Anticipatory knowledge and spatial governance of vitality

Toni Ahlqvist (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland / University of Turku, Finland)

The neo-liberal spatial governance is increasingly built on anticipatory knowledge. Anticipatory knowledge is based on practices of strategic expectation that cross-cut different spatial scales. These practices position ‘local realities’ against invariably emerging ‘global potentials’, and construct a constantly renewing ‘landscape of unfulfilled prospects’. The spatial governance also presumes novel subjective capacities. The subjects are increasingly expected to be strategically oriented and risk-seeking; not merely Foucauldian ‘enterprise selves’ but sorts of ‘super-entrepreneurial’ experimental beings who constantly dance to the pulse of emerging (economic) opportunities. However, the anticipatory knowledge poses an acute dilemma, for example, for the governance of state space: the state governance should simultaneously emphasise enclosure of strategic foci and opening in front of global potentials. Thus, the dilemma results in continuous governance experiments. In the paper I discuss one such experiment in the context of Nordic state, namely the governance of state space through the notion of ‘vitality’ in Finland. I argue that the state vitality is a practice that links the state, the territory, the people and the citizen in a new way. In the context of state, vitality represents a search for maximum potential for economic variation in an economy that is perceived systemic and complex, indeed ‘the life itself’. In the paper, I make a brief genealogy of the key ideas of related to state vitality in Finland.

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