This class presents a literary history of the concept of management in the United States from its industrial beginnings to its post-industrial transformations. Few social phenomena have been as ... Lesen Sie weiter
This class presents a literary history of the concept of management in the United States from its industrial beginnings to its post-industrial transformations. Few social phenomena have been as influential in shaping modern America as the theory and practice of management, yet it remains a largely unexplored field of inquiry in literary and cultural studies. In this class we will examine how literary writers have responded to and shaped the rise and development of managerial culture in the United States. By reading management literature and theory alongside literary fiction, we will trace the concept of management from Benjamin Franklin’s self-management over the “managerial revolution” (Burnham) at the turn of the twentieth century, to the Human Relations Movement and the golden age of bureaucracy in the 1950s, to conclude with the post-industrial transformation of management in what has been called the “new capitalism” (Sennett) or the “new spirit of capitalism” (Boltanski and Chiapello). We will pay particular attention to how literary texts in form and content negotiate ideas such as efficiency, control, rationality, standardization, incentive, the “human element,” and self-management.
Besides management literature and theory, stories and excerpts, we will read the following four novels: Jack London’s Martin Eden (1909), Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s What Diantha Did (1912), Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano (1952), and Helen Phillips’s The Beautiful Bureaucrat (2015).