Sub-theme 53: Power and Difference in Organizations: Turning to Ancient Greek Philosophy, Drama and Mythology in Search of New Meanings [merged with sub-themes 39 and 54]


Call for Papers

Ancient Greek philosophy, drama and mythology have been fertile sources of inspiration for philosophy, critical social theory, psychoanalysis and feminist thinking. Indeed, Steiner (1984) argues that the problems that bedevil Western culture originate in the entry of Ancient Greek drama and mythology into the syntax and semantics of European languages and thus condition what it is possible to think, speak and write. Management and organization theory has indirectly or implicitly drawn upon these resources – the language we use and the philosophers who inspire us draw upon them (McCarthy, 2003), but there has been little explicit engagement. This sub-theme invites engagement with classic myths, stories and ideas so as to explore ways of re-articulating and re-thinking subjectivity, the self, difference and the politics of difference in organizations and society.

This Call intends specifically to disrupt, subvert and play with the inherited and taken for granted ideas of femininity, hierarchy, organization, body and otherness by tracing the influence of Greek Antiquity upon organizational thought. The aim is to re-position, re-ject, re-write and re-inscribe contemporary identities. Its inspiration is Cixous' (1976) use of Medusa to redefine symbols of femininity (Cixous, 1976) and Butler's (2000) reading of Antigone to rethink kinship relations (Butler, 2000; but see also Mitchell, 2000; and Zajko & Leonard, 2008). We invite theoretical and empirical contributions, broadly construed, concerning bodies (sexuality, gender, dis-ability, age), social class, ethnicity or the experience of dispossession (slavery, homelessness, unemployment, statelessness and migration).


The suggestions below are indicative and not exhaustive:

  • What new bodies of knowledge or new ways of speaking of and within organizations become possible with new interpretations of the philosophies, myths and dramas?
  • How are contemporary notions of difference, including race, gender and various forms of dispossession, informed by the male imaginary of ancient Greek aesthetics and theoretical apparatus? How can we use this knowledge to bring about social and organizational change?
  • What new ways of speaking that offer an avenue for emancipatory practice emerge through re-reading the Ancient Greek heritage?




  • Butler, J. (2000): Antigone's Claim. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Cixous, H. (1976): "The laugh of the Medusa." Trans. by K. Cohen & P. Cohen. Signs, 1 (4), 875–893.
  • McCarthy, G.E. (2003): Classical Horizons. The Origins of Sociology in Ancient Greece. Albany: State University of New York Press.
  • Mitchell, J. (2000): Mad Men and Medusas. London & New York.
  • Steiner, G. (1984): Antigones. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Zajko, V., & Leonard, M. (eds.) (2008): Laughing with Medusa: Classical Myth and Feminist Thought. Oxford: Oxford University Press.