University of Leicester
2017raczmmphd.pdf (2.64 MB)

Contested Contexts: The articulation of critically-oriented business and management schools in the UK

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posted on 2017-05-03, 14:17 authored by Máté Márton Rácz
This thesis explores the contexts that make possible contested articulations of critically-oriented business and management schools in the UK. Drawing on British cultural studies, the theoretical framework builds on the concept of articulation understood as an overdetermined, non-necessary correspondence between elements of the social totality. Any articulation is an inherently unstable unity that, in a radical contextualist approach, acquires its temporary local meanings in mutual contradistinction to various contexts. Based on my empirical research, I provide an example of how the meaning of criticality gets contextually negotiated at a particular school through the performative re-iteration of boundaries that organize the local contexts. The 14-month ethnographic fieldwork underpinning this research at a school of business and management in the UK included participant observation, interviews with full-time staff members, university managers and third-year undergraduate students, and analysis of relevant documents. This was complemented by interviews done with staff members at further two schools. The analysis is underpinned by a deconstructive approach to disentangle how contexts come together in the institution of critically-oriented schools. The research shows that the conditions of possibility for criticality emerge through the antagonistic local institutional history of the main site and its mother university but this discourse of criticality is continually challenged inside the school. With regard to the context of the scholarly field of critical management studies, the research finds that repeated calls for engagement actually reinforce the idea of critique as a largely academic exercise and a similar separation is found with regard to educational content and pedagogic method. The thesis concludes by suggesting possible rearticulations, new routes of political engagement, along the lines of embodied resistance and performative education.



Robinson, Sarah; Parker, Martin

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Management

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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