Knotting the Net: From ‘Design by Deception’ to an Object Oriented Politics

Silvana Revellino, Jan Mouritsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Research on megaprojects points out the crucial role of politics in managing major infrastructure projects. Politics is often here presented as misrepresentation by the project maker who manipulates everyone else. This is where power is concentrated in the hands of the few. However, this approach may overlook another lateral version of politics by which power is plural and ubiquitous, and which, through Latour's notion of Dingpolitics, combines the questions ‘who has to be taken into account’ and ‘what has to be taken into account’. This brings the analysis further than stakeholder theory with its focus on abstract structural interests, towards articulated concerns about the objects that matter to people.
Through analysis of the Italian system for stakeholder management—the so-called Conferenza di Servizi, which was organised according to stakeholder theory with an emphasis on representation of interested parties—this paper identifies the limitations of representation to predict the fate of a megaproject. Settlements based on interests are not able to capture all relevant actors and all relevant types of knowledge. In contrast to stakeholder theory, Dingpolitics explains project management as a process of finding out the multiple, evolving and sometimes indefinite contours of claims and concerns from many human and non-human actors by analysing both what actors are worried about and how their different concerns, ambitions and claims are composed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)296-306
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Megaproject
  • Dingpolitics
  • Stakeholder management
  • Project escalation

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