Disorder and inefficiency

‘…, it would seem to be useful to be aware of two things. Firstly, that all systems of governance, or ordering, are subject to incoherence and will produce disorder; the more efficient and more total the order the more likely it will result in disruptive and destructive disorder. Secondly, it is useful to recognise this incoherence and the possible benefits th

at arise from allowing disorder and friction, especially if you are in favour of some kind of democracy. Perhaps a society, or State, can only be representative, democratic and inclusive if its members can accept a degree of inefficiency, ambigu

ity and lack of control?’ (Marshall 2010: 44).

I quite like this quote from the concluding lines of a journal article I found earlier this year. Disordered and inefficient is probably a pretty good way to describe my current notes, reading notes, thoughts and confirmation report draft. Yet a degree of inefficiency seems to be working well for me at the moment. Having to handle notes a few different times means that I am constantly rediscovering what I did or read in the days or mon

ths before.

As regards methodology, having an opportunity to be a part of general conversations and activities may not be the most efficient way to address my research objectives, but at least I am missing out on less. Being around is a great way to find out what is going on and I feel it is helping me not to ignore the incoherenc

e and ambiguity of everyday life. I am hoping to get a few glimpses into how disruptive attempts to impose total order can be.

On the other hand, a little bit of order is sounding pretty good to me at the moment.

I am day dreaming about having a filing cabinet to use and having clear ‘initial findings’ to add to my confirmation report.

I did tell the ethics committee that I would be taking a ‘systematic’ approach, so I guess I better not get too carried away with justifying my inefficient and disordered processes and use this confirmation report as an opportunity to find a system that works, while not being too violent in regards to the mess that is everyday life.



Marshall, J. (2010). “Social disorder as social good.” Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 2(1). (see http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/ojs/index.php/mcs/article/viewArticle/1337)


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