Making Trouble with Vehicularity

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The notion that ‘vehicular ideas’ – that is, ideas which sustain socio-political argument in the absence of new normative vision – are artefacts of informational capitalism (McLennan 2004), suggests that critical interrogation of ideas deemed ‘vehicular’ need involve a ‘double movement’. That movement comprises the identification both of ‘radical variants’ of the vehicular idea amongst the networks of its appearances, and of radicalising deviations of vehicularity itself. In themselves, the constitutive features of vehicularity lack the pulsion to induce this double movement. As a means by which to identify the conditions of possibility for that double movement, I differentiate between three forms of vehicularity. I do so in relation to a particular vehicular idea – knowledge management – within the context of its application to the collaborative production of ecological knowledge between scientific and indigenous communities under the conditions of climate change. The three forms – vehicularity that induces systemacity (‘system inducing’); vehicularity that produces normative traction (‘system reinforcing’); and vehicularity that engages its own excess (‘system troubling’) – produce different analytic outcomes. The latter approach provides the greatest possibility for the simultaneous radicalisation of the given idea (knowledge management) and subversion of the logics of late capital under climate change. The exemplar of knowledge management of this kind is Sartre’s phenomenology of ‘matter as inverted praxis’.