This summer’s first conference for me was EGOS 2016, European Group for Organizational Studies, held in Naples, Italy.
This year’s theme at EGOS was ‘Organizing in the Shadow of power’ and we attended the sub-theme ‘Marxist Organization Studies: Institutional Forms of Power and their Legitimacy‘. My colleague and co-author, Dr. Ella Lillqvist and I presented our paper ‘Insights from Relevance Theory on the Marxist critique of social media‘. Mainly, we wanted to get insights on the applicabilitiy and suitability of Marxist concepts on the context of social media and digital labour. We did get useful feedback and our paper sparked a discussion of the use of Marxist concepts in new contexts, for example, social media, and how much and how far theory can be applied. It was also interesting to receive comments so different we have previously received from, for example, critical media scholars. In this paper, we are combining a cognitive-pragmatic perspective, Relevance Theory, with the Marxist critique of social media and digital labour, and aim to shed light on the discursive mechanisms at work in the Facebook communication aimed at the users by drawing on pragmatics and how utterances are interpreted in a given context. The paper is still in progress.
Naples was very hot, very hot indeed, and most of the time at the university we had no air conditioning, which made concentrating, or indeed any activity, very difficult. The temperature was mostly +35, but towards the end of the week it was +40 C.
Conference dinner was held on the beach somewhere outside the city, and while the venue was great and the food nice, we had such trouble getting home and getting a taxi. The overall feeling we were left with from the conference was that everything was a little labourious and difficult, but with bigger conferences this is often the problem. You feel like you queue half the time and the days are long and packed (too) full of both academic and recreational activities.
As we had a few extra days over the weekend, we walked around Naples and visited St. Elmo’s Castle or, Castel Sant’Elmo, where you have a gorgeous view over Naples and over Vesuvius. You can also see the Island of Capri on the horizon. It is easily reachable by one of the many funiculars in Naples, but there is no shade whatsoever up there so we were really struggling with the heat. Perhaps best to visit outside the hot summer months…