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Reading Group Oct 10 2007

The paper proposed is: Cooper, R. (1992) ‘Formal Organization as Representation: Remote Control, Displacement and Abbreviation’. In Reed, M. & Hughes, M. (eds) Rethinking Organization: New Directions in Organization Theory and Analysis, 254-272. London: Sage. The penultimate section of Cooper’s chapter considers how this type of analysis can fundamentally transform the way in which conventional approaches to formal organization structure proceed by way of statistical representations and operationalizations of supposedly fixed and unchanging dimensions. In its place, Cooper’s focus on the representational technologies facilitating control at a distance transforms these structures into dynamic socio-technical networks along which ‘the organization’ travels.” .

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Oct 10, 2007
from 12:30 PM to 01:30 PM


couches in Quinn

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(from the editors’ introduction) “Cooper deploys three key concepts from postmodernist and post-structuralist forms of organizational analysis to explore the representational practices through which organizations achieve ‘control at a distance’. He examines remote control, displacement and abbreviation as three interrelated techniques of representation which allow organizational elites to construct ‘organizations’ as active conversion processes that transform geographically remote events or supposedly intractable realities into visible and controllable objects. The explanatory potential of this framework is then illustrated by reference to three empirical examples of ‘control at distance’: the development of advanced navigational technologies by the Portuguese East India Company in the fifteenth century; Pasteur’s construction of a mobile laboratory technology to isolate and counteract the anthrax virus in nineteenth century France; finally, the development and implementation by French and British administrators of vision-oriented administrative techniques that regulate the potentially dislocating and disruptive effects of rapid demographic expansion in the 18th and 19th centuries.

You can get a copy from me (Room 235) or other CITO members.

Gathering for reading, Wednesday October 10th at 12.30 in the couches at Quinn School (bring lunch with you).

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