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Managing overflow in science publishing
Sabina Siebert, Robert Insall, and Laura M. Machesky

Overflow – or surplus, excess, overspill – is usually understood as the opposite of scarcity. Yet as Czarniawska and Löfgren (2012) noted, overflow can be construed as either positive, when more means better, or as negative, when there is too much, even of a good thing. But no matter how it is defined and whose perspective one considers, overflow must be managed – controlled or coped with. Earlier studies revealed a variety of practical definitions of overflow and a variety of managing devices and ways of coping with overflow. Acknowledging the value of earlier contributions to the study of overflow and drawing on those insights, in this chapter the focus is on a phenomenon not studied previously: overflow in biomedical science publications.

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
Handling urban overflows
Orvar Löfgren

How do people learn to move in a sea of strangers and adapt to new and alien circumstances? What kind of processes of overflow are encountered here? This chapter starts by discussing the refugee crisis in 2015, when large numbers of migrants traveled in search of help and asylum through Europe. This contemporary situation is compared with the emergence of mass travel, new migrations, and urban growth in the late nineteenth century. As new travel technologies and patterns of movement took shape in the industrializing world there was a need to learn how to deal with an overflow or overload of people – faces, movements, gestures, and impressions from strangers – and at a quickening pace. Questions of anonymity, intimacy, and distance came to the fore – a new psychology of handling crowds, but also of new systems for managing and controlling movement and identification. In the comparison of these two eras – a century apart – the focus is on learning new modes of movement and social navigation and unlearning old ones.

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
Controversies regarding epistemic wagers in climate-economy models
Jonathan Metzger

This chapter relates questions of overflow to epistemic politics – the social process of establishing what constitutes valid and robust knowledge within a specific community of practice. The community of practice in this case pertains to the scientific field of climate economics, a subfield of economics that deals with the potential effects of climate change understood in economic terms and the potential costs and benefits of various measures geared toward mitigating that change. It focuses on various policy measures undertaken to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases, and specifically the most common (albeit not most potent) of these: carbon dioxide.

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
How people and organizations create and manage excess

This book presents studies of ways in which people and organizations deal with the overflow of information, goods, or choices. The contributors explore two main themes. The first is the emergence of overflows: What is defined as overflow? Here the notion of framing as coined by Michel Callon has guided our approach. There is no overflow until some flow has been framed; framing means defining, and defining means imposing borders. Who does it, how, and why? The answer to these questions necessitates an historical and comparative approach. What one culture defines as necessity, another may see as excess, and these differences can exist even between different levels of the same social hierarchy. The second theme is the management of overflows, in the double meaning of the term: as controlling and as coping. Coping with overflow means learning to live with it; controlling overflow requires various skills and devices. The individual chapters show the management of overflow taking place in various social settings, periods, and political contexts: From the attempts of states to manage future consumption overflow in post-war Eastern European to the contemporary economies of sharing. Other contributions focus on overflow in healthcare administration, overflow problems in mass travel and migration, overflow in digital services, and the overflow that scholars face in dealing with an abundance of research information and publications. This edited volume belongs to the transdisciplinary social sciences, and therefore it should be of interest to sociologists, management scholars, economists, historians, anthropologists, and cultural studies scholars.

Karolina J. Dudek

Workplaces have recently faced a silent revolution. The number of desks no longer equals the number of persons working full time, and mobile laptops travel around the office with employees, as the time they spend at their desks is diminishing rapidly. Office planning and space management used to be much easier than it is now, and offices are changing rapidly: Old premises are being rearranged and new ones built according to new rules. The modern workplace is facing the challenge of an overflow of people, activities, machines, and other things. Organizations attempt to deal with this challenge by generating new coping strategies. Some of these strategies involve the application of management tools in order to make these flows visible and countable and, as a result, controllable.

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
Barbara Czarniawska

How does digital bureaucracy compare to paper bureaucracy in terms of its ‘instrumental rationality‘, efficiency, and effectiveness, as judged by both the users and the officials? Further, how well does the digital bureaucracy fulfill the function of a framing device? After all, one of the main reasons for digitalizing public sector services was the information overload caused by the increased complexity of administrative processes. Did it happen? Not really. This chapter is not an attempt to plant the seed of doubt into the belief that virtual red tape is potentially an effective way of managing document overflow. Yet that belief can cause cognitive overflow to both the bureaucrats and their customers, and the way out of it is to synchronize the “manual” management of overflow with the digital one.

in Overwhelmed by overflows?
Open Access (free)
Race, class and school choice

All in the mix: class, race and school choice considers how parents choose secondary schools for their children and makes an important intervention into debates on school choice and education. The book examines how parents talk about race, religion and class – in the process of choosing. It also explores how parents’ own racialised and classed positions, as well as their experience of education, can shape the way they approach choosing schools. Based on in-depth interviews with parents from different classed and racialised backgrounds in three areas in and around Manchester, the book shows how discussions about school choice are shaped by the places in which the choices are made. It argues that careful consideration of choosing schools opens up a moment to explore the ways in which people imagine themselves, their children and others in social, relational space.

Open Access (free)
Bridget Byrne and Carla De Tona

This chapter turns directly to the question of school choice – to examine how parents experienced the injunction to choose. It finds that, for many, the feeling that they had ‘no choice’ increased stress and anxiety around schooling. Nonetheless, the feeling of having ‘no choice’ often included a prior disregarding of some schools that their children could reasonably be expected to gain admission to. The chapter also explores what parents said about both private provision (including private Islamic schools) and state selective schools in the form of grammar schools. Approaches to school choice, including to private and selective education, also varied by area. The chapter considers the ways in which parents talked about processes of choice and focuses on one particular account of a mother living in Cheadle Hulme which shows the anxiety that trying to get the best outcome for your child sometimes produced. It shows that previous work on school choice, which tends to focus on the concerns of the professional (white) middle classes, may risk underestimating the ways in which worrying about schools and education is shared across class and ethnic differences.

in All in the mix
Open Access (free)
Bridget Byrne and Carla De Tona
in All in the mix
Open Access (free)
Negotiating with multiculture
Bridget Byrne and Carla De Tona

This chapter focuses explicitly on parents’ discussions of ethnic diversity. These are put in the context of policies around multiculturalism and integration in which schools have been a key policy site. Parents were more likely to consider diversity as something related to race or ethnicity rather than class. The chapter contends that we lack a differentiated vocabulary for discussing diversity and ‘mix’. Furthermore, there are distinct discourses around ethnic diversity circulating in the different areas, with parents in the area with the least ethnic diversity, in particular, expressing reservations and fears about increasing diversity. Parents of BME children have a particular stake in seeking out schools with an ethnic mix as they see those schools as potentially offering their children security against the racism and racialised othering which they might face in more white schools (and which the parents themselves may have experienced in their own schooling in Britain). Thus the book argues that it is critical that we consider questions of both class and race when understanding parents’ views about school choice, but that we should also be attentive to ways in which ideas and imaginations of place frame parents approaches to schooling and education.

in All in the mix