A1 Journal article (refereed)
Power relations in the production of historical context in disaster inquiry reporting (2021)

Furey, M. A., Corrigan, L. T., & Helms Mills, J. (2021). Power relations in the production of historical context in disaster inquiry reporting. Journal of Management History, 27(2), 205-224. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMH-05-2020-0033

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Furey, Mary A.; Corrigan, Lawrence T.; Helms Mills, Jean

Journal or series: Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

eISSN: 1758-7751

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 27

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 205-224

Publisher: Emerald

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/JMH-05-2020-0033

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:


Purpose: This study aims to examine the textual performance of the Ocean Ranger Disaster inquiry, thus responding to recent calls to “practice context” in historical writing. This study goes beyond the epistemological assumptions about the grounds for knowing about the past as the authors explore how history is produced in the context of power relations. Design/methodology/approach: This paper imagines history-making as a storytelling performance. The authors combine critical historiography and critical sensemaking because these qualitative perspectives help us to understand the composition of the Ocean Ranger Royal Commission Report. Findings: This case study makes a contribution within the genre of disaster inquiry reporting. The study explains how a formal historical record (the public inquiry report) may be created and how the report is related to aspects of power embedded in a writer’s sense of reality. Social implications: The Ocean Ranger Disaster continues to be of tremendous importance to the people of Newfoundland, Canada. There have been numerous studies of the disaster, but these have been overwhelmingly focused on technical matters. To authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to consider the inquiry from an historical context perspective. Originality/value: The study site enables reflection on a question not often asked in the management history literature: How can we critically understand the composition of an official disaster inquiry report in the context of its power relations?

Keywords: historiography; power structures; narrativity; context; critical theory; large-scale disasters; accident investigation; economic history

Free keywords: context; critical organizational history; critical sensemaking; evidence claims; historical narrative; power relations

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-19-08 at 19:33