Art as "The Great Refusal": Lessons for organization studies and management

Adrian N. Carr


This article revisits and seeks to add to some of the author's earlier work to highlight, once again, the manner in which art is able to return our gaze and induce critical reflection. In line with Herbert Marcuse's notion of "The Great Refusal", it is suggested that art has the potential to help us 'see' anew that which is familiar, the everyday, the banal. Drawing upon the work of the surrealist art movement, the paper highlights the manner in which an "estrangement-effect" is created that gives us sufficient distance to reflexively consider the taken-for-granted. The techniques used by the surrealists are shown to have their parallels in the work of some who occupy a 'space' in the field of organisation studies. The author argues the case that the field of organisation studies needs to recognize and protect this space of refusal.


ORGANIZATION -- Research; ART & philosophy; REJECTION (Psychology); ALIENATION (Philosophy); ART -- Psychological aspects; SURREALISM; MARCUSE, Herbert, 1898-1979

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