Agonism, decision, power – The art of working unfinished


  • John Pløger University of Agder, Kristiansand



Agonism, decision, participation, Chantal Mouffe, Michel Foucault


The current debate on agonism has become fixed in an institutional approach: How can an agonistic design institutionally become a tool against forms of domination? An agonistic space needs decisions that do not silence dissensual voices with a finite decision. This paper suggests that this agonistic approach needs de-cisions or simply put, temporary decisions drawn from seeing a decision as a solution for now. A de-cision is not a no-decision, but a decision recognised as temporary. The paper proposes ‘the sketch’ as an appropriate mode for working de-cisionally and unfinished. By having a sketch and working de-cisionally, planners are able to invite agonistic positions to ongoing talks and to act progressively, adaptably, or rationally in the face of emerging circumstances and uncertainty. To work unfinished from a sketch transforms the planning process from being a matter of reaching a finite decision to a strife about how to understand the present and which temporary contours and directions to move on from. The paper as such thus deals with difficult praxis questions, for instance: How is it possible to allow dissent to inform planning praxis in praxis? How can quarrelling and working unfinished empower planning democracy?


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Issue publication date 2023-10-30 (version 2)
Published online first 2023-08-15 (version 1)




Research Article

How to Cite

Pløger J. Agonism, decision, power – The art of working unfinished. RuR [Internet]. 2023 Oct. 30 [cited 2024 Jul. 17];81(5):449-60. Available from: