Critical Management Studies Division. Plenary Paper. ‘The violence of the “we”’ in the age of Brexit, Trump and the resurgence of the Far Right

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

3 Downloads (Pure)


I come from a large, extended working-class family, some of which is ‘respectable’ and some of which is not (as I will explain). I was the first member to go to university (as a mature student) and so far only my father (who graduated when he was 80), one sister, and my elder son have followed in my footsteps. These class roots are what attracted me to CMS, even though we seem to have abandoned ‘class’ as an identity in our studies. Many of my relatives work for the minimum wage, or on temporary, limited-hour contracts. Some do not work at all and rely (more or less happily) on the (British) state for their income. Amongst their number are racists, misogynists, and probably all other ‘ists’ we can think of. I, of course, as a good left-leaning liberal sort of person/typical CMS adherent, claim to be none of these things, or rather someone who strives to be none of these things.

But following the Brexit vote I learned to climb down from my high horse and listen actively to the family conversations for and against Brexit. I had to learn to put aside my rush to condemnatory judgement and (re)learn the lay theories that I had forgotten or put aside as I took on the identity of ‘academic’. In this talk I want to return to those lay theories and explore what they may teach us about ourselves, we left-leaning, liberal, CMS types. I want to explore in whose name we strive to be critically performative political activists. Whose freedom from managerialism and neo-liberalism are we striving to achieve? And if that vaguely defined ‘freedom’ were ever to be achieved, would it take the form dictated by yet another master: us, we left-leaning, apparently liberal-minded, CMS types?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Aug 2018
EventAcademy of Management Conference -
Duration: 1 Feb 2014 → …


ConferenceAcademy of Management Conference
Period1/02/14 → …


  • class struggle
  • Brexit, Referendum, UK,
  • liberalism

Cite this