The disciplinary effects of communicative planning in Soufriere, St Lucia: governmentality, hegemony and space-time-politics



Communicative planning initiatives are being increasingly implemented across both the North and South of the globe. Influenced by Habermas’ theory of communicative rationality, this form of planning concentrates upon consensus building between different signified interest groups. The paper explores how communicative planning in the eastern Caribbean country of St Lucia disciplines people's conduct from the perspectives of Foucault's concept of governmentality and Laclau and Mouffe's theorization of hegemony. Linking the latter to an analysis of Massey's non-bounded conceptualization of the local, it is argued that, as geographers, we may do better to concentrate less upon the deterministic effects of common styles of government and more upon the moments which bring their themes temporarily and spatially into being. In doing so, some initial steps are made toward proposing the concept of space-time-politics, drawing upon Wittgenstein's work on ‘aspect-seeing’. In concluding, I argue that we should not see terms such as ‘consensus’, ‘empowerment’ and ‘the local’ as pre-existing moral justifications for political action, but instead as the product of relations of space-time-politics.