Book Details
Mandatory Fields
Kavanagh, D., Keohane, K., Kuhling, C.;
Organization in Play
Peter Lang
Witney, UK
Optional Fields

Play is a foundational concept that animates life, work, creativity and organization; and while play essential, it also dislodges the very meaning of these terms. Organization in Play explores different meanings, usages and understandings of play to present novel and insightful perspectives on capitalism, management, markets, bureaucracy and other organizational phenomena. It traces how early capitalism's ethos of austerity and distaste for recreation has given way to a more ludic version. At the same time, children - those playmakers supreme - are, curiously, excluded from scholarly conversation about organization. The authors examine this and other paradoxes using a wide range of sources - from Weber to Sesame Street, from Star Trek to Lacan, from Riverdance to Beckett - that shed light on the capricious boundaries between work and play, rationality and foolishness, sense and nonsense.

Play points us to the liminal and the extra-ordinary, where meaning is ambiguous at best, and where conventional notions about order and disorder, movement and stasis, centre and periphery are undone and are put into play. It focuses our attention on the silences and absences, the comic and the theatrical, the folly and the madness of markets, organisations, management and work practices in contemporary capitalism. Drawing on a deep engagement with sociological and organizational literatures, the authors show how a play perspective enhances our understanding of those institutions we inhabit and inhabit us.


Introduction: Playing with Play

Child's Play: Childhood and `the Lack' in Organizational Discourse

Playful Representations of Work

Dance as Play and Work: Images of Organization in Irish Dance

Talk and Silence: Playing with Silence as an Organizational Resource

Playing the Fool: The University as Fool

Play and Madness in the Market

Playing Business: Gambling and `Casino Capitalism'

Grant Details