Inquiry on the Sly: Playful Intervention as Philosophical Action

As an ongoing practice, work can never be fully accounted for or described. Furthermore, the notion of play is often situated in opposition to work in Western cultures – as though work and play cannot occur simultaneously or even within the same location. In this article, we engage in a bit of a quandary – how to make our playful actions visible while resisting the foreclosure that visibility often entails. As an attempt at exploring this question (among others), we invoke de Certeau’s conception of la perruque (“the wig”) as a playful mechanism for “working inquiry. ” We overlay Certeau’s work with a Deleuzian-inspired orientation toward the excessive capacity of becoming to articulate our central argument: Through playful excess, the work of inquiry intervenes in normative processes of knowing and being. Such a disruption makes possible an indeterminate space in which inquiry and social justice work (as inquiry) might be differently enacted. This is the sly and playful action necessary for reconceiving a methodology-of-the-past into methodologies-of-the-immanent-now. © The Author(s) 2017.

As an ongoing practice, work can never be fully accounted for or described. Furthermore, the notion of play is often situated in opposition to work in Western cultures – as though work and play cannot occur simultaneously or even within the same location. In this article, we engage in a bit of a quandary – how to make our playful actions visible while resisting the foreclosure that visibility often entails. As an attempt at exploring this question (among others), we invoke de Certeau’s conception of la perruque (“the wig”) as a playful mechanism for “working inquiry. ” We overlay Certeau’s work with a Deleuzian-inspired orientation toward the excessive capacity of becoming to articulate our central argument: Through playful excess, the work of inquiry intervenes in normative processes of knowing and being. Such a disruption makes possible an indeterminate space in which inquiry and social justice work (as inquiry) might be differently enacted. This is the sly and playful action necessary for reconceiving a methodology-of-the-past into methodologies-of-the-immanent-now. © The Author(s) 2017.

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