Process sub-politics: Placing empirical flesh on Whiteheadian thought

Ethics, Place and Environment 12 (2):187 – 203 (2009)
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This paper is more explorative than programmatic. It attempts to place empirical flesh on some of Alfred North Whitehead's speculative thoughts on concrete apprehensions. The challenge lies in the fact that Whitehead was vague on the subject. While Whitehead offers numerous thoughts on why we mistake the abstract for the concrete he wrote considerably less on how we can get ourselves to think more concretely. I therefore examine an empirical case and work 'backwards', showing its affinities with process thought. A largely invisible phenomenon within the social/political theory literature is the empirical subject of this paper: the agricultural field day (though the events examined are not of the conventional variety). The paper begins with an overview of Whitehead's critique of abstraction and the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. Attention then turns directly to the case study to empirically ground Whitehead's thoughts on doing more concrete abstractions



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