Centre for Change Governance

Roundtable Event - Governance, Participation and Communication in Fast Time

Tue 4 April 2017Dr Lain Dare, Assoc Prof Paul Fawcett, Dr Jean-Paul Gagnon, Dr Max Halupka, Dr Mike Jensen, Dr Brendan McCaffrie, Prof Diane Stone and Prof Hendrik Wagenaar / 1:00pm-5:30pmSeminar Room 1, Ann Harding Conference Centre, University of Canberra

The argument that we live in uncontrollably ‘fast times’ isn’t new. Past concerns about the effect of steam trains, the introduction of the telegraph and the growth of cities have given way to a seeming paradox in which various technologies promise to save us time yet we arguably feel the pressure of time more than ever before. Many contemporary social and political theorists share the view that speed is the defining characteristic of contemporary life, that this is being driven by the digital revolution, and that it is a trend that we need to be wary about. The overall thesis is that the pace of social, economic and technological change is accelerating and that this is creating real and perceived pressures to be more responsive in increasingly shorter time frames. Technological change and political acceleration may be creating self-reinforcing patterns whereby technological change gives rise to social changes which further undermine the stability of political norms, expectations, identities, and institutionalized expertise. Social and political structures have given way to a society where the foundations which have previously organized political life are increasing contested.

The acceleration of political time has both concerns and opportunities for democratic politics and governance. Most scholars both now and in the past have been pessimists viewing any move towards acceleration as politically, socially and culturally destructive. Some point to the desynchronisation that now exists between democracy – which arguably demands time to work through extensive deliberation and mediation of diverse interests – and the acceleration of the surrounding systems, which decreases the time given to politics to decide an issue. Others have argued that fast time is leading to the erosion of good policymaking, a decline in institutional memory and a strengthening of executive power. The growth of counter-movements, such as the Slow Food movement or the Slow Professors movement, speak to similar concerns. At the same time, pleas to slow political time often smuggle a conservative agenda, normatively reifying existing political and social arrangements or, alternatively, slowing down political time may fail to keep pace with rapidly changing domains of life.

This Roundtable addresses these and related questions. It brings together a series of short interventions aimed at provoking a debate on the extent to which social acceleration and fast time is impacting on various different dimensions of governance, participation and communication, and what should be done about it. It will address questions such as: Is time speeding up? How should we conceptualise acceleration and fast time? How do you govern in fast time? What are the consequences of fast time on democracy? Should we recoil from speed, or embrace it?

Each speaker will present a short intervention aimed at provoking a debate. The floor will then be opened up for a broader discussion about the issues raised.

Click here to view flyer

                                                           Confirmed Speakers

Dr Lain Dare

Riding the Rocket without Getting Burnt: The Challenges of Fast Policy in Practice
Assoc Prof Paul Fawcett Fast and Slow Policy
Dr Jean-Paul Gagnon Fast Democracy

Dr Max Halupka

Participatory Methadone: Clicktivism and the Implications of Fast Activism
Dr Mike Jensen Democratic Deliberation: Reflection as a Communicative – not Cognitive – Process

Dr Brendan McCaffrie

Governing Against the Clock: The Blistering Speed of Donald Trump's first 74 Days
Prof Diane Stone Hyper-globalisation

Prof Hendrik Wagenaar

Time as Emergent Time: The Eternally Unfolding Present

The roundtable will be followed by a dinner (pay your own way) at ‘Olive at Hawker’ (78 Hawker Place, 2614 Hawker) from 6:00pm onwards.

For planning purposes, please confirm your attendance by sending a RSVP to Iman.El-Sakka | at | canberra.edu.au by COB Monday 27 March 2017.

Please also confirm whether you will be joining us for dinner at the same time.

All welcome.



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