Business Schools in the Performative Medium

The major assignment on the performativity of business schools that the project once known as The Provoked Economy had left pending is now concluded. In “Twilight in the Leadership Playground: Subrealism and the Training of the Business Self”, an investigation carried out with Javier Lezaun, the elements of infantilism and decisionism present in the ethos of elevation found in experiential methods of leadership training are examined, and linked to the moral and political limits of Surrealism. “Grappling with the Performative Condition” is a short essay in which the moral tensions of the ideology of business performance are further explored. The anthropological nature of such tensions are studies with reference to an ethnography of the case method in “The Live Act of Business and the Culture of Realization”, an article that explicitly targets the performative ideals of reality that are implied in the repertoire of case-based pedagogy in business training. In “Business Schools, the Anxiety of Finance, and the Order of the ‘Middle-Tier”, an ethnographic study carried out with Horacio Ortiz,  financial imagination is signaled a the prime vehicle for the establishment of the order of business schools. And, finally, in “Setting the Habit of Capitalization: The Pedagogy of Earning Power at the Harvard Business School, 1920-1940”, a historical perspective is given on the origins of experiential financial pedagogy in business schools. Together, these studies provide the key (or at least one key) to the disturbing reality of business school reality.

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