The Spaces Between: Technocracy, Topology and Policy — ASN Events

The Spaces Between: Technocracy, Topology and Policy (14577)

Russell Prince 1
  1. Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

The battle of ideas is increasingly fought on a field of spreadsheets, line graphs and pie charts. This is the technocratic world: in which everywhere it seems that policy forms off the back of numbers, if not exactly as a result of the evidence they produce. Over the last couple of centuries, the technocracy has grown and globalised and continues to make the world in new ways, not just because we act on the world differently, but because it changes some of the ways that power works. While the role of technical forms of knowledge in the production of state space is well established, by using the concept of topology we can consider how technical, quantitative forms of knowledge open up a space for policy grounded in that knowledge to move. This is a virtual space ‘between’ different places: a space of comparison, aspiration and leadership that manifests as very real spaces in conference halls and meeting rooms where (usually) elite actors gather to make policy borrowed from elsewhere. Technocratic forms of knowledge not only produce state space, but the liminal spaces ‘between’ states that make policy mobility possible.