Vital organising: capitalism’s ontological turn and the role of management consulting

Olma, Sebastian. 2006. Vital organising: capitalism’s ontological turn and the role of management consulting. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis sets out to develop an approach to capitalism that locates its contemporary practice at the level of ontology. It evolves around the argument that contemporary capitalism is itself becoming ontological, that capital has in some sense moved into being. In order to argue thus, the analysis adopts a perspective of process-ontology that is influenced to a great extent by the recent resurgence of vitalism in disciplines such as sociology and cultural studies. Such a vitalist approach can be productively linked to an influential strain of Marxist theory that approaches contemporary capitalism in terms of real subsumption, understood as capital's full penetration of and its becoming operative within the process by which social life (re)creates itself.

This thesis develops the notion of vital organising as a concrete strategy enabling capital's displacement into the process of social life. Vital organising conceptualises the widely observed transformations in the field of economic organisation, a) in terms of their ontological significance, and b) in such a way that they can be located within a theory of contemporary capitalism. Moreover, this thesis embeds its abstract conceptual considerations within an empirical exploration of capital's ontological turn in the field of economic organisation. In concrete terms, empirical research into the theory and practice of management consulting identifies trajectories of vital organising in the contemporary practice of economic organisation.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


capitalism, ontology, vitalism, vital organising


September 2006

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

25 Jul 2023 09:13

Last Modified:

08 Aug 2023 13:34


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