For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Writing Organizational Analysis into Foucault"

by Knights, David (2002)


In certain areas of social science and the humanities, Foucault has had an enormous influence in recent years. In particular, history, feminist and gender research, literary studies, philosophy, politics, psychiatry, and sociology have not been able to ignore the radical interventions of Foucault's attempts to think the unthought. Organization theory has not been immune to Foucault's constant challenge to what is taken for granted and his skeptical views of the work of what he named `universal intellectuals', who claim to speak on behalf of individuals, groups or populations. Foucault's skepticism about historicist and totalizing systems of thought and practice fits the era. His demand is that we question conventional thinking not because it is necessarily wrong but because it is dangerous. Contrasted with the way that much organization theory simply uses Foucault as a convenient resource, this article attempts to push organizational analysis toward Foucault until the pips squeak.

Key Passage



Foucault, Organisational Analysis, Universal Intellectuals, Feminism, Sociology, Psychiatry, Organisational Theory


On Foucault, Foucault, Critical Management Studies, Organisation and Management Studies

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