Halloween, organization, and the ethics of uncanny celebration

Kelly, S. and Riach, K. (2018) Halloween, organization, and the ethics of uncanny celebration. Journal of Business Ethics, (doi:10.1007/s10551-018-3945-8) (Early Online Publication)

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Abstract

This article examines the relationship between organizational ethics, the uncanny, and the annual celebration of Halloween. We begin by exploring the traditional and contemporary organizational function of Halloween as ‘tension-management ritual’ (Etzioni, Sociol Theory 18(1):44–59, 2000) through which collective fears, anxieties, and fantasies are played out and given material expression. Combining the uncanny with the folkloric concept of ostension, we then examine an incident in which UK supermarket retailers made national news headlines for selling offensive Halloween costumes depicting ‘escaped mental patients’. Rather than treating this incident as a problem of moral hygiene—in which products are removed, apologies made, and lessons learned—we consider the value of Halloween as a unique and disruptive ethical encounter with the uncanny Other. Looking beyond its commercial appeal and controversy, we reflect on the creative, generous, and disruptive potential of Halloween as both tension-management ritual and unique organizational space of hospitality through which to receive and embrace alterity and so discover the homely within the unheimlich.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Riach, Professor Kathleen
Authors: Kelly, S., and Riach, K.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Journal of Business Ethics
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0167-4544
ISSN (Online):1573-0697
Published Online:25 June 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Business Ethics, 2018
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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