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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

On my way to Herman Melville

Purpose The author is revisiting the body of his papers on Herman Melville's Moby Dick, which he began writing some 15 years ago. Though these writings have remained an 'unwritten book', Melville's works had a lasting impact on his thinking and writing up to the present. The purpose of this paper is to reveal some of the experiences and emotions concomitant with academic writing that remain more often than not hidden from the reader. Design/methodology/approach - This paper is a personal reminiscence on the experience of academic writing for about four decades. It is a story of how an academic becomes acquainted with and then iniuencedlinspired by a piece of literature and discovers how many organisatiornl topics may be illuminated by works of literature. Findings - Even an unwritten book does not necessarily lead to completely neglecting what had been written. This may be a relief and an encouragement to others, who realize they are not alone in this respect. Originality/value The paper adds some further insight into the not-so-obvious and broadly hidden experience of the 'production process' of academic writing and illusfrates the relevance and importance of literature for further thinking on such topics as management and organization.