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Postcolonialism, Organization, and Management Theory: The Role of "Epistemological Third Spaces"

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Stewart Clegg


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This article contributes a critical discussion of postcolonial theory. It opposes the binary nature of much contemporary discussion of the topic in theory and in organization and management theory in particular. We identify the challenges facing postcolonial theory, which we identify in epistemological terms. The dualism of colonial and postcolonial theory masks considerable diversity that the binary logic occludes. In place of this dualism, we introduce the notion of epistemological third spaces. As a theory of this third space, we introduce the indigenous theory of southern Africa, Ubuntu, discussing its interaction with more conventional Western management and organization theory. We also highlight a case in which the notion of epistemological third spaces would have been valuable had it been applied to the spread of the Nile River virus. We conclude the article with a discussion of the potential links between epistemological third spaces.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Seremani TW, Clegg S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Management Inquiry

Year: 2016

Volume: 25

Issue: 2

Pages: 171-183

Print publication date: 01/04/2016

Online publication date: 08/06/2015

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 1056-4926

ISSN (electronic): 1552-6542

Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.


DOI: 10.1177/1056492615589973


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