Why did you write Doing Politics?
Because it was there to be written about, and it wasn’t written already. When we talk about politics, when we read, see and hear about it on the news, when we engage in it ourselves, our concern is with people and their actions […]⟶ Read More
Who is it for?
I’d like to think it’s for anybody interested in politics, and who wants to think about it in a different way. That really means three kinds of people: students, those who research and teach politics, and those who themselves do politics, in whatever context […]⟶ Read More
Why did you write it like this?
I wanted to respect the integrity of the material. I got interested in the changing nature of the book, and the new possibilities for publishing in digital form. I had ideas about how I wanted to communicate with an audience, what sort of relationship I wanted to set up with them, and between them and the material […]⟶ Read More
Where did you get the idea?
From lots of different places, though it’s hard to distinguish between what’s inspiration and what’s retrospective justification. Once you start thinking and working in a certain way, you see examples of it everywhere. You’re always looking for some kind of affirmation of what you’re doing in what’s around you […]⟶ Read More
How did you find the material?
Just by gathering. I began looking at the academic literature, searching for ethnographic studies of politics, just to see if the subject I imagined really existed. I had the sense it was there, but unformed […]⟶ Read More
What have you left out?
I wanted to be comprehensive, all-inclusive, of course, to write something like a Handbook of Political Action. I wondered if the book might work as an encyclopaedia […]⟶ Read More
What about… power? violence? social media?
OK, OK. Power first. The political system rests on the ‘fabric’ of ‘coordinated expectations’, as Karl Deutsch explained. Though we spend so much time wrestling with it in theory and in practice, power is in fact ‘neither the centre or essence of politics’ […]⟶ Read More
Do you have a theory of politics?
I think I’m interested in action as much as politics. I’ve tried to represent and write about the various ‘doings and sayings’ that politics seems to entail, because I’m interested in what’s going on when politics is going on, which isn’t quite the same thing as being interested in politics in essence or in general. […]⟶ Read More