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Narrative Change Management in American Studies

A Pragmatic Reading


Silke Schmidt

Management means getting things done. How can research on the theory and practice of management help American Studies move forward? This book offers a pragmatic approach to bridging the gap between the humanities and business studies. Based on a critical reading of the disciplinary cultures of American Studies and Business School education, the book analyses narratives of U.S. management theorists and practitioners, including Peter F. Drucker, Mary Cunningham, and John P. Kotter. The stories help readers acquire effective management and leadership tools for application-oriented humanities in the digital age.

"With her outsider perspective on the discourse in management research and application, Schmidt proposes interesting questions that can turn into fruitful research issues in Business Studies and its interdisciplinary exchange with American Studies. I hope this book falls on open ears." – Evelyn Korn

"Schmidt did pioneering work by taking the risk of entering novel terrain to show new paths for the further development of American Studies." – Carmen Birkle

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4 The Two Cultures


Wie es dazu kam, dass die Naturwissenschaften zunächst von den Geisteswissenschaften nur unterschieden, am Ende jedoch höher eingeschätzt, oder zumindest nützlicher angesehen wurden, ist eine lange und verwickelte Geschichte, die in der bisherigen Sekundärliteratur nur sehr unvollständig rekonstruiert ist. (Daston, “Kultur der wissenschaftlichen Objektivität” 14)

One could assume that all the chapters written by history of science scholars like Lorraine Daston have revealed all the details of the fissures dividing the disciplines. Yet, as she shows, there are many hidden secrets in the story of why the cultures continuously clash. In contrast to science historians, however, scholars in Literary Studies hardly ever ‘read’ the history of science. Culture clashes between disciplines might thus be experienced but not researched. My value-oriented reading of the cultural divide does not promise any new findings with respect to the historical facts. Yet, it offers a cultural perspective or interpretation.

When introducing the man whose name will always be linked to the so-called Two Cultures Problem, one can refer to a line by the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard whom Pierre Bourdieu quotes in his 1975 article “The Specificity of the Scientific Field and the Social Conditions of the Progress of Reason:” “The training of the scientific mind is not only a reform of ordinary knowledge, but also a conversion of interests” (19). The man who turned the discourse on the sciences and humanities upside down after undergoing such a “conversion” is C. P. Snow,...

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