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Invoking spirits in the material world: Spiritualism, surrealism, and spirituality at work

By J. Martin Corbett


This paper considers the recent upsurge of interest in workplace spirituality through an analysis of three cultural movements – late nineteenth century spiritualism, early twentieth century surrealism, and late twentieth/early twenty-first century 'spirituality at work'. These movements share a common interest in harnessing the power of the human spirit in the transformation and 'betterment' of social life. It is argued that these movements have successively adopted and de-radicalised invocations of the spirit world such that the proto-feminism and utopianism of spiritualism and the revolutionary pretensions of surrealism have been usurped by a strongly managerialist discourse of workplace spirituality. The paper ends with a consideration of the implications of these developments for the critical study of spirituality, management and organisation.Peer-reviewedPost-prin

Topics: spirituality, surrealism, spiritualism, invocation, technology, materialism
Publisher: Sage
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1744935909340189
OAI identifier:

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