The politics and ethics of difference in organizations

Pathways to the same that is impossible

Authored by: Robert Westwood

The Routledge Companion to Ethics, Politics and Organizations

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  June  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415821261
eBook ISBN: 9780203566848
Adobe ISBN: 9781136746246


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It could be argued that the postcolonial, and that which seeks to explicate it, postcolonialism, is almost entirely about politics and ethics. However, postcolonialism has been accused of neglecting politics, ethics or both. For example, Drichel (2007) suggests that “ethical questions remain largely unexplored in postcolonial studies” and have only recently been broached theoretically. The latter is telling since whilst ethical theorization may be less overt, an ethical project is certainly visible within postcolonialism throughout. For example, for Fanon and others resisting the colonial and pursuing decolonization was an ethical project. The political nature of colonization and decolonization, and of postcolonialism and the postcolonial, is perhaps more apparent; although what form the politics takes is debated (Brydon, 2006). In his encyclopedic ‘Introduction’ to Postcolonialism, Young (2001) traces the political through every aspect of its development. Virtually from its onset the colonial project was opposed and not just by the colonized, but at home, from within the compass of the colonizing powers. Anti-colonial theory – symbiotic with postcolonial theory Young avers – was articulated along three trajectories: the humanitarian, the liberal and the Marxist. As he points out, it is fallacious to represent nineteenth-century Europe as lacking in self-criticism and with an unremittingly hegemonic imperialistic impulse. The empire was contested from the beginning, as far back as Bartolemé de Las Casa’s anti-colonial tract in 1542 (Young, 2001: 75) and elsewhere throughout the colonial era (Porter, 1968) and beyond.

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