Narrative frame

In due course following pages will present patterns in outline, in a narrative listing.

The order of patterns begins with ones that engage the most coarse-grained, sedimented and intractable
    infrastructures and suprastructures;

moves to ones involving the
    movements, formations and activist projects

through which commons are made, mobilised and maintained; moves then to particular
    venues and places and furniture

in which activist lives are lived and durably furnished with artefacts; and arrives at the most fine-grained, ‘personal’ and labile, which engage refinements of
    insights and intentions, affiliations and orientations, valuings and commitments.

An initial collection of a dozen or so patterns is under development, to seed the language.

Patterns are defined on the basis that any pattern helps complete the coarser-grained patterns ‘above’ it, which are less directly tractable, more deeply sedimented in nature or more extended, and is itself completed by those ‘below’ it, which are more fully concrete, contextualised or open to direct, autonomous action. Within this relationship, in addition to having parents and children, a pattern generally will have siblings, which affiliate or resonate with it, imparting additional context, dynamics, texture and traction.

Affiliations and resonances constitute the patterns as an intrinsically plural (pluriversal), systemic ‘weave’ - a semi-lattice, a distributed network - rather than any kind of simple hierarchy or set of separable ‘solutions’ or stances. A ‘solution’ to an organising challenge - a formation, complex literacy or form of practice - will be formed by weaving or hybridising a number of patterns, in different landscapes and zones. The patterns are a ‘weave’ because the practice needs to be a weave. The foprop weave is a frame for holding theory of practice.

Tech note: A website of this kind is not the greatest place to present a complex systemic scheme like a pattern language. This web platform allows only two level of nesting in its drop-down menus. A wiki would be better, but as yet I’ve been unable to find a wiki hosting setup that doesn’t require the author to be a server-administrator geek. I hope that before too long there will be a specialised platform for collaboratively developing and publishing pattern languages: see tools for pattern language.


This is not a hierarchy of scale, as it might at first seem: neither physical scale nor the ‘reach’ - in either time or social space - of an individual activist or formation . It’s not a simple, single hierarchy at all - any more than the reality that the language engages with is a simple hierarchy. However,

does have an aspect of being a hierarchy of time - or rather, entrenchment in time, ‘sedimentedness’ or intractability . . . slower and deeper first, cycling faster and more immediately present later. Several of the patterns in the language are time-patterns, on different orders.

The narrative presentation does start with the ‘big’ one: infrastructures and suprastructures. Why? Because people generally in Western cultures will find it harder to accept a framing of something ‘political’ and ‘economic’, which starts ‘at the small end’ with what is taken to be psychology. Even after two generations of feminism, our culture is still unwilling to accept that ‘the personal’ is political in this sense. A major intention in foprop is to emphasise making and re-making #in-here, in the landscape of the heart-mind and the literacy of response in the moment: where preconscious potentially emerges into conscious intention, and the rubber really hits the road - in practice, history, evolution, revolution, kamma.