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The failure of transition

Fotaki, Marianna and Böhm, Steffen and Hassard, John (2010) 'The failure of transition.' Journal of Organizational Change Management, 23 (6). pp. 637-650. ISSN 0953-4814

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<jats:sec><jats:title content-type="abstract-heading">Purpose</jats:title><jats:p>This paper aims to link the process of “transition”, which started in the former Soviet system about 20 years ago, to the recent global financial and economic crisis. The paper considers “transition” as a shift from one socio‐economic “dreamworld” to another, rather than as a real change towards freedom and democracy, as most mainstream commentators would have it. The argument is that this “transition” to a capitalist, free market society was bound up with a host of dream‐like imaginations of social and economic progress, which were also found on the imaginary horizon of the Soviet system. It is argued that the two systems, and hence also the recent global capitalist crisis, can be understood as being determined by complementary economies of desires, which, however, cannot be fulfilled.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title content-type="abstract-heading">Design/methodology/approach</jats:title><jats:p>The paper combines a critical theory perspective, influenced by Buck‐Morss and Benjamin, with a Lacanian analysis of subjectivity to critically analyze collective fantasies as the key organizational principle behind the workings and eventual demise of the socialist utopia as well as the more recent downfall of the neoliberal discourse.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title content-type="abstract-heading">Findings</jats:title><jats:p>The paper demonstrates why both socialism and capitalism can be understood as “real existing” systems where social processes, institutions, ideologies and identities are organized at the interface of political‐agonistic and symbolic‐imaginary dimensions.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title content-type="abstract-heading">Social implications</jats:title><jats:p>The paper calls for assuming responsibility for our work as public intellectuals and academics, aiming at the continuous unmasking of illusions, fantasies and ideologies at work in society, which we see as politics proper.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title content-type="abstract-heading">Originality/value</jats:title><jats:p>The paper uses critical‐theoretic, psychoanalytic and post‐structuralist frames in order to unravel the fantasmatic kernel at work of both socialist and capitalist utopias. These fantasies do not only struggle to uphold their hegemonic grip on the economy but on the very production of subjectivity.</jats:p></jats:sec>

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School > Centre for Work, Organisation and Society
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2011 09:41
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 10:55

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