From life in cages to life in projects: Metaphors for Moderns

Stewart Clegg, Carmen Baumeler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Historically, the metaphor of the iron cage, as a key component of Weber's (1978) sociological imagination has played a central role in organization studies. It did so both in its initial role in the sociology of bureaucracy and in its reinterpretation in institutional terms by subsequent theorists such as DiMaggio and Powell (1983). More recently, iron bars have given way to transparent liquidity as a dominant metaphor. The implications of this shift for the analysis of organization are the subjects of this chapter. We argue that a key technology of the liquidly modern organizational self is that of emotional intelligence and that, while this subject has been much written about, it has not been addressed in terms of its organizational effects on subjects. Technologies of the self are increasingly being developed that represent the possibility of a fusion of effective computing and emotional intelligence that generate new issues for research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding organizations in complex, emergent and uncertain environments
EditorsAnabella Davila, Marta M. Elvira, Jacobo Ramirez, Laura Zapata-Cantu
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781137026088
ISBN (Print)9781349331208
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2012


  • Affective computing
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Iron cage
  • Liquid modernity
  • Sociological imagination
  • Technologies of the self


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