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Politics, Sociology, and the 'Inevitability' of Failure


Jacobs, K and Malpas, J, Politics, Sociology, and the 'Inevitability' of Failure, Routledge International Handbook of Failure, Routledge, A Mica, M Pawlak, A Horolets, and P Kubicki (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 423-432. ISBN 9780429355950 (2023) [Research Book Chapter]

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DOI: doi:10.4324/9780429355950-36


The chapter begins by pointing out the contribution of sociological interpretations that focus on failure’s discursive and normative effects; for example, as an instrument to advance governmental action, a means to exert control or as an obstacle to be overcome. The main part of the chapter sets out an argument that failure is not something that should necessarily be conceived of in terms of overcoming. It is here the chapter draws attention to a strand of literature that includes Michel Foucault, Max Weber and Hans-Georg Gadamer to illustrate the inevitability of failure across all forms of social interaction such as politics, bureaucracy and science. The final part of the chapter extends a view of failure as "inevitable" that draws on the work of the playwright Beckett and asks what direction politics might take if failure were to be conceived of as a condition for action.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:politics, failure, policy implementation, Samuel Beckett
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Social theory
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Government and politics not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Jacobs, K (Professor Keith Jacobs)
UTAS Author:Malpas, J (Professor Jeff Malpas)
ID Code:154892
Year Published:2023
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2023-01-18
Last Modified:2023-01-18

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