Learning Change

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Learning Change Project

Written by learningchange

15/06/2012 at 09:19

Posted in Change, Learning

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Working for the Few – Political capture and Economic Inequality

Economic inequality is rapidly increasing in the majority of countries. The wealth of the world is divided in two: almost half going to the richest one percent; the other half to the remaining 99 percent. The World Economic Forum has identified this as a major risk to human progress. Extreme economic inequality and political capture are too often interdependent. Left unchecked, political institutions become undermined and governments overwhelmingly serve the interests of economic elites to the detriment of ordinary people. Extreme inequality is not inevitable, and it can and must be reversed quickly. representation. When wealth captures government policymaking, the rules bend to favor the rich, often to the detriment of everyone else. The consequences include the erosion of democratic governance, the pulling apart of social cohesion, and the vanishing of equal opportunities for all. Unless bold political solutions are instituted to curb the influence of wealth on politics, governments will work for the interests of the rich, while economic and political inequalities continue to rise.

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Written by learningchange

18/04/2014 at 11:42

Gobernar para las Élites – Secuestro democrático y desigualdad económica

La desigualdad económica crece rápidamente en la mayoría de los países. La riqueza mundial está dividida en dos: casi la mitad está en manos del 1% más rico de la población, y la otra mitad se reparte entre el 99% restante. El Foro Económico Mundial considera que esta desigualdad supone un grave riesgo para el progreso de la humanidad. La desigualdad económica extrema y el secuestro de los procesos democráticos por parte de las élites son demasiado a menudo interdependientes. La falta de control en las instituciones políticas produce su debilitamiento, y los gobiernos sirven abrumadoramente a las élites económicas en detrimento de la ciudadanía de a pie. La desigualdad extrema no es inevitable, y puede y debe revertirse lo antes posible. Cuando la riqueza se apropia de la elaboración de las políticas gubernamentales secuestrándolas, las leyes tienden a favorecer a los ricos, incluso a costa de todos los demás. El resultado es la erosión de la gobernanza democrática, la destrucción de la cohesión social y la desaparición de la igualdad de oportunidades. A menos que se adopten soluciones políticas valientes que pongan freno a la influencia de la riqueza en la política, los gobiernos trabajarán en favor de los intereses de los ricos, y las desigualdades políticas y económicas seguirán aumentando.

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Written by learningchange

18/04/2014 at 11:22

The co-evolution of language and emotions

We argue that language evolution started like the evolution of reading and writing, through cultural evolutionary processes. Genuinely new behavioural patterns emerged from collective exploratory processes that individuals could learn because of their brain plasticity. Those cultural–linguistic innovative practices that were consistently socially and culturally selected drove a process of genetic accommodation of both general and language-specific aspects of cognition. We focus on the affective facet of this culture-driven cognitive evolution, and argue that the evolution of human emotions coevolved with that of language. We suggest that complex tool manufacture and alloparenting played an important role in the evolution of emotions, by leading to increased executive control and intersubjective sensitivity. This process, which can be interpreted as a special case of self-domestication, culminated in the construction of human-specific social emotions, which facilitated information sharing. Once in place, language enhanced the inhibitory control of emotions, enabled the development of novel emotions and emotional capacities, and led to a human mentality that departs in fundamental ways from that of other apes. We end by suggesting experimental approaches that can help in evaluating some of these proposals and hence lead to a better understanding of the evolutionary biology of language and emotions.

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Read also: Biosphere, Homosphere, and Robosphere – Living systems, Language, Conversations, Emotions, Love, Friendship

