Let's up the Ante: A Call for Intellectual Activism in Business Schools

14 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2017

Date Written: Feb 7, 2017


This paper is a call to embrace and work towards a specific form of intellectual activism in business schools. Based on the inspiring work of professor Patricia Hill Collins, and other black feminist and post-colonial scholars, intellectual activism is here defined as ‘the myriad ways in which people place the power of their ideas in service to social justice’. This paper calls for and delineates a positive response to the current crisis by identifying key areas of work that scholars in business schools can engage with. This intellectual activist praxis invests the key dimensions of our work: teaching, research activities, and our work as employees and managers in business schools. In a systematizing and pro-positive effort I indicate that such academic praxis has four key features. It is progressive, critical, engaged and concrete. These features are elaborated and then I introduce specific tactics/practices for engagement and offer examples. In summary, intellectual activism in business schools is (i) a form of political work; (ii) a form of ‘building work’; and (iii) not easy.

Keywords: Performativity, Critical Management Studies, Humanist Management, Public Sociology, The Role of the Intellectual

Suggested Citation

Contu, Alessia, Let's up the Ante: A Call for Intellectual Activism in Business Schools (Feb 7, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2928841 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2928841

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