Social Science and Public Policy

Richard Freeman

'Doing Politics'

How does politics happen? When we do politics, what are we doing? In this lecture, I want to show how we might understand politics as action, as a mode of doing. Drawing on the sociology of interaction, I develop the concept of work and its associated ideas of trajectory and transformation as they might apply to politics. I explore the political worlds of protest and direct action, of organization and administration and of representation in turn. I describe and discuss the core activities of meeting, talking and writing, as well as the tools and technologies with which political work gets done and the spaces in which it happens. I conclude by noting some of the implications and complications of thinking about politics in this way.
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