A thousand CEOs: Relational thought, processual space, and deleuzian ontology in human geography and strategic management

MacFarlane, K. 2016. A thousand CEOs: Relational thought, processual space, and deleuzian ontology in human geography and strategic management. Progress in Human Geography. advance online publication.

The last 20 years have witnessed a deepening of the imbrication between capital and the university. This paper seeks to map one point at which this binding occurs: in critical theory. Recently scholars in strategic management have turned to processual and relational ontologies in an attempt to reimagine the logics of profit, value, and growth. These same ontologies have appealed to critical geographers as a means of reconceiving space as unfixed. Drawing on a case study of Deleuze’s appropriation in management literature, I show how such ontologies presuppose a vitalism that necessarily reproduces and obscures the structures of exploitation.

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