Shane Markowitz: Playing Politics: Dramaturgical Action in International Politics
In this presentation, I will first introduce the project’s aim to elucidate the most prevalent mechanisms through which actors are coping with the increasingly ambiguous and changing status of contemporary international order. Accordingly, I will delineate the concepts of ambiguity and change and bring to light their relevance in characterizing contemporary international politics. I will then argue that contemporary international order is not likely to be conducive to norm-guided (logic of appropriateness) or unconscious and automatic background knowledge-driven (logic of practicality) modes of social action. Finding support from insights in philosophy, psychology, and sociology, I will argue that it is more likely that arguing and contestation-driven complexes will be the default mechanisms that are triggered. Noting the shortcomings of a communicative action perspective (e.g. Thomas Risse’s logic of arguing) though, I will turn instead to Erving Goffman’s analysis of social situations, sketching out a dramaturgical mode of action that better accounts for action by bringing to the forefront the everyday strategic performances taking place in different settings between different actors and audiences. In unpacking this mode of social action, a perspective can be provided that sheds light on the normally overlooked micro-order politics taking place in many mundane places. Predominant under particular circumstances, dramaturgical action complements other modes of social action and may be useful for bridging the theoretical and empirical divide between structure and agency.
Anatoly Reshetnikov: A Medical History of Managed Democracy
It has become common place to assert that, in the contemporary world, politics is transforming into technocratic management characterized by technologized governance and skillful manipulation of publicopinion. There are, however, conflicting theoretical accounts on whether an association based on the relationship between manager and subordinate, as opposed to ruler and subject, can remain stable in the context of a state; and whether such management is a perversion, a necessary component, or a novel type of governance destined to replace civil politics completely. Looking at the case of a managerial type of political association in XXI century Russia, I would like to trace its evolution, which resulted in the crisis of ‘managed democracy’ in 2011-2012, to discover the nature, the conditions, and the inherent limitations of management (as opposed to politics proper). For doing this, Iuse Oakeshott’s distinction between civil and managerial faces of politics, as well as various theoretical accounts on the nature of political identity in contemporary Russia.
Chair: Alexander Astrov