designing political work

Richard Freeman

doing politics is a project, a 'pitching forward' in the most literal sense.  It's always been about a group of people finding space to talk and, through talking, working out what to do next.  It began in discussion among graduate students, who all worked on politics and policy but with widely varied disciplinary, intellectual and practical inspirations, and who all seemed interested in the materials and practices of government.  We talked about what we were doing in order to make sense of it, give shape to it, and began to work on some form of materialisation, uncertain as to whether that should be a workshop, a book, a course or something else.

The idea of a project shouldn't be taken to imply any specific strategy.  We have no grant number, deliverable or deadline.  We have simply been doing what it seemed reasonable and possible to do next: we have gone on 'doing thinking' as a form of doing politics, and just like our actors do: iteratively and collectively, normally and experimentally, enthusiastically hesitant and provisionally determined.

This short piece, designing 'political work', was written early in 2012, in order to say what I was thinking then, to give us something to talk about and to draw others into talking, too.  It refers to itself, a couple of paragraphs in, as 'a first post to a blog that doesn't yet exist'.  Now that blog exists, it seemed right to post it first.  'Political work' refers to a course which also now exists, and there's more about that and much else on the posts which follow.