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Performing control

journal contribution
posted on 2023-11-02, 03:47 authored by Timothy NealeTimothy Neale
AbstractDuring an unprecedented crisis of bushfires, the staff of emergency management control centers in southeast Australia pause to perform rites with their political leaders. They reenact decisions that have already been made and generate divinations of fiery futures that are unlikely to occur. Their work, like that of others in large centralized technical infrastructures, is made possible by ritualized structures and practices that constitute a double bind. Emergency managers know their performances of control over open systems will inevitably fail to command the world's hazardous surprises. Yet they must maintain these performances, even though they create impossible expectations and forestall self‐critique or desired transformations. Attending to this situation, these sites, and their inhabitants reveals persistent attachments to systems of control in our late‐industrial age and changing climate.

History

Journal

AMERICAN ETHNOLOGIST

Location

Washington, D.C.

ISSN

0094-0496

eISSN

1548-1425

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Publisher

WILEY