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Celebrating the End of Enlightenment: Organization Theory in the Age of the Anthropocene and Gaia (and why Neither is the Solution to Our Ecological Crisis)

Banerjee, S. B. ORCID: 0000-0002-8699-6368 and Arjaliès, D-L. (2021). Celebrating the End of Enlightenment: Organization Theory in the Age of the Anthropocene and Gaia (and why Neither is the Solution to Our Ecological Crisis). Organization Theory, 2(4), doi: 10.1177/26317877211036714

Abstract

This article aims to change the terms of the conversation about the ecological crisis. We argue that the human–nature dualism, a product of Enlightenment thought and primarily responsible for the ecological crisis, cannot be the basis for any meaningful solutions. We show how more recent Western imaginaries like the Anthropocene and Gaia proposed to overcome the separation of nature from culture are also based on exclusions that reflect Enlightenment rationality and legacies of colonialism. In sharp contrast, we show that Indigenous philosophies that preceded the Enlightenment by thousands of years have developed systems of knowledge based on a relational ontology that reflects profound connections between humans and nature. We demonstrate that such forms of knowledge have been systematically subjugated by Western scholarship based on arguments inspired by Enlightenment ideals of rationality and empiricism. A decolonial imagination will be able to generate new insights into understanding and addressing the ecological crisis. We therefore call for organization and management scholars to challenge the anthropomorphic biases and the economism that dominates our field through a respectful engagement with Indigenous worldviews.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Publisher Keywords: Anthropocene, decolonizing, ecological crisis, Enlightenment, Gaia, Indigenous, nature, organization theory, management theory
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
Date available in CRO: 04 Aug 2021 09:11
Date deposited: 4 August 2021
Date of acceptance: 30 June 2021
Date of first online publication: 25 August 2021
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/26559
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