Speaking truth to power? Anti-bureaucratic romanticism from critical organizational theorizing to the White House

Thomas Lopdrup-Hjorth, Paul du Gay

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In spite of their distinctive normative and political differences, critical organizational scholars use a vocabulary which in several respects resembles that adopted by right-wing populists. This vocabulary, we argue, consists of components that can be deployed in the pursuit of radically conflicting goals. At its heart lies a profoundly antithetical stance towards bureaucracy and the state. In this paper, we explore the components of this vocabulary as well as the role they play in both populist- and critical organizational theory-variants. In so doing, we further discuss the lack of critical potential this vocabulary has in the present. For critical organization scholars, we argue, this should perhaps lead to a renewed consideration and reflexivity concerning not only the merits of bureaucracy and the state, but also of how to conduct critique in populist times.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Early online date11 Mar 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Mar 2019

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