- List of Contributors
- Introduction: Sociology, Social Theory, and Organization Studies, Continuing Entanglements
- Michel Foucault and the Administering of Lives
- Bourdieu and Organizational Theory: A Ghostly Apparition?
- The Making of a Paradigm: Exploring the Potential of the Economy of Convention and Pragmatic Sociology of Critique
- Bruno Latour: An Accidental Organization Theorist
- A Theory of ‘Agencing’: On Michel Callon’s Contribution to Organizational Knowledge and Practice
- Niklas Luhmann as Organization Theorist
- Jürgen Habermas and Organization Studies: Contributions and Future Prospects
- Bhaskar and Critical Realism
- The Comparative Analysis of Capitalism and the Study of Organizations
- C. Wright Mills and the Theorists of Power
- Organizational Analysis: Goffman and Dramaturgy
- Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology
- Rational Choice Theory and the Analysis of Organizations
- Clifford Geertz and the Interpretation of Organizations
- Risk, Social Theories, and Organizations
- Arlie Russell Hochschild: Spacious Sociologies of Emotion
- Discourse and Communication
- The Second Time Farce: Business School Ethicists and the Emergence of Bastard Rawlsianism
- Hayek and Organization Studies
- Social Movement Theory and Organization Studies
- What’s New in the ‘<i>New</i>, New Economic Sociology’ and Should Organization Studies Care?
- Critical Theory and Organization Studies
- British Industrial Sociology and Organization Studies: A Distinctive Contribution
- Anthony Giddens and Structuration Theory
- Engendering the Organizational: Feminist Theorizing and Organization Studies
- Organization Studies and the Subjects of Imperialism
- Space and Organization Studies
- Organization Studies, Sociology, and the Quest for a Public Organization Theory
- What Makes Organization? Organizational Theory as a ‘Practical Science’
Abstract and Keywords
When social theory was largely focused on social structure and sociology was in search of objective measures, Clifford Geertz argued for an interpretive social science in search of meaning. He saw language and other symbols as pervasive structures of meaning that allow actors to understand events and guide their action. These symbols are connected in ‘webs of significance’ that are the object of cultural analysis. This chapter begins with a discussion of the key elements in Geertz’s contribution. It goes on to show how Geertz’s versions of culture, interpretivism, and thick description were picked up in organizational studies. It finds the influence strongest among a first wave of early adopters, as part of the surge of organizational culture studies in the 1980s. A second wave of interpretivists was more critical, drawing on postmodernism and institutional theory. Nevertheless, a revitalized interpretivism, deeply indebted to Geertz’s ‘thick description’ continues to evolve.
Mitchel Y. Abolafia is Professor in the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany/State University of New York. He has also taught at Sloan School of Management at MIT, Johnson School of Management at Cornell, and the School of Management, University of California at Davis. He is the author of Making Markets: Opportunism and Restraint on Wall Street (1997). He holds a BA in Sociology from Tufts University, and a PhD in Sociology from Stony Brook University.
Jennifer E. Dodge is Assistant Professor at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany/State University of New York. She is also the Book Reviews Editor of Critical Policy Studies, and a Fellow at the Research Center for Leadership in Action at The Wagner School/New York University. She has published in Policy & Society, Public Administration Review, Critical Policy Studies, and contributed chapters to the Handbook of Action Research and Constructive Discourse in Human Organization. She earned a BA in sociology from Skidmore College, and a PhD in public administration from The Wagner School/New York University.
Stephen K. Jackson is a doctoral student in the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany/State University of New York whose work focuses on non-profit-government relationships at the state and local level. He earned a BA in Theatre Arts from Ithaca College, and a MPA from Binghamton University.
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