You should be writing, as the joke goes. When we come across this joke, our minds immediately jump to our texts, very much in the plural. Texts in progress, texts not materialized yet, texts in limbo, overdue texts, texts we wish we had time to nurture, texts we dread, texts we wish we had not committed on delivering during the summer. For some, this joke echoes vague or poignant feelings of guilt, arouses various anxieties, small and big, or simply makes them laugh in recognition. But for me, this joke is a lasso.
The world’s an untranslatable language
without words or parts of speech.
It’s a language of objects
Our tongues can’t master,
but which we are the ardent subjects of.
If tree is tree in English,
and albero in Italian,
That’s as close as we can come
To divinity, the language that circles the earth
and which we’ll never speak. (Wright, 2010)
From debates about the contribution of labour process analysis to the understanding of emancipatory struggles in organization, through to a treatise on the England national football team as a maternal ‘breast’ that turns spectators into consumers who begin to resemble new forms of labour, ephemera 5.1 assembles a series of apparently disconnected studies.
This issue of ephemera is concerned with texts, discourse and organization; how discourse organizes and the organization of discourse. Without wanting to speak for the various contributors, what we, as the editors of ephemera 4(4), want to do is focus on the quotation above in relation to new forms of writing.
What more can we say today about the relations between writing and politics? ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ goes the old slogan, but is it mightier than the traditional forms of direct action, political protest and insistent recalcitrance?
In the editorial for the ephemera issue 7(2) Spoelstra, O’Shea and Kaulingfreks (2007) reflect upon ephemera’s relation to the wider field of organization studies. Marginality is brought up as a main trademark of ephemera, in effect its core business. We would like to spend this editorial on following up on this theme. This is not only because marginality is a pertinent issue in need of further discussion. Which it is.