like a chair. From a modal ontological perspective, a chair does not have a specific ‘essence’, defined as the common characteristics of all chairs, that would precede the thing itself. Thus, the chair does not have to comply with a set of generic characteristics in order to qualify as a proper chair. Rather than being restricted to a single function (e.g. a chair can only be used for sitting), the mode of the chair is its possibilities, which can only be explored by using the chair for different purposes.


Agamben elaborates: ‘Being does not preexist the modes but constitutes itself in being modified, is nothing other than its modification’ (2015: 170). For example, a particular thing, such as a chair, is therefore nothing but a specific modality of being, and, as such, it feeds back on being itself, constituting it. Being is a chair. A mode is not a static state, such as reaching an end goal wherein the being has realised its potential (the perfect chair, with no further designs needed).

Perspektiivi ülekordamine:

Agamben’s discussion of modal ontology, and the contrast he draws with more classic approaches to ontology, has allowed us to begin to draw out some characteristics typical of such modal conceptions and their possible value for organization studies: including its problematization of essentialist thinking; its shift from questions of the ‘what’ to a concern with the ‘how’ of organization; and a relationship to organizational transformation where order and movement are seen as complementary rather than oppositional.

Conrad, L., Curtis, R., & Johnsen, C. G. (2021). Modes of organizationEphemera. Theory and Politics in Organization21(3), 1-16