Written by learningchange

17/04/2014 at 16:13

The evolution of animal ‘cultures’ and social intelligence

Decades-long field research has flowered into integrative studies that, together with experimental evidence for the requisite social learning capacities, have indicated a reliance on multiple traditions (‘cultures’) in a small number of species. It is increasingly evident that there is great variation in manifestations of social learning, tradition and culture among species, offering much scope for evolutionary analysis. Social learning has been identified in a range of vertebrate and invertebrate species, yet sustained traditions appear rarer, and the multiple traditions we call cultures are rarer still. Here, we examine relationships between this variation and both social intelligence—sophisticated information processing adapted to the social domain—and encephalization. First, we consider whether culture offers one particular confirmation of the social (‘Machiavellian’) intelligence hypothesis that certain kinds of social life (here, culture) select for intelligence: ‘you need to be smart to sustainculture’. Phylogenetic comparisons, particularly focusing on our own study animals, the great apes, support this, but we also highlight some paradoxes in a broader taxonomic survey. Second, we use intraspecific variation to address the converse hypothesis that ‘culture makes you smart, concluding that recent evidence for both chimpanzees and orangutans support this proposition.

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Written by learningchange

17/04/2014 at 15:37

¿Vivimos en un mundo diseñado para excluir? ¿Qué hemos hecho culturalmente para que esto no sea así?

Juntos… es un libro sobre el desmoronamiento de la cooperación social, con algunas salidas idealistas. Dice Sennett que los Estados Unidos se ha convertido en una sociedad internamente tribal, donde la gente se opone a reunirse con quienes son diferentes. El flagelo no solo afecta a su país. La desigualdad, por ejemplo, se ha incrementado de manera espectacular en los últimos años en todo el mundo. Basta repasar el famoso coeficiente de Gini para confirmar que la distancia entre la elite y la masa se vuelve cada vez más sideral. Bajo el capitalismo, sobre todo bajo está última etapa dominada por la economía de servicios y la especulación financiera, las fuerzas de la cooperación se ven debilitadas como nunca. Y esto sucede por dos vías fundamentales. La desigualdad estructural y las nuevas formas del trabajo, que engloban por supuesto al creciente número de desempleados incluso en las principales economías del mundo. Esas fuerzas producen efectos psicológicos, personas que no pueden gestionar las complejas formas del compromiso social, y se retraen de los desafíos. Sennett sabe de primera mano que si esas desigualdades se sufren desde niño, afectan todavía más nuestras capacidades cooperativas.

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Written by learningchange

17/04/2014 at 13:11

Play Outside! Ways to Health, Happiness, Creativity, and to Environmental Sustainability

For both adults and kids, time spent outdoors increases all measures of well-being:  psychological and physical health, cognitive abilities, and creativity. It is also good for the planet. Here’s a brief review of the research and some suggestions for how to make it happen for your child and yourself. Spending more time outdoors, preferably in natural settings, may be the simplest, healthiest, and most economical remedy for the terrible increase in numbers of children diagnosed with social, emotional, and learning problems over the past two decades. It may also be the answer to many problems suffered by adults in our increasingly rushed, technology-focused lives. And on a global scale, there’s evidence that more people spending more time in natural spaces would contribute to solving the environmental challenges that are increasingly disrupting our lives.

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Written by learningchange

17/04/2014 at 12:47

Assédio: por que as explicações fáceis não satisfazem

Não responsabilize apenas indivíduos, nem aceite saídas superficiais, como vagões segregados. Que tal rever relações entre “homem”, “mulher” e sexo? No meio de tanto debate sobre o assédio que as mulheres sofrem diariamente em espaços públicos. Curiosamente, é a única questão que nos permitirá pensar em soluções eficazes para esse tipo de problema: de onde vem o assédio? Por que o assédio acontece?  Há toda uma cultura em torno do que homens e mulheres podem e devem fazer em nossa sociedade. Todos e todas nós somos socializados com essas expectativas. Quando apreendemos, desde o nascimento, com base nas experiências concretas e reais, o que é “homem”, “mulher”, e em qual dessas categorias nos enquadramos, carregamos também, de brinde, uma carga de expectativas específicas para cada uma dessas identidades. Nos construímos, enquanto sujeitos, sobre essas expectativas. Entre as centenas de expectativas destinadas à categoria “homem”, por exemplo, a sexualidade como algo “instintivo” e “animal”, “incontrolável” é uma delas. Entre as centenas de expectativas destinadas à categoria “mulher”, por outro lado, a sexualidade é colocada como algo que se deve evitar.

