Collage, Martina Siebert, Hendrik Rohling
Every activity, even the most humble, involves an element of planning, a process of negotiating knowledge and action that aims to make things work: an objective is identified; possibilities and constraints are considered; materials, skills, tools, and techniques are allocated; thoughts and things are organized, managed, or adjusted. Choices are made. It may happen implicitly or be made explicit—in most planning processes, general patterns attain validity as much through experience and empirical method as through theorizing and abstraction.
Scrutinizing “histories of planning” unpacks knowledge production in action, thus emphasizing the entanglement and dynamics of knowledge forms in their historical “making.” How did individuals, communities, and states envision and fashion spheres for creativity and negotiation? And how did they then develop, experiment, and stabilize them to make things work?
In our Werkstattgespräche (workshop conversations), the concept of “planning” serves as a proxy for manifold notions and terms that historical actors have used to address and frame how to “make things work.” Whether offered by an individual, a community, or a state, planning historically has meant approaching issues as dynamic and procedural activities. Knowledge and skills were subject to purpose, and having “made things work” was the gauge of success.