1st Edition

Alternative Business
Outlaws, Crime and Culture

ISBN 9780415586481
Published December 14, 2011 by Routledge
192 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

USD $52.95

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Book Description

From Robin Hood to Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, outlaws have been a central part of 800 years of culture. These are characters who criticise the power of those in the castle or the skyscraper, and earn their keep by breaking the law. Outlaws break categories too. They are fact and fiction, opposition and product, culture and economy, natural justice and organized crime.

Beginning with Robin Hood stealing from the rich, and covering along the way pirates, smugglers, highwaymen, the Wild West, the Mafia and many others, Martin Parker offers a fresh and exciting insight into the counter culture of the outlaw – one that rebels against the more dominant and traditional forms of economy and organization and celebrates a life free from wage slavery.

Alternative Business is a highly readable, entertaining book that will prove a helpful study tool for all students and lecturers working on organizations, cultural studies and criminology.

Table of Contents

1. Knowing the Outlaw  2. The Many Myths of Robin Hood  3. Pirate Utopianism  4. Robbers and Romantics  5. Outlaws and the Frontier  6. The Mafia  7. Modern Bandits  8. The Counter Culture and Organization  9. Popular Political Economy

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Martin Parker is Professor of Organization Studies at the University of Warwick, UK. He has authored and edited several volumes on many topics, including anti-management thought, conspiracy theory and utopianism. He co-wrote For Business Ethics and co-edited Science Fiction and Organization –  both of which are also available from Routledge.


'Nicely crafted, a rollicking good read, and a worthy successor and extension of Hobsbawm's work on Bandits, this timely book, published in England in the wake of a carnivalesque occasion of crime and culture that is widely debated, will make a significant contribution to both studies of business and organizations as well as of culture more generally. As an interpreter against the legislators of normalcy Martin Parker makes a highly effective argument for the reconsideration of what it might mean to propose that to 'to live outside the law you must be honest'.'

Stewart Clegg, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

'With intellectual panache and inspired creativity Martin Parker’s new book offers a nuanced and compelling account of the outlaw as a counter-cultural hero. Drawing on the history of outlaws from Robin Hood to Tony Soprano, the book boldly attests to radical and liberating possibilities for economic life.'

Carl Rhodes, Swansea University, UK

'This original, entertaining and highly readable book destabilises conventional dichotomies of culture and economy, fact and fiction and the intellectual concerns of the business school versus the rest of the university. Martin Parker has successfully broken these academic rules to tell an 800 year-long adventure story about rule-breakers and their place in organization studies.'

Emma Bell, University of Exeter, UK

'Once again, Parker challenges his readers to think differently about management, this time how our ideas on business and ethics are shaped by popular culture'

Jonathan Murphy, Lecturer in International Management, Cardiff University, UK

'Orthodox management studies and education comes embedded with a range of prohibitions about the types of organization (and organizing) that should not be studied and the media from which cases and examples should not be drawn. Martin’s work pokes a very precise and cleverly fashioned stick at such prohitions and the results are engaging, fun, richly argued and illuminating. If there’s nothing else one learns from working with students in business schools it is that popular culture is part of their broader business education.  Martin’s book helps teachers of management topics recognise this, and begin to work out what this might mean for all concerned.'

Craig Prichard, Massey University, New Zealand

'Alternative Business is a thought-provoking indictment of the interrelationship among outlaws, crime, and culture.'

David A. Marvelli, Rutgers University, USA