New PhD: Boukje Cnossen ! \o/

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On January 16th, Boukje Cnossen defended her PhD thesis at the Tilburg School of Economics and Management of Tilburg University, the Netherlands.


The main focus of her thesis concerned organizing practices between solo-entrepreneurs in the creative industries. The thesis is positioned in the field of organisation studies, more specifically in the stream of research known as CCO, or the communicative constitution of organisation, which regards organisations as temporary outcomes of discursive and material practices. The thesis engages with various literatures, such as actor-network theory and autonomist philosophy.

Empirically speaking, the thesis consists of different qualitative case studies into creative spaces and a collective of cultural entrepreneurs and artists in Amsterdam.

The three chapters deal with:

  • (1) the politics of self-organizing practices between independent workers in creative spaces, and their relation to the institutional context affording such spaces,
  • (2) the role of material objects in constituting communities in two creative spaces, and
  • (3) a communication-focused analysis of the organisational boundaries in collective of community artists.

Taken together, the thesis contributes to the field of management and organisations studies by challenging the view that organisations are entities with recognisable boundaries, and offering a view of organisations as emergent, and constituted through discursive and material practices.

Boukje argues that the organising emerging from such loose collectives as creative spaces and hubs, is characterised by the fact that the creative workers and entrepreneurs sometimes attribute their creative efforts to the larger collective they are part of, while at other times, they foreground their individual authorship.

The thesis puts forward the concept of “selective appropriation” to suggest that organisations are sometimes made to appropriate the efforts of the human beings that sustain them, but not always.

This loose organising has strategic benefits for the creative workers involved, because they can present themselves as (belonging to) different organisational entities, depending on their strategic needs.

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