Building: VMP 9 Floor: 3 Room: A315
In this panel we explore the influence that material representation—in pictures, plans, maps, stories, diagrams—has on the ways in which groups are able to engage with one another during the contingent episodes in which conflicts, problems, and futures are becoming public. In these episodes, citizens, experts, public officials, and other stakeholders come into interaction via processes of representation over a troubled past, a current conflict, or a future that they share but may not see in common. In pursuing the role of representation in these episodes, we follow Hannah Pitkin's (1967) argument that to understand representation we should examine the different ways in which the word gets used. Much attention has been given to the ways in which individuals and groups can be spoken and acted for and both the tensions this creates and the innovative responses these tensions have generated have been explored in practical and theoretical detail (cf. Urbanti and Warren, 2008; Nagel and Smith, 2013; Fung, 2015; Nabatchi and Leighninger, 2015). We focus here on an alternative use of representation that is prominent in practice, but has received less attention in analysis—the way in which memories, stories, problems, analyses, and ideas about the future get material representation in the interactions among stakeholders. Our goal is to explore the ways in which relevant physical and economic features, memories, aspirations, and options for the future are rendered in tangible forms and the influence this has on the ability of groups to engage one and other and the problems and issues that link them to each other (Latour, 2005, 1999; Star and Griesemer, 1989; Winner, 1980; Innes, 1951). We try to understand how these representations affect the balance between the development of relationality, exchange, and deliberation and the creation of forms of exclusion (Pitkin, 2013).
The papers examine these tensions and dynamics in grounded practices of futuring, planning, policy implementation, contestation, and conflict resolution. In these practices memories, perceptions, technical analyses, and visions of the future get represented in pictures, pamphlets, memorials, plans, maps, stories, diagrams, installations and visualizations. The papers analyze the contingencies that develop in this process, the way participants address them, and the ways in the forms of material representation enable and limit the practical reflection, disputing, visioning, and negotiation that we associate with a democratic public capable of deliberation and action.