Humour can indeed operate functionally for organizations, exhibiting organizational difficulties, shortcomings and paradoxes, which can then be mitigated.
The remainder of the article turns to this task. The point is that any ideological identification, if it is to function, always involves a degree of dis-identification, since no mature, modern individual who understands himself or herself as free and critical thinking will completely submit to an ideological identity. Bohr was once visited at home by a famous scientist.
However, ideology can only put its cards on the table in this way because it works — paradoxically, not in spite of but because of our critical distance to it and to that part of ourselves partaking in the ideology. One might say, then, that ideological interpellation only succeeds when it does not succeed completely. Hence, as mentioned earlier, we maintain ideology precisely through perpetuating the notion that we can avoid, breach, eliminate, emancipate or separate ourselves from ideology.
In other words, fantasies are fantasies of wholeness, completeness, fullness e. Here, Critchley briefly touches upon the theme of humour as a management tool. Part of his account is an anecdote about a group of employees staying at the same hotel as him. After breakfast, he meets some of them outside for a cigarette exchanging a few words. He writes:. Critchley, I think this incident is interesting for it reveals a vitally subversive feature of humour in the workplace.
Namely, that as much as management consultants might try and formalize fun for the benefit of the company […] such fun is always capable of being ridiculed by informal, unofficial relations amongst employees, by backchat and salacious gossip. However, his more or less explicit claim that a cynical distance — or as he points out later in the same book, humour as self-ridicule is in itself a kind of resistance — is highly questionable.
The same goes for his distinction between suppressive formal and subversive informal humour. In this light, it is noteworthy that a number of recent critical organizational studies and studies in the sociology of work demonstrate empirically how power relations in work life are reproduced by employees by means of humour Kunda, ; Willmott, ; Du Gay and Salaman, And Willmott demonstrates that people interpret their possibilities to ironically challenge the corporate culture as proof of their self-determination, and that this promotes a frictionless exercise of organizational functions.
None of these studies, however, address the problem of which humorous strategies could transgress the demonstrated ideological reproduction. Management takes over the clowning around, and humour becomes a leadership quality.
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The question, then, is what kind of humour can operate critically and subversively? Traditional forms of parody, irony and ridicule easily end up being co-productive and supporting contemporary management practices, according to the above research. These involve looking for:. The real becomes the effects of the failure of symbolization, evident as irruptions, impasses and impossibilities inherent in the Symbolic itself Laclau, Our first suggestions concern humour that displays the inherent antagonisms of the symbolic order, particularly targeting postulates of unity, cohesion and homogeneity.
In both cases, the symbolic order is one in which all parties take their natural place in a harmonious whole.
Such a hegemonic articulation depends upon a rallying of diverse identities to a reconciliatory representation of the organization or social positions. In this process of contingent, partial fixation, one particular signifier assumes the function of unifying representation. Its signifying content depends not on any non-discursive substance but on its position within a chain of signifiers which endeavour to suture the empty signifier, fixating its meaning Laclau, Here, humorous interventions could insist on simultaneously articulating these particular and incommensurable representations of the organization.
Such an insistence on incommensurable identities may over-burden and contaminate the empty signifier and the entire hegemonic formation that finds support in it.
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A humorous attack on empty signifiers can also be directed towards moments of irruption or collapse which are always inherent potentials of symbolic orders. Returning to our initial example of layoff announcements that operate with the help of a company clown, there is a momentary imbalance in the symbolic order, whose hegemonic representation is unity — that management and employees are part of a common, mutually rewarding project. However, the tragic-comedic moment arises when the clown pops up and displays the impossibility of the assertion of harmonious union and non-conflictuality.
Another possible strategy of humorous destabilization of the symbolic order consists of over-identifying with it see Fleming and Spicer, Rather than putting ironic distance to the positions and prescriptions directed at employees, an effective strategy could consist of completely embracing and overdoing them. The fact that these acts of resistance and transgression are integral to power does not make it untouchable, but renders it vulnerable to acts that simply take its claims and propositions literally. Such over-identification can be very humorous and can reveal the antagonistic kernel of a specific social arrangement or position.
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This practice is difficult to sanction, in that the employees are doing precisely what is officially expected of them, although in a too literal manner. By dissolving the distinction between humorous representation and harsh reality, the employees effectively display both managerial incompetence and the collapse of meaning.
Again, this underlines the uncontrollable and potentially subversive character of humour. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page.
Fluffington the cat is very different from every other kitty you ever heard of, and Book Two continues his special story with funny words, pictures, and sounds. Get A Copy. More Details Original Title. The Purrennium Trilogy 2. Other Editions 2.
Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Best viewed in font size 3, contains 17 images, one per page turn. With power-hungry malcontents, jealous gods, and even those with misguided good intentions, the fate of our world has oft been held in the hands of unsung heroes such as those that are members of NEO. In Frailties of the Bond, it only takes one bite to change a life… After a hiking trip gone wrong, sixteen-year-old Luca should have been dead. When a vampire attack claimed his mother and forced his first shift into animal form, Luca set out for Texas, vengeance bound, only to discover so much more when Aimee crossed his path.
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