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”Problem solving” as a governing knowledge: Whose “truth”? Which reality?

Tid: 2018-10-03 13:30 -- 2018-10-03 15:00
Plats: Niagara, Nordenskiöldsgatan 1, Malmö
Målgrupp: Alla intresserade

As part of the SWEPSA conference, held at Malmö University on October 3–5, keynote speaker Carol Bacchi will hold her presentation titled ”Problem solving” as a governing knowledge: Whose “truth”? Which reality?

Portrait image of Carol BacchiCarol Bacchi is Professor Emerita of Politics in the Faculty of Arts, University of Adelaide, Australia. She researches and writes primarily in feminist political theory and policy theory, and is best known for the development of an analytic strategy for policy analysis, called "What's the Problem Represented to be?" (the WPR approach).

Read more about Professor Bacchi's research

”Problem solving” as a governing knowledge: Whose “truth”? Which reality?

Claims about “truth” and “the real” dominate the contemporary political landscape. Though debates around these issues are hardly new, a world of “fake news”, “alternative facts” and public marches to defend science gives a new urgency to how researchers engage with these questions.

A range of related topics invite consideration: the place of paradigms in political science theory; possible connections with important social theory developments (“ontological politics”, the “turn to practice”, “performativity”, the “new materialisms”); the place of “evidence” in research and the relation to knowledge claims; the nature of research “problems”; the “me too” phenomenon; novel governance frameworks (“governmentality”, “mundane governance”); and many others. 

These topics raise challenging questions for researchers, especially for those who wish to critique dominant regimes and pervasive ways of thinking. Just how does one mount a challenge to “truth”? Do you of necessity have to engage in making truth claims yourself? Thinking of “scientific reticence” in relation to “climate change”, is it considered to be dangerous to refuse to make truth claims? Does a position of nuance and ambivalence undermine any useful political purpose? Should political scientists be concerned by the political implications of theoretical perspectives? More broadly, to what extent are reflections of this sort possible, or limited, due to the position of researchers in relation to granting bodies and government-initiated research projects?

Under the broad rubric of “Whose ‘truth’? Which reality?” space is created for political science researchers to reflect on the questions they ask and the questions they can ask in the current political climate. 

In this paper Bacchi scrutinizes critically a pervasive knowledge shaping contemporary sociopolitical relations and spaces – “problem solving”. Through tracing its emergence and functioning as a knowledge practice, it becomes possible to dispute its “truth” status, opening up new ways of being and living.

Portrait photo courtesy of the University of Adelaide

Senast uppdaterad av Daniel Harju