Stuckedness : on the organizational art of forbearance

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2014
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Stuckedness can be described as the taken-for-granted advocacy of the continuance with a practice even when such a performance is counter-productive, not fruitful, or non-generative. Indeed, most people will be familiar with experiences of stuckedness as such practices are to be found in acts such as the staunch dismissal of the issue of climate change despite evidence to the contrary, the repeated choice to stay in toxic relationships, the careless pursuit of profit by corporations, the choice to persist with a habit that is likely to result in degenerative disease, etc. It is also likely that most people will at some point become acquainted with feelings of chagrin towards such practices. Yet, the characterization of practices of tacit forbearance as stuckedness remains largely unproblematized and this thesis seeks to understand how and why a social practice reveals itself as stuckedness. Drawing on the work of Foucault, and then using genealogical and ethnographic methods, namely the techniques of action nets, a reporting style, and problematized confessional tales, I excavate how and why certain elements come together to be problematized by my respondents in those terms which had become for me an index of stuckedness. This research draws on data from the specific spatio-temporal field of a costly government-funded innovation trial within the energy sector, operating within a continuously complex environment. Focusing on expressions of taken-for-granted advocacy of recursive self-control or unchanging replication, I make connections between different observable elements (power/knowledge relations, historical and cultural conditions, human and non-human agencies, and the practices under scrutiny) to detail and problematize the justification and utility on which the endurance of practices of stuckedness depends.
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