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The banality of organisational evil, total institutions, and epistemic injustice: Theorising the Savile sexual abuse scandal

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2017
EventThe 10th International Critical Management Studies (CMS) Conference - Britannia Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Jul 20175 Jul 2017


ConferenceThe 10th International Critical Management Studies (CMS) Conference
Abbreviated titleCMS 2017
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


The emergence of cases of widespread sexual abuse spanning decades, often involving victims who were children at the time, and occurring in various significant institutions, such as the church, sports clubs and healthcare organisations, has been a tragic and horrifying revelation for our times. Such events defy easy explanation and leave a legacy of confusion over how such deviant and harmful acts could have gone undetected and/or unpunished for so long.

In the current paper, we analyse the sexual abuse scandal that broke around the eccentric British television and radio personality, Jimmy Savile, with the first abuse claims emerging and being widely published in 2012, about a year after his death. Up until his death, Savile had been generally respected for charitable fundraising work (Greer and McLaughlin 2013), despite rumours and incomplete investigations while he was alive. The tendency to disbelieve, dismiss or ignore allegations of his involvement in at least 500 cases of abuse involving victims ranging from prepubescent girls and boys to adults (Furedi 2013), we would argue, mirrors to some extent the relative tendency to ignore, neglect and suppress difficult ethical, ideological and political issues constituting the ‘dark side’ of research on organisations and institutions (Linstead et al. 2014).

    Research areas

  • dark side, total institutions, Evil


The 10th International Critical Management Studies (CMS) Conference


Liverpool, United Kingdom

Event: Conference

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