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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellow's Seminar - The Obligation of Self-Management: the social structuring of freedom and its critical appraisal

19th February 2018, 13:00 to 14:00, Seminar Room, Institute of Advanced Study, Professor Sverre RaffnsĂže (Copenhagen Business School)


”Gleipnir is forged by the footfalls of cats, the beard of women, the roots of the mountain, the sinews of the bear, the breath of the fish, and the spittle of the birds.”
Icelandic manuscript containing Eddaic Poems

Self-management is present in all current forms of management and social interaction. Coaching, performance management, auditing, and bench-marking all presume that employees are capable of governing themselves. Self-management is an implicit and inherent indispensable condition of possibility for management.

It implies that we as employees take responsibility for ourselves, while we independently figure out how we can best create value for the organization.

Self-management provides human beings with new independence and opportunities for development, but with the obligation to leave the state of immaturity and become free comes the burden of freedom and self-development.

As a consequence, self-management is not just the omnipresent order of the day that gives us the answer to a number of pressing problems. The solution also raises a series of new problems and challenges.

They become ever more insistent, not only for the individual but also for the organization and for society as a whole, since what is in the making is not only a new form of personal and social existence but also a challenging, new form of social cohesion and structure. Here the social bond takes the form of the structuring of freedom centered on a mutual human obligation to overcome what one is confronted with to such a degree that one is able to relate to it freely and independently.

This mutual human obligation to become free raises interesting questions with regard to structure, structuring and critique. How is one to conceive of structural regulation when it is based on the exercise and further development of freedom? How is one to envision a critique in the realm of freedom and self-expression?

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues interested in attending a seminar should register online in advance to reserve a place. Places will be confirmed within 48 hours of receipt (subject to availability).

Contact for more information about this event.