Sub-theme 76: Towards a Multispecies Organizational Ethnography

To upload your short paper, please log in to the Member Area.
Convenors:
Frans H. Kamsteeg
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Ibtisam Al-Wahaibi
Sultan Qaboos University, Oman
Harry Wels
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Call for Papers


Scientific evidence nowadays leaves no doubt that humans differ from animals only in degree and not in kind (see among many others the many works of Frans de Waal, including his latest 2019 publication on the subject; the extensive work of Marc Bekoff, including his 2008 book; Safina, 2016; and many others). Human exclusivity and anthropocentrism therefore no longer hold, and hence non-human animals need to be included, and their absences and invisibilities problematized, in organization studies, and in organizational ethnography in particular because of its sense making sensibility (Wels, 2015).
 
However, taking non-human animals as serious participants or ‘respondents’ in organizational ethnography, in the same ways that humans are part of such research, comes with huge theoretical and methodological challenges. The anthropocentrism and logo centrism of conventional organizational ethnography has actually not really equipped us with tools to answer these intellectual challenges. Nonetheless, attempts are made to rectify this reductionist approach and include the non-human animal in the (organizational) research practice (see two recent special issues on ‘the animal’ in Organization in 2016 and in Culture and Organization in 2018).
 
This sub-theme lives up to the overall EGOS Colloquium 2021 theme on ‘inclusivity’, by exploring ways to make organizational ethnography more inclusive by including non-human animals as fellow sense making sentient beings, next to humans. We invite papers that take up the challenge and dare explore one of the following topics:

  • Theoretical challenges for including non-human animals in organizational studies/ethnography

  • Methodological challenges for including non-human animals in organizational studies/ethnography

  • Agency of non-human animals in organizations

  • Power and resistance of non-human animals in organizations

  • Non-human animals and organizational culture

  • Non-human animals and sense making in organizations

  • Non-human animals and discourse analysis

  • Organizational identity politics and the non-human animal

  • Multispecies ethnography, climate change, and biodiversity
     


References


  • de Waal, F. (2019): Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
  • Safina, C. (2016): Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel. New York: Picador.
  • Wels, H. (2015). ““Animals like us”: Revisiting organizational ethnography and research.” Journal of Organizational Ethnography, 4 (3), 242–259.
  •  
Frans H. Kamsteeg is an Associate Professor at the Department of Organization Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. His research has long focused on disciplining role of culture in organizations, but at the 2019 Ethnography Symposium in Portsmouth, he presented a paper, together with co-convenor Harry Wels, on the urgent need for developing multispecies (organizational) ethnography against the dominant single anthropocentric approach in ethnographic research. In his approach to multispecies ethnography, Frans is developing a particular interest in the sentience of plants and trees.
Ibtisam Al-Wahaibi is an Assistant Professor at the Sultan Qaboos University in Oman. Her research focuses on communication, especially in the context of gender. Her latest work focuses on imagery, representation and communication between humans and camels in Omani culture. Ibtisam presented on this fascinating work at the 2019 Ethnography Symposium in Portsmouth.
Harry Wels is an Associate Professor at the Department of Organization Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Together with Frans Kamsteeg he participated in and presented at the 2019 Portsmouth Ethnography Symposium, based on his life-long research on wildlife conservation in South and Southern Africa. Harry’s ‘animal turn’ is basically the topic of his 2015 article in the ‘Journal of Organizational Ethnography’ (see References above).
To upload your short paper, please log in to the Member Area.