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Anatomy of a 21st-century project: A critical analysis

Kapitel i bok
Författare Mirek Dymitrow
Shelley Kotze
Karin Ingelhag
Publicerad i In: Dymitrow, M. and Ingelhag, K. (eds.), Anatomy of a 21st-century sustainability project: The untold stories
Sidor in production
ISBN 978-91-984166-3-3
Förlag Mistra Urban Futures
Förlagsort Gothenburg
Publiceringsår 2020
Publicerad vid Institutionen för ekonomi och samhälle, Kulturgeografi
Mistra Urban Futures
Sidor in production
Språk en
Ämnesord critical analysis, projects, projectification, 21st-century, autoethnography, sustainability
Ämneskategorier Sociologi, Teknik och social förändring, Arbetslivsstudier, Tvärvetenskapliga studier, Etnografi, Kulturgeografi

Sammanfattning

In this analytical chapter we focus on human factors to shed light on what a 21st-century project might look like from within. Adopting a non-essentialist perspective to project-making, we at the same time acknowledge that the notion of human nature is blurred, dynamic, changeable, heterogeneous, and internally riven. The human condition, hence, always dictates what ontological position a project adopts regarding its subject matter, execution and end results. In this respect, with this book we commit to an open-ended normativity: normative by reluctantly accepting the bias of the project formulas as we have defined their ability to shape the contemporary world, but open-ended with regard to a constant awareness that all knowledge is constructed, fluid and flawed, and that the insights here presented are only some of many possible interpretations. That said, we do not believe that plurality of opinion is intrinsically useful for creating ‘good projects’ – we believe it is an overused statement (cf. de Botton 2019) – but plurality of opinion is possibly the only way to unravel how a project operates and what keeps it afloat, including its silent triumphs and hidden pathologies. Since values and value systems can differ even within very small entities, to truly understand the inner workings of a project requires covering all its nooks and crannies. This methodological approach – autoethnography – is represented in the vast empirical section of this book – top to bottom and side to side, the results of which are discussed in the ensuing nine subsections. When things are whipped up into a sustainability frenzy with a flurry of divergent messages, it is easy to lose track of goal and purpose. For change to happen, we must dare to open a can of worms and find each other in the disenchantment of our broken world. The battle against unsustainability is a war of attrition: words against deeds – and both are enclosed in projects.

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