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Book part
Publication date: 31 October 2014

Michael J. Thompson

To defend the thesis that the base-superstructure hypothesis central to Marxist theory is also central paradigm of the tradition of Critical Theory. This is in opposition…

Abstract

Purpose

To defend the thesis that the base-superstructure hypothesis central to Marxist theory is also central paradigm of the tradition of Critical Theory. This is in opposition to those who see this hypothesis as determinist and eliminating the possibilities for the autonomy of social action. In doing so, it is able to retard and atrophy the critical capacities of subjects.

Design/methodology/approach

Emphasis on the return to a structural-functionalist understanding of social processes that places this version of Critical Theory against the more domesticated forms that consider “discourse ethics” and an “ethic of recognition” as the normative research program for Critical Theory. Also, an analysis of the purpose and logic of functional arguments and their relation to Marx’s concept of “determination” is undertaken.

Findings

The essence of Critical Theory hinges upon the ways that social structures are able to deform and shape structures of consciousness of modern subjects to predispose them to forms of domination and to view the prevailing hierarchical structures of extractive domination as legitimate in some basic sense.

Research limitations/implications

The foundations of Critical Theory need to be rooted in a renewed understanding of the relation between social structure and forms of consciousness. This means a move beyond theories of social practices into the realm of social epistemology as well as the mechanisms of consciousness and their relation to ideology.

Originality/value

Few analyses of the relation between the base and the superstructure or material organization of society and the social-epistemological layer of consciousness delineate the mechanisms involved in shaping consciousness. I undertake an analysis that utilizes insights from the philosophy of mind such as the theory of intentionality as well as the sociological approach to values through Parsons.

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Mediations of Social Life in the 21st Century
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-222-7

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Article
Publication date: 2 November 2015

Thomas Taro Lennerfors, Per Fors and Jolanda van Rooijen

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of information and communication technology (ICT) for promoting environmental sustainability in a changing society…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of information and communication technology (ICT) for promoting environmental sustainability in a changing society. Isolated studies exist, but few take a holistic view. Derived from a Marxian tradition, the authors propose Ecological World Systems Theory (WST) as a holistic framework to assess the environmental impact of ICT. The theory is adapted responding to theoretical critiques of absence of change, namely state-centrism and structuralism.

Design/methodology/approach

Theoretical study. Empirical examples derived from already published literature.

Findings

Ecological WST focuses on the unequal distribution of environmental degradation, sees technological development as a zero-sum game rather than cornucopia and holds that technology is often seen as a fetish in today ' s society. The findings are that popular discourses on ICT and sustainability are since the 1990s becoming increasingly cornucopian, while conditions in the ICT value chain are less cornucopian.

Research limitations/implications

Theoretical contributions to Marxian critiques of ICT, with more environmental focus than earlier Marxian critiques, for example Fuchs’ work. Develop a theoretical framework for ICT and sustainability which could be compared with works of e.g. Hilty, Patrignani and Whitehouse. The work is mostly based on existing empirical studies, which is a limitation.

Practical implications

This theoretical framework implies that unequal environmental degradation in different parts of the world should be taken into account when assessing environmental impact, for example by means of LCA.

Social implications

The framework brings together questions of environmental effects of ICT and global justice.

Originality/value

The authors apply a rarely discussed theoretical framework to ICT and environmental sustainability. By doing this the authors suggest how the discourses and the value chain of ICT is intrinsically tied to the world system.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article
Publication date: 3 February 2020

Jane Andrew and Max Baker

The authors critique Modell's proposition that critical realism is useful in elucidating and creating possibilities for emancipation.

Abstract

Purpose

The authors critique Modell's proposition that critical realism is useful in elucidating and creating possibilities for emancipation.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors begin by outlining Modell's conception of enabling structures. If ‘activated’ by reflexive individuals, these are theorised to be a mechanism through which agents can begin to emancipate themselves. However, the authors argue that emancipation must be contextualised within the material realities of global capitalism, paying particular attention to the shape of inequality and the subjects of exploitation. In doing this, they draw on Marx to pose an alternative view of structure.

Findings

In offering a Marxist critique of critical realism, the authors show how capitalist superstructure and base work together to reinforce inequality. In doing this, they highlight the enduring importance of collective action as the engine of emancipation. It is for this reason that they advocate for an emancipatory politics, which is collectively informed outside of, and in conflict with, the logics of capitalism.

Research limitations/implications

The authors argue that explicit discussions of capitalism and its structures must be at the centre of critical accounting research, especially when it pertains to emancipation.

Originality/value

Given the importance of the conceptual framing of critical accounting research, this article suggests that critical realism has much to offer. That said, the authors draw on Marx to raise a number of important questions about both the nature of structure and the identity of reflexive agents within critical realism. They do this to encourage further debate about the emancipatory possibilities of the critical accounting project and the ideas proposed by Modell (2020).

