For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"The later Foucault in organization and management studies"

by Barratt, Edward (2008)


This article reviews the use of the later Foucault in organization and management studies. Offering an evaluation of readings of the later writing, we comment on arguments for re-focusing on genealogical criticism, for an alternative Foucauldian politics of the workplace and a form of practical criticism sometimes derived from the later writing. A key aim is to attempt to open up new directions for critical inquiry drawing on other ways of reading Foucault. If genealogy is to be installed as a vital resource for critique, there appears to be a need for renewal. On the question of political alternatives, we comment on the ambiguities and silences ? especially the historical silences ? of the later Foucault's interpreters. A style of practical criticism inferred from readings of the later writing should not, we suggest, be accepted without qualification.

Key Passage

The idea of a politicized history of management has perhaps been taken furthest by those working within the loosely coupled Foucauldian genre of governmentality studies (e.g. Miller & O’Leary, 1993; Miller & Rose, 1990; Rose, 1990). The abstract sense of ‘government’ here highlights the diversity of powers and governing authorities which regulate the subject’s space of freedom (Rose, 1999). Histories in this style begin explicitly and selfreflectively with a diagnosis of the problems of the present, seeking to explore the complex and contingent process by which that present took shape. Less an attempt to apply Foucault’s methods as to work creatively with his thought and methods of working, systematic expositions of the genre suggest a form of analysis that in principle embraces both the historical and systematizing dimensions of genealogical critique. (p.519)


Foucault, Management Studies, Management Studies, Social Science, Politics Of The Workplace, Genealogy, Genealogical Criticism


On Foucault, Foucault, Critical Management Studies

Links to Reference



How to contribute.