Monday 9th – Friday 15th May 2011
A public conversation, online and off, culminating in a week of activities at the Free Word Centre inspired by the book ‘How Power Corrupts: Cognition and Democracy in Organisations’ byDr Ricardo Blaug. This event will be curated by the Roundhouse group, a collective of recent graduates from the University of Leeds and if:book, a think and do tank exploring the future of the book in the digital age, in partnership with the Free Word Centre, Palgrave MacMillan and Westminster University.
Most agree with Lord Acton that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It seems to apply to history’s cruel dictators, perhaps also to the behaviours of current political and economic elites and even across the hierarchic organisations of our everyday lives. Whilst most agree that it does, there has been little study of how power corrupts, and in particular, how it does so beneath the awareness of those afflicted.
Rather than taking Acton’s quote as a truism Dr Blaug uses it as a starting point to critically analyse the subtle ways in which power corrupts and distorts our thinking. Drawing on the history of ideas and current research on the nature of power, it shows that corruption affects both the powerful and powerless, arguing that its symptoms are best treated with radical democracy.
The events during this week will offer a unique exploration into how an academic text can spark a wider discussion on a topical theme, pushing its contents into the public domain. In an attempt to break down the research silo and bring the conversations surrounding a book to the fore, these events seek to bridge a gap between theory and practice – asking academe to inform the day-to-day.
This is an opportunity for participants to actively contribute to the on-going conversation sparked by the themes in this book. By sharing their own experiences, through the form of poems and anecdotes as well as partaking in discussions, film showings and talks, participants will probe the content of ‘How Power Corrupts’ to push the arguments further and watch the knowledge evolve.
Events will take place online with contributors from all over the world taking up international perspectives – whilst the Free Word Centre will become the home of the book for one week.
This project seeks to show the creative possibilities for the future of academic publishing, asking how new media can provide a framework for curation and celebrating how in the digital age the ‘book’ can be made of much more than paper.
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