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1989

Andy Thorpe

In considering the historic writings of Marx, the article seeks toshow that as religion has become institutionalised in the form of theCatholic Church it becomes simply…

Abstract

In considering the historic writings of Marx, the article seeks to show that as religion has become institutionalised in the form of the Catholic Church it becomes simply another component of the edifice of the superstructure. This position is challenged chiefly through the emergence of the Liberation Churches. The roots, institutionalisation, and establishment of the present‐day church are described. The role of the Liberation Churches in serving those suffering oppression is also discussed in comparison with Marxist thought, and in some areas the two views are seen to be irreconcilable.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 16 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Book part
Publication date: 10 June 2009

Notes taken and edited by David L. Prychitko

Peter Boettke and I had taken Don Lavoie's graduate Comparative Economic Systems course during the Fall of 1985. Lavoie had just published Rivalry and Central Planning

Abstract

Peter Boettke and I had taken Don Lavoie's graduate Comparative Economic Systems course during the Fall of 1985. Lavoie had just published Rivalry and Central Planning (Lavoie, 1985b) and National Economic Planning: What is left? (Lavoie, 1985a), and was at the cusp of establishing himself as a major player in the comparative systems and contemporary critique of socialist planning literature.1

Details

A Research Annual
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-656-0

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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Ian Towers

The transfer of management knowledge is usually seen as a formal process involving business schools, training courses and books. This paper aims to investigate the…

Abstract

Purpose

The transfer of management knowledge is usually seen as a formal process involving business schools, training courses and books. This paper aims to investigate the managerial content of TV drama programmes, considering the mechanisms that determine this and showing how this changes over time. The paper also shows how the content forms part of management discourse and how it may be used by viewers to understand what good and bad managers do and to modify their behaviour accordingly.

Design/methodology/approach

Two links are discussed: between the economic system and cultural products and between cultural products and the individual. Police drama series are used as an example to show how current management practices are mediated through popular culture and how they are legitimised.

Findings

The management styles and practices observed in police drama series have changed over the past 40 years to reflect the most recent trends. Bureaucratic management styles are shown in a negative light, whereas teamwork is shown positively. New trends such as the heavy use of consultants are also represented in recent programmes, providing evidence of how popular culture can make management practices part of managerial discourse.

Originality/value

Films and TV programmes are analysed by management scholars, but usually to illustrate a particular theme. This paper does not take the managerial content as a given but identifies mechanisms through which it is determined and shows how it changes. Additionally, it shows the relationship between content and viewer. It provides evidence of the role of popular culture in the transfer of management knowledge and of how management related contents change over time.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2005

James E. Alvey

In the Western world the voices calling for a secular society have grown ever louder over the last three centuries. This paper seeks to return to one of the founders of…

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3283

Abstract

Purpose

In the Western world the voices calling for a secular society have grown ever louder over the last three centuries. This paper seeks to return to one of the founders of modernity for guidance. Adam Smith advocated globalization on economic and moral grounds.Design/methodology/approach – A discussion focusing on those calling for a secular society and, in addition to these normative advocates, various social scientists have propounded the “secularization thesis”; after analysing history from a purportedly positive view, they have argued that “modernization” leads to a secular society. Recently globalization has been seen as another cause of secularization. At the same time, the revival of various religions has cast doubt on these claims.Findings – Smith did not see secularization as an inevitable consequence of globalization. Further, despite his awareness of the arguments of the advocates of secular society (and contrary to some commentators like Minowitz), he rejected their advice. For him, a secular community was neither a necessary nor a desirable consequence of globalization.Originality/value – Provides a viewpoint on some of Adam Smith's thoughts and ideas.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 32 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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Article
Publication date: 30 June 2020

José Luis Usó Doménech, Josué Antonio Nescolarde-Selva, Miguel Lloret-Climent, Kristian Alonso and Hugh Gash

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate mathematically the impossibility of achieving a utopian society. Demonstrate that any attempt to correct deviations from a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate mathematically the impossibility of achieving a utopian society. Demonstrate that any attempt to correct deviations from a hypothetical trajectory whose ultimate goal is the utopia, increasingly demands more work, including measures that lead to terror, which may even be absolute, leading to the horrible paradox that in seeking paradise hell is constructed.

Design/methodology/approach

Scientific tools that the authors have used are: the theory of the system linkage, alysidal algebra, kinematic theory and vector analysis.

Findings

Myths are the substrate of some complex systems of beliefs and utopia is its ultimate goal. The use of the combination of the theory of trajectories, belonging to the alysidal algebra, the theorem of unintended effects and kinematics theory provides an approximation to deviations suffering utopian ideological currents and their corrections.

Originality/value

This paper is a continuation of other previous papers developing the theory of complex societies.

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Article
Publication date: 22 June 2010

Patrick J. Devlin

The purpose of this paper is to utilise Williams' writings on hegemony in order to examine why and how in the last 25 years efficiency has come to dominate the public…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to utilise Williams' writings on hegemony in order to examine why and how in the last 25 years efficiency has come to dominate the public sector and to explore the consequences of this development.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper employs a literature‐based analysis and critique.

Findings

Williams' model is able to explain why and how the public sector has become preoccupied with a selective version of efficiency, the significant role played by accounting, and the cultural clashes encountered in the public sector.

Research limitations/implications

Williams' model could be used in a variety of settings for a variety of purposes.

Originality/value

Williams' writings are new to the accounting literature. The paper is novel also in that it uses Williams' writings to explain efficiency's dominance.

Details

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1176-6093

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1984

Roland Gibson

“In so far as stray thoughts, giants, and brownies, lies and errors are really existing, though only in the imaginations of men, to that extent they are true. All errors…

Abstract

“In so far as stray thoughts, giants, and brownies, lies and errors are really existing, though only in the imaginations of men, to that extent they are true. All errors and lies are true errors and true lies, hence are not so far removed from truth that one should belong to heaven and the other to eternal damnation.” (Dietzgen: The Positive Outcome of Philosophy).

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 11 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

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