ST-AIMS 02 : Embodied ethics

Mots-clés : Business Ethics, Moral Philosophy, Bodies at Work, Care


Critical management scholars are considered good allies when it comes to developing business ethics (Prasad & Mills, 2012). There are many philosophical theories of ethics and most of them have been discussed in the broader field of management and strategy. From Aristotle to Rawls, from Spinoza to Ettinger, two visions dominate: ethics as a rational phenomenon that can lead to rules, principles or codes of conduct, ethics as a pre-personal phenomenon that occurs at the affective level between bodies. These two strands drawing on different philosophical approaches, we choose the second for the present call: embodied ethics (Pullen & Rhodes, 2014; Thanem & Wallenberg, 2015; Kenny & Fotaki, 2015; Mandalaki & Fotaki, 2020) or ethics in practice (Clegg et al., 2007). Therefore, codes of conduct or organisations trying to formalize an ethical behaviour for their employees are not our first interest. We believe that gestures (Reinhold et al, 2018) and observable actions are more important than words or rules for the emergence of ethics. We also believe that care (Antoni et al, 2020), viewed as a practice at the organisational level, should be linked further to embodied ethics or ethics in practice.


The reality of work today

In times of distant work and separation of bodies, it is particularly important to understand what embodied ethics at work could be. Ethics start at the individual level and is linked to the degree of openness of bodies, in other words affects circulating between bodies. If a worker cannot notice the absence or the illness of a co-worker, it is a bad sign for the working climate. If a new employee does not feel welcome, it will also cause problems. If a manager is always on the run or hiding in her office, she will not build a genuine relationship with employees. It seems that some organisations have become disembodied, which does not allow for solidarity, care or in general human relations with all their nuances. The corporate Christmas party or the kick-off in fall are occasions for embodied relations, but the reality of work is often disembodied, leading to misunderstanding or an exaggerated formalisation of relations.


Expected contributions

The present call aims at further clarifying embodied theories of ethics (for example Spinoza, Diprose, Ettinger), discussing them from different perspectives, focusing mainly on the interindividual and organisational level. All forms of work can be discussed, as long as they imply embodied relations. All ethical theories are welcome, as long as the authors link them to embodied relations at work.

Articles are welcome in English or French.


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