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[POL] Workshop at Goldsmiths, London, 31 January 2013 - Scope

10 December 2013
filed under: events


Hosted by CSISP (Goldsmiths)-Modes of Existence (Sciences Po)
Friday January 31st 2014

This one day event is dedicated to testing the modes of politics as identified in Bruno Latour’s Modes of Existence and related literature. The overarching aim of the workshop is to produce further qualifications of these modes of politics, by means of empirical investigation of selected materials.

The three Modes of Politics

From Bruno Latour’s work on Modes of Existences and related literature we extract three different modes of politics:

1. Standpoint politics

This is the politics of position taking, of having conviction, doctrine and manifesto. It’s main protagonists are actors, who take position in a pre-given space, ‘about’ topics.

2. Speaking Politically

This is the political modality of the Circle. Crucial here is “the tone and content of the movement (gesture, word, expression, movement, proposition), a vector that implies that some portion of the Circle will be followed -at least in dotted lines.”

3. No issue, no politics

This mode of politics is concerned with the deployment and equipment of things with political capacities. This may include the issuefication of things – the charging of objects with issues wherebye they come to figure as an index of a public problem.

Workshop format

The workshop will perform a number of specific tests in order to determine more precisely the status of these different modalities of politics, their features and capacities. The broader aim of the workshop is thus to qualify the modes of politics and to do so by empirical means.

In our tests, we will seek to generate descriptions of the materials according to the three modes. We will address the following questions:

  • How do we recognize the mode in practice?
  • What political consequences can be accomplished in these modes?
  • Are these modes associated with specific settings and/or events?

Below are some proposed materials for the Modes [POL] test. These include you tube video’s of political speeches, information graphics, and in situ performances. The list is provisional and suggestions are very welcome.

The overall aim is to produce detailed descriptions of the materials that advance us on the qualification of the modes of politics. To conclude the workshop, we will also have a wider discussion about the relations between the different modes of politics. Do they refer to different moments in the political cycle? Under what conditions do the modes become complimentary? and when do the differences and exclusivities between them become pertinent?

Some suggested Materials

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