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What is a decision?: A post-structuralist exploration of the trinity of decidedness, undecidedness and undecidability
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Informatics and Media.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8996-4636
2016 (English)In: Politics, Civil Society and Participation: Media and Communications in a transforming environment / [ed] Leif Kramp, Nico Carpentier, Andreas Hepp, Richard Kilborn, Risto Kunelius, Hannu Nieminen, Tobias Olsson, Simone Tosoni, Ilija Tomanic Trivundža and Pille Pruulmann-Vengerfeldt, Bremen: edition lumière, 2016Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Decidedness has been celebrated in many societal spheres as the unquestioned, fetishized and ultimate moment of the exercise of political agency, where political or business leaders wield their powers and authorities. Conversely, the failure to decide, undecidedness, is seen as the failure of political agency, of leadership, and of politics or business itself. This chapter offers a more nuanced perspective on decidedness and undecidedness, by exploring their interdependent relationship, grounded in a deconstructive strategy. The relationship between these binary opposites will be enriched and deepened by introducing a third notion, undecidability, which is a broader concept that describes the ontological impossibility of a discursive order to ultimately fixate reality. In the first parts of the chapter, the usages of decision and indecision, decidedness and undecidedness, are discussed in combination with an explanation of the notion of undecidability as it has been developed in post-structuralist theory (in particular, in Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse-theoretical framework). These reflections provide support for the definition of the decision as a temporary fixation, which does not escape from the context of undecidability. It is this context that produces undecidedness. Decidedness should not be discredited either, as –despite its limitations– it remains a requirement for the political to function and a significant driving force. The importance of decidedness, and the coping strategies developed to deal with its failures, is theorized in the last part of the chapter, by reverting to the psychoanalytical concept of the fantasy. The conclusion then invokes the idea that in order to understand the social and the political, we need the conceptual strength of the trinity of decidedness, undecidedness and undecidability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bremen: edition lumière, 2016.
, Researching and Teaching Communication Book Series, ISSN 1736-3918 ; 11
Keyword [en]
decision, indecision, decidedness, undecidedness, undecidability, post-structuralist theory, discourse theory, leadership
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-300157ISBN: 9783943245370OAI: diva2:950907
Available from: 2016-08-03 Created: 2016-08-03 Last updated: 2016-08-08Bibliographically approved

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