Author Meets Critics: Critic 2

Stream: Panel 10 - Political Theory: Critical Reflections on Romand Coles' Visionary Pragmatism: Radical and Ecological Democracy in Neoliberal Times, including response by Romand Coles 
Date: Monday, 26 September 2016
Time: 11.30 am – 1.00 pm


Emily Beausoleil will provide critical reflections and commentary on Romand Coles’ recent book, Visionary Pragmatism, in light of her work on the practical challenges of cultivating receptivity in political life. As neoliberal capitalism destroys democracy, commonwealth, and planetary ecology, the need for radically rethinking and generating transformative responses to these catastrophes is greater than ever. Given that, Romand Coles presents an invigorating new mode of scholarship and political practice he calls "visionary pragmatism." Coles explores the profound interrelationships among everyday micropractices of grassroots politics and pedagogy, institutional transformation, and political protest through polyfocal lenses of political and social theory, neuroscience research, complex systems theory, and narratives of his cutting-edge action research. Visionary Pragmatism offers a theory of revolutionary cooptation that, in part, selectively employs practices and strategies of the dominant order to radically alter the coordinates of power and possibility. Underscoring the potential, vitality, and power of emerging democratic practices to change the world, Visionary Pragmatism's simultaneous theoretical rigor and grounding in actual political and ecological practices provokes and inspires new ways of cocreating knowledge and action in dark times.


Emily Beausoleil (Presenter), Massey University
Emily Beausoleil is a Lecturer of Political Theory at Massey University, New Zealand, where she explores the conditions, challenges, and creative possibilities for democratic engagement in diverse societies. Connecting affect, critical democratic, postcolonial, neuroscience, and performance scholarship, Beausoleil’s work responds to compelling calls to find new models for coalition, community and post-home politics by asking how we realize these ideals in concrete terms. Her work has been published in Contemporary Political Theory, Constellations, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, and Ethics & Global Politics, as well as various books.