“You Don’t Have to be Cool to Rule my World”: How Vulnerable Practices can Help us Understanding Organization for Social Change in Participative Art Projects

Alice Neusiedler

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Prince teaches us, that we don’t have to be rich or cool to rule their world. They remind us of alternative modes of evaluation at play when we encounter the other. From a practice theoretical perspective this is a crucial insight when we aim at understanding power dynamics and vulnerabilities at play in enacting practices. In debates of visibility and invisibility (Hirschmann, 1970; Schaffer, 2015; Tyler & Prince teaches us, that we don’t have to be rich or cool to rule their world. They remind us of alternative modes of evaluation at play when we encounter the other. From a practice theoretical perspective this is a crucial insight when we aim at understanding power dynamics and vulnerabilities at play in enacting practices. In debates of visibility and invisibility (Hirschmann, 1970; Schaffer, 2015; Tyler & Cohen, 2010), scholars have investigated which practices are seen, and under which conditions, who can act, who has access to practices. Scholars have found different answers to this problem. For instance, in her canonical essay “Can the subaltern speak?”, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (1988) comes to the provocative conclusion that they cannot. She states that marginalized positions don’t have the ability to speak (or act) in a sphere, where conditions to speak are defined by the dominant, and marginalized positions tend to remain the silenced other.

The dilemma of how to understand differences of practices as socio-spatial arrangements beyond a mere question of competences, is an increasing concern in practice theoretical studies. While practice theory has long emphasized manifest, routinized, and directly observable practices, such as cooking, hiking, heating, eating, accounting etc., with more or less political interests, recently there seems to be an increasing concern with different qualities of practices, such as social change and (un)learning of practices (Gherardi & Nicolini, 2002; Shove, Pantzar, & Wattson, 2012), power dynamics (Watson, 2016), or non-human actors (Everts, 2015). Although from a different starting position, these studies share with Prince and Spivak a general interest in (alternative) modes of representation and a post-individualist perspective to social dynamics.

I will contribute to these debates by drawing on the concept of vulnerability (Butler, 2022; Butler, Gambetti, & Sabsay, 2016; Diprose, 2002; Mackenzie, 2014). Through vulnerability, understood as the embodied openness toward the other, can help us to investigate two dimensions of the other practice: (a) practices enacted in marginalized positions (of actors, spaces, materiality etc.), that is practices of vulnerability; and (b) vulnerable practices, that is practices which have feebler/weaker (temporal, spatial) standing. A vulnerability-sensitive perspective to practices, I will argue, can help us to further investigate other, “silent” practices, such as secret practices, attempts of giving voice to others and silencing practices (Simpson, R. and Lewis, 2005), listening, resistance and non-action.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2023
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event39th EGOS Colloquium 2023: Organizing for the Good Life: Between Legacy and Imagination - University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
Duration: 6 Jul 20238 Jul 2023
Conference number: 39
https://www.egos.org/2023_Cagliari/General-Theme

Conference

Conference39th EGOS Colloquium 2023
Number39
LocationUniversity of Cagliari
Country/TerritoryItaly
CityCagliari
Period06/07/202308/07/2023
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