Affective disruption: Walter Benjamin and the 'history' of Ireland's industrial schools

K. Kenny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
397 Downloads (Pure)


What role do organizations play in writing history? In this paper, I address the part played by organizations in the enactment of large-scale violence, and focus on the ways in which the resulting histories come to be written. Drawing on the case of Ireland's industrial schools, I demonstrate how such accounts can act to serve the interests of those in power, effectively silencing and marginalizing weaker people. A theoretical lens that draws on ideas from Walter Benjamin and Judith Butler is helpful in understanding this; the concept of 'affective disruption' enables an exploration of how people's experiences of organizational violence can be reclaimed from the past, and protected in a continuous remembrance. Overall, this paper contributes a new perspective on the writing of organizational histories, particularly in relation to the enactment of violence. 
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-22
Number of pages13
JournalManagement and Organizational History
Issue number1
Early online date19 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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