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Pursuing happiness within business enterprise (XIXth-XXIst centuries)

La quête du bonheur dans l’entreprise (XIXe-XXIe siècle)

Annual conference of the Association française d’études américaines (AFEA) 2017

Congrès annuel de l’Association française d’études américaines (AFEA) 2017

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Published on Monday, January 02, 2017 by Elsa Zotian

Summary

This workshop questions the economic dimension of the American dream, and more specifically the role assigned to business enterprise in the pursuit of happiness. In what terms have the different actors of business enterprise defined this contribution, and how have they articulated the material, moral, individual and collective components of happiness?

Announcement

Argument

The individual farm of the Jeffersonian era, the General Motors corporation of the mid-20th century and the ‘startups’ of the early 21st century have little in common except perhaps their association with the nexus of values, beliefs and hopes usually subsumed under the ‘American dream’ label.  Since the early 19th century, the pursuit of happiness has inspired both experiments with new forms of business organization and more radical efforts to challenge private property or to reverse the order of priorities between economic profit, self-fulfillment and social harmony.

This workshop questions the economic dimension of the American dream, and more specifically the role assigned to business enterprise in the pursuit of happiness. In what terms have the different actors of business enterprise defined this contribution, and how have they articulated the material, moral, individual and collective components of happiness? Aspirations to more satisfying social relations in business and work have coexisted with plans to expand the sphere of leisure, philanthropy and consumption. To some extent, the State has also shaped the pursuit of happiness in business enterprise

Another set of questions pertains to the relation between mainstream and marginal or alternative enterprise. From the Shakers to Edward Bellamy and the communal movements of the Sixties, utopian projects have often foundered on the difficulties of breaking with established business practices. Conversely, paternalistic schemes, innovations in ‘human resources management’ and public relations strategies may owe more than is generally acknowledged to the radical champions of happiness. We invite contributions addressing some of these questions in different periods of US history, including in our time.

This workshop will be part of the annual conference of the Association Française d'Études Américaines (AFEA), to be held in Strasbourg on June 6-9, 2017.

Submission guidelines

Proposals (with a short biography) must be sent to the 3 scientific coordinators

Deadline : January 15th 2017

References

  • Lendol CALDER, Financing the American Dream : a Cultural History of Consumer Credit, Princeton  N.J., Princeton University Press, 1999.
  • Archie B. CARROLL, Kenneth LIPARTITO, James E. POST, Patricia Hogue WERHANE et Kenneth E. GOODPASTER, Corporate Responsibility: the American Experience, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • Thomas C. COCHRAN et William MILLER, The Age of Enterprise: a Social History of Industrial America, New York, Macmillan, 1942.
  • Lizabeth COHEN, A Consumers’ Republic : the Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America, 1st ed., New York, Knopf, 2003.
  • Ronald CREAGH, Utopies américaines expériences libertaires du XIXe siècle à nos jours, Marseille, Agone, 2009.
  • John Kenneth GALBRAITH, Le Nouvel Etat industriel. Essai sur le système économique américain, Paris, Gallimard, 1968.
  • Kenneth LIPARTITO, « The Utopian Corporation », in Constructing Corporate America. History, Politics, Culture, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 94 119.
  • Gib PRETTYMAN, « Gilded Age Utopias of Incorporation », Utopian Studies, 2001, vol. 12, no 1, p. 19 40.
  • Edward SPANN, Brotherly Tomorrows : Movements for a Cooperative Society in America, 1820-1920, New York, Columbia University Press, 1989.
  • John L. THOMAS, Alternative America: Henry George, Edward Bellamy, Henry Demarest Lloyd, and the adversary tradition, Cambridge, Mass., Belknap Press, 1983.
  • Alan TRACHTENBERG, The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age, New York, Hill and Wang, 1982.

Scientific coordinators

  • Alexia Blin, doctorante au Centre d’Études Nord-Américaines de l’EHESS, alexia.blin@univ-paris3.fr
  • Evelyne Payen-Variéras, Maître de conférences en civilisation américaine, Université Paris 3–Sorbonne nouvelle, evelyne.payen@univ-paris3.fr
  • Ophélie Siméon, Maître de conférences en civilisation britannique, Université Paris 3-Sorbonne nouvelle, ophelie.simeon@univ-paris3.fr

Places

  • Strasbourg, France (67)

Date(s)

  • Sunday, January 15, 2017

Keywords

  • rêve américain, culture d'entreprise, bonheur

Contact(s)

  • Alexia Blin
    courriel : alexia [dot] blin [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Ophélie Siméon
    courriel : ophelie [dot] simeon [at] sorbonne-nouvelle [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Pursuing happiness within business enterprise (XIXth-XXIst centuries) », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, January 02, 2017, https://calenda.org/382225

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