This is a very tentative presentation I made to Vinay Gupta's Truth and Beauty seminar at HubWestminster in London, on a concept I've been toying around with in my mind for a few months now... What is a "constitute" - as opposed to an institute? Or a constitution?
Personally, it's an answer to my anxiety about being drowned in rich and meaningful connections in the social-media age, and not being able to turn even a small percentage of them into resources for action or enterprise (of whatever kind - civic, intellectual, commercial). Do we need to forge a "craft of info-citizenship" or "netizenship", some guild-like or practice-like behaviours or conventions, that can capture the value of the relentless connecting, conversing and curating we do with our networked devices? Similar to the hacker ethic, or agile programming, or the Transition Towns protocols - but at the level of a great conversation in a cafe that we don't just want to let sink into the background of our busy lives? "Ok, this has gone well...let's make this a constitute...." So what behaviours/duties/commitments would that imply?
The word "constitute" points to a need to name a new, network-society subtlety in the relationship between idea and action (of course, there are older and other words like rubric, model, method, praxis, meme... I just happened to notice that constitute wasn't a noun!). And theoretically, it's another one of my journeys into the Italian Marxist tradition, looking at culture and communication as real forces for systemic change in society (but particularly coming from the work of Negri/Hardt, Virno, Marazzi, Bifo). And behind that - always behind that - my 30 year sea-journey with the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, in which I occasionally, nowadays, glimpse the shore...
All comments welcome (indeed if you do comment/repost, it becomes a constitute!)