Enlightenment, Critical Theory, and the Role of Business Schools in the Anthropocene
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Critical Theory
Business Schools

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Nogueira, J. M. M. ., Rodrigues, . C. C. C. ., & Aguiar, A. C. (2021). Enlightenment, Critical Theory, and the Role of Business Schools in the Anthropocene. Revista De Gestão Social E Ambiental, 15, e02816. https://doi.org/10.24857/rgsa.v15.2816


Purpose: This article analyses relations between the Dialectic of Enlightenment, critical theory, and the Anthropocene, and poses the question: How do the Dialectic of Enlightenment and critical theory relate to the Anthropocene? Moreover, what is the role of business schools and critical management studies in the context of the Anthropocene?

 Theoretical framework: The Dialectic of Enlightenment questioned why advancements in rationality and technology failed to lead humanity to emancipation. Moreover, advancements in rationality and technology have led to the Anthropocene: a new geological age marked by the human capacity to modify the climate and ecosystems of Planet Earth. This debate, which is related to fields such as sustainability, organisations, and management, can be held in business schools.

 Method/design/approach: To discuss this theme, we compose a theoretical essay.

 Results and conclusion: The shock of the Anthropocene has provoked the need to think differently about social and environmental issues and to declare humanity as being responsible for nature. However, this response can neither be naïve nor generalised; it cannot place the responsibility for the Anthropocene on every human being equally. That would also reduce the significance of the human struggle to both acknowledge and solve the current climate and nature issues. We propose five dimensions where business schools could advance to foster critical thinking in the Anthropocene: curriculum, institutional practices, academic staff, the educational system, and subjectivity.

 Research implications: Critical management studies (CMS) and business schools are two important players that can use the Anthropocene-induced perspective shift to think differently about social and environmental issues.

 Originality/value: We show that CMS can use the Anthropocene shock to reinforce itself and gain greater legitimacy to critically analyse modern methods of organising the human society. Business schools also need to review their current practices for educating future managers who need to be aware of their environmental impact both as human beings and as professionals.

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Este trabalho está licenciado sob uma licença Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2021 Marcelo Maia, Caio Coelho, Ana Carolina Aguiar


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