Artefacts, Surprise and Managing During Disaster: Object-Oriented Ontological and Assemblage-Theoretic Insights

Philosophy of Management 19 (4):427-445 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Despite the applicability of assemblage theory to extreme events, the relational ontology that assemblage thinkers employ makes it hard to ground the potential of artefacts to undergo substantial change. To better understand how artefacts can be unexpectedly destroyed, and thereby catch managers by surprise, this article draws on Graham Harman’s object-oriented ontology. This approach is used to explain how artefacts, as concrete objects, have the capacity both to cause and to exacerbate calamities. By contrast, assemblage theory is shown to provide insight into post-disaster organizing dilemmas. An analysis of artefact-based surprise at a disaster-prone New Zealand port illustrates the complementarity of the two approaches. Minimizing surprise was a major impetus behind attempts by port managers to make sizeable artefacts more disaster resilient. Yet there are limits to this process that stem from a gap revealed by the philosophical distinction between an artefact’s design plan and its maximum plan. Object-based surprise at the port also sparked tension between the competing imperatives of centralization and decentralization in post-disaster recovery. How this problem played out at the grassroots level is best explained, however, in assemblage-theoretic terms.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 74,310

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Wie Aus Gedanken Dinge Werden. Eine Philosophie der Artefakte.Maria E. Reicher - 2013 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 61 (2):219-232.
Lebewesen Und Artefakte: Ontologische Unterscheidungen.Georg Gasser - 2008 - Philosophisches Jahrbuch 115 (1):125-147.
Artefacts as Mere Illustrations of a Worldview.Terence Rajivan Edward - 2017 - Symposion: Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 4 (2):241-244.
Being (with) Objects.Anna E. Mudde - 2017 - In Marie-Eve Morin (ed.), Continental Realism and its Discontents. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Disaster.[author unknown] - 2009 - International Studies in Philosophy Monograph Series:335-350.
Disaster.Stephen David Ross - 2010 - International Studies in Philosophy Monograph Series:335-350.

Analytics

Added to PP
2020-06-03

Downloads
3 (#1,305,977)

6 months
1 (#415,900)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

Surprizing Management.Wim Vandekerckhove - 2020 - Philosophy of Management 19 (4):365-367.

Add more citations