Negotiating speech and organizational practices: field notes and reflections from two counter-G8 (2007) initiatives.

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2008 Anja Kanngieser/ Manuela Zechner / Metamute.org

Based on empirical research around two events that happened in response to the G8 meetings in Germany in summer 2007, this paper examines relations between the organizational practice and the discourses that set up and guided both these events. One of them was a meticulously coordinated blockade action ("Block G8") close to Heiligendamm, and the other a theory-inspired "summit" calling initiatives to unalign from the education agenda of the G8. While the "Block G8" was an action with a clearly determined goal (blocking several roads), the outcome of “summit” was left open. Both events endorsed practices of self-organization, aiming to function in a horizontal, transparent, open and inviting, as much as in a critical, manner.Despite the different objectives of the events, their aims appeared similar, and indeed some similar problems and organizational symptomatologies emerged in their course. By investigating and juxtaposing the conceptualisations and praxes of "Block G8" and "summit", we hope to address strategies for negotiating the conflicts that arose, so as to further the potential for translations of such rhetoric into practice and vice versa.