Academic journal article Tamara : Journal of Critical Postmodern Organization Science

Nomad Aesthetics and the Global Knowledge Economy

Academic journal article Tamara : Journal of Critical Postmodern Organization Science

Nomad Aesthetics and the Global Knowledge Economy

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Digital technology and software networks enable large numbers of knowledge workers to incorporate themselves wherever and whenever they wish and to choose between a sedentary or nomadic lifestyle. One way of configuring these new circumstances is as the extensive power of people, products and markets to speedily overcome obstacles and span distances. However, we increasingly see non-representative corporations accelerating human pace and swallowing open spaces within the rational administrative control of a new supranational "Empire". Intensive movement, on the other hand, reconfigures the human condition in ways that politically and ethically engage with universalizing global processes. Like the traditional nomads of the steppe or the desert, for example, the movement in question is a complex, dynamic relation characterized by its immediacy and continuous variation of alliance and resistance, that remains difficult to locate, difficult to control, and even more difficult to defeat. The paper argues that nomadism can be a starting point for an opposing strategy to the global knowledge economy.

Some mother in Jakarta lays down her

weary head

In some free trade zone compound

where they work you 'till your dead

Hunger stalks the corridor famine and

disease

I seen the multinationals walking hand in

hand

with globalising marketeers.

Woody Guthrie, Alabama 3

INTRODUCTION

The speed, simultaneity and interConnectivity of modern electronic networks are now bringing all social, economic and political functions together in ways that promise total connectivity in a sort of "global cerebralisation" (Ansell Pearson, 1997). New digital technologies like mobile phones, Internet software design and electronic positioning devices, enable large numbers of people to be geographically independent of homes and offices; to work wherever and whenever they wish and to choose between a sedentary or nomadic lifestyle. This is noteworthy because organizations are usually identified as discrete entities, a community-of-place. That this view is becoming increasingly obsolete, with the rapid development of computer networks, is not new (see, for example, Tsoukas, 1992). What is interesting, is although so-called "network" representations are closer to the actual transformations of modern organizations, this view too has its limits. Computer networks "transform organizations from gatherings of people under the same roof to networks of electronically connected individuals, as well as inter-organizational alliances" (Tsoukas, 1992, p. 443). They do so, however, only within the established structures and systems of a worldwide knowledge economy. This demands the regularization of patterns and routines, the circumscription of possible movement, and the construction of constant relations of power, that can productively capture and codify socioeconomic activity.

According to Hardt and Negri (2000) the global knowledge economy constantly deploys itself in every direction to constitute and appropriate world markets and new territories. It appears worldwide organizations, no less than nomadic bands or packs, are able to deconstruct the boundaries of nation states and employment forms. They increasingly operate through irreducible and immeasurable forms of production that challenge traditional bases of power. How then can true nomadic movement be differentiated from the global processes of capital? An important difference to consider is between the intensive movement of actual nomadic relations and the extensive accumulation and commodification of the global knowledge economy.

The point of this paper is first of all to explore these two different modes of organizing. second, extending from Hardt and Negri's (2001) understanding of Empire, it argues that the global knowledge economy lies increasingly within the rational administrative control of a new kind of boundary-less organization "sans frontiers". …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.