Congregating Publics: GDP and its Others

Public lecture by Visiting Professor John Law

November 3 at 3-4.30 pm at the IT University of Copenhagen, Auditorium 2

In this talk visiting Professor John Law urges us to think about frames and framing. How it is that realities get enacted within framings? How are particular publics attracted to specific framings? How might differences be introduced that highlight the implicit character of framings? Can they be rendered articulable, and therefore politically changeable? Professor Law uses GDP as a case of a framing that attracts a large public and discusses how GDP is a statistic that in contemporary circumstances fosters an implicit narrative about the UK’s economy: the idea that ‘we are all in this together’. One consequence of this is that GDP marginalises other statistics, stories and possible publics. The paper argues that there are alternative statistics, narratives and putative publics – for instance to do with economic and regional inequalities – which tell a very different story. The suggestion explored at the end of the paper is that it is important to work with locally or regionally disadvantaged publics to create and implement alternative policies and to show the possibilities by acknowledging the performativity of all framings (shaping and shaped).

Discussants: PhD candidate Anne Katrine Vadgaard, ITU; Assistant Professor Morten Krogh Petersen, Aalborg University Copenhagen; Associate Professor Brit Ross Winthereik, ITU.