Faith and Fortune in the Post-Colonial Classroom

Stefano Harney, Stephen A. Linstead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The place of spirituality, religion, faith and cynicism in management education has received increasing attention in the past decade. From the point of view of teaching focused on critical engagement with practice, they are sometimes viewed as obstacles to practice. In this article we use resources from post-colonial thought and global critical race theory to suggest the opposite-that faith and cynicism can be understood as forms of critique issuing from the student perspective and that we might learn from these critiques as a way to reconfigure persistent dilemmas in the critique of the Enlightenment that trouble critical management approaches. We discuss a case study of the resistance to gigantic dam projects in India to illustrate both the possibilities of these critiques through what we call 'faith' and 'fortune', and the extent of the struggle that still remains to make such critiques effective. We then reconsider the dialectic of what Denise Ferreira da Silva calls 'affectability and self-determination' and the potential of liberation theology to offer a way to develop a 'preferential option' for the affectable subject. Drawing on the work of political philosopher and historian Jacques Ranciere we conclude on a note of optimism about the creative subjectification of affectability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-85
Number of pages17
JournalManagement Learning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • Critical race theory
  • Critique
  • Enlightenment
  • Pedagogy
  • Postcolonial
  • Management

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