Workshop Confronting Manageability Paradigm/Control and Manageability

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Session on Control and Manageability

Notes/Comments by Ingmar

How is management conceptualised? Scientific representations, like maps, are supposedly the neutral basis of management - they are the construed medium through which is being managed. However they are based on presuppositions; they are socially constructed. Thus, by managing based on maps we do not manage that what they are supposed to represent, but mere concepts (is it? If yes, then they are not medium but the object of management at the same time.). In how far exercises of management/control actually steer complex systems like nature is an empirical question. This can be connected to other texts which serve to legitimise politics: religious texts - these can be read in a variety of ways as well and allow respectively a variety of "managements" of nature.

We discuss the role and implications of referring to nature.

  • Using the concept "nature" we give legitimacy to statements. Within different or competing political constructions the concept is used to serve the construction.
  • Alf mentions a double discourse of nature: a) we can control nature and b) if something goes wrong "we cannot control nature".
  • Lauro points to the difference of conceptualising managers as above nature or within nature. This resembles Tim Ingold's "Globes and Spheres".
  • By talking about "nature" we "naturalise" nature.

How do we conceptualise the "things to be managed"?

  • The things which are to be controlled are usually seen as already influenced by the social, i.e. by greed. Anke questions whether such constructions are necessary true. I am thinking of Peter Kropotkin to study how members of society help each other out, rather than only compete.
  • Management/Control is based on knowing the controlled/managed. Franz and Ingmar differentiate knowledges. One can "know" about a dam as something where adding up knowledge helps. A different form of knowing about it refers to the river which is connected to knowing in connecting and linking.
  • If we want change it becomes relevant to think of how we think of change: which concepts do we use? Leeny suggests to use new concepts which help bring about revolution, rather than reproducing the "old". Concepts construct the world (to some degree).

And, we discuss, who is involved and how? We have a discussion of actors involved: is it "we" who pollute, damage, cause problems and can solve them? Gudrun points to spatial-temporal differentiation of influence and effects. The "we" needs to be differentiated. Helpful categories are matter of empirical research. They could be class, caste, race, religion, gender, sex, nationality...