QUALITATIVE RESEARCH IN MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATION CONFERENCE
April 4-6th, 2012.
Anderson School of Management
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Embodiment, Imagination, and Meaning
University of Oregon
Karen Lee Ashcraft
University of Colorado, Boulder
“Discovering, making, and communicating meaning is our full-time job. We do it from the moment we are born until the moment we die.” (Mark Johnson, 2007: 17)
As researchers everything we do is concerned explicitly and implicitly with meaning – meanings of actions, intentions, texts, words, gestures, theories, and so on. However, making meaning is not just an academic or an intellectual activity, it is, as in the epigraph quote, an integral part of life. Meaning making is fundamentally embodied because there is never a time when we are not a sensate being in the world.
Over the last 30 years, Mark Johnson has challenged persistent dualisms such as the separation of mind/body, transcendence/embeddedness, reason/imagination, conscious/unconscious thought, conceptual/real metaphor, and cognition and emotion, arguing that meaning resides in bodily experiences. His theory of imaginationi is crucial in emphasizing the embodied nature of human meaning and in positioning understanding and imagination as central to constituting our ways of being and acting in the world. He has extended these ideas to a consideration of the role of imagination in
morality, and more recently elaborated upon the relationship between aesthetics, meaning, experience, our bodies, emotions, thought and language. His 1980 book Metaphors We Live By, co-authored with George Lakoff, is a classic in studies of language.
The themes of language, bodies and emotions also play through Karen Ashcraft’s work, more specifically in the context of gender relations, power and identity in work. Her research utilizes ethnographic approaches and has included studies of a non-profit women’s shelter and commercial airline pilots.
The aim of QRM 2012 is to explore the significance of Mark Johnson’s ideas for researching organizational life. We also want to build on the initiatives of QRM 2008 and 2010 in providing opportunities for qualitative researchers to discuss various ways of thinking about and studying organizational life. We encourage paper, panel and other forms of presentation that explore philosophical, conceptual and methodological issues in researching organizational life from a qualitative perspective.
The conference will consist of two streams. Stream 1 will focus on exploring how embodiment, imagination and meaning play through our research as both topics of study and as constitutive of the research experience. Stream 2 will address more general issues relating to methods, voices and ways of writing qualitative research. We encourage contributions from a variety of epistemological perspectives and a range of disciplines including management and organization studies, accounting, marketing, communications, cultural studies, information and decision sciences, sociology, psychology, education, health and public administration.
Prospective contributors should send an abstract of up to 1000 words, via email, to Ann Cunliffe at firstname.lastname@example.org by November 30th, 2011. The abstract should also include name, contact information, and submission stream. Conference organizers and contact information:
Ann L Cunliffe, Anderson School of Management, USA
Karen Locke, College of William and Mary, USA
Conference Website: http://www.mgt.unm.edu/qrm/
i See Johnson, M. (1987) The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and
ii Johnson, M. (1993) Moral Imagination: Implications of Cognitive Science for Ethics.
iii Johnson, M. (2007) The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding.