For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Organisational Gothic"

by Parker, Martin (2005)


This paper illustrates and theorises a tradition of gothic representations of organisation in the last two centuries. It links Marx's conjunction between capital and the vampire, Dickensian melodrama, and Weber and Kafka's labyrinthine bureaucracy, to contemporary films that show power-crazed lunatics at the top of corporate skyscrapers. I argue that this represents a powerful form of cultural critique through representation. Organisational gothic is, I believe, one cultural trope that has commonly been employed in order to reframe sanitised visions of a brave new world. More generally, the paper also exemplifies a certain approach to the cultural aspects of organization, in this case by making a claim for the importance of a cultural history of representations of industry and organisation.

Key Passage



Representation, Culture, Literature, Film, Marx, Weber, Kafka, Dickens, History


Critical Management Studies

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