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Written by learningchange

17/04/2014 at 12:20

The New Way Of The World: On Neoliberal Society

Exploring the genesis of neoliberalism, and the political and economic circumstances of its deployment, Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval dispel numerous common misconceptions. Neoliberalism is neither a return to classical liberalism nor the restoration of “purecapitalism. To misinterpret neoliberalism is to fail to understand what is new about it:  far from viewing the market as a natural given that limits state action, neoliberalism seeks to construct the market and make the firm a model for governments. Only once this is grasped will its opponents be able to meet the unprecedented political and intellectual challenge it poses. What is new about neoliberalism? Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval contend that it is more than just a new economic paradigm — it is a system for transforming the human subject. Rather than a return to classic liberalism, or the restoration of a ‘pure’, unconstrained market, neoliberalism envisages the modern corporation as a model for government, conjuring a future in which society is nothing other than a web of market-based relations. Cutting through contemporary misunderstandings about its genesis and prevalence, Dardot and Laval distil neoliberalism to its core meaning and examine how it might be challenged on new political and intellectual terms.

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Written by learningchange

16/04/2014 at 13:15

La nouvelle école capitaliste

Ce qui ressemble aujourd’hui à un sabotage de l’école – suppressions de classes, réduction des effectifs enseignants et appauvrissement de la condition enseignante – ne suffit pas à caractériser la mutation historique de l’école. Celle-ci ne joue plus seulement une fonction dans le capitalisme, comme l’ont montré les analyses critiques des années 1970 : elle se plie de l’intérieur à la norme sociale du capitalisme. L’« employabilité »  est le principe et l’objectif de la normalisation de l’école, de son organisation et de sa pédagogie. L’école devient peu à peu un système hiérarchisé d’entreprises productrices de « capital humain » au service de l’« économie de la connaissance ».  Elle cherche moins à transmettre une culture et des savoirs qui valent pour eux-mêmes qu’elle ne tente de fabriquer des individus aptes à s’incorporer dans la machine économique. Les effets inégalitaires de la concurrence, la mutilation culturelle introduite par la logique des « compétences » ou la prolétarisation croissante du monde enseignant révèlent la perte d’autonomie de l’école par rapport au nouveau capitalisme et aux luttes des classes sociales autour de l’enjeu scolaire. Dans ce livre de combat et de théorie, les auteurs renouvellent la sociologie critique de l’éducation en inscrivant les mutations de l’institution scolaire et universitaire dans celles du capitalisme contemporain. Ils entendent ainsi donner à tous ceux qui se sentent concernés par cette problématique éminemment politique les outils d’analyse pour construire une alternative convaincante et résolue.

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Written by learningchange

16/04/2014 at 12:52

Commun – Essai sur la révolution au XXIe siècle

Partout dans le monde, des mouvements contestent l’appropriation par une petite oligarchie des ressources naturelles, des espaces et des services publics, des connaissances et des réseaux de communication. Ces luttes élèvent toutes une même exigence, reposent toutes sur un même principe : le commun. Pierre Dardot et Christian Laval montrent pourquoi ce principe s’impose aujourd’hui comme le terme central de l’alternative politique pour le XXIe siècle : il noue la lutte anticapitaliste et l’écologie politique par la revendication des « communs » contre les nouvelles formes d’appropriation privée et étatique ; il articule les luttes pratiques aux recherches sur le gouvernement collectif des ressources naturelles ou informationnelles ; il désigne des formes démocratiques nouvelles qui ambitionnent de prendre la relève de la représentation politique et du monopole des partis. Cette émergence du commun dans l’action appelle un travail de clarification dans la pensée. Le sens actuel du commun se distingue des nombreux usages passés de cette notion, qu’ils soient philosophiques, juridiques ou théologiques : bien suprême de la cité, universalité d’essence, propriété inhérente à certaines choses, quand ce n’est pas la fin poursuivie par la création divine. Mais il est un autre fil qui rattache le commun, non à l’essence des hommes ou à la nature des choses, mais à l’activité des hommes eux-mêmes : seule une pratique de mise en commun peut décider de ce qui est « commun », réserver certaines choses à l’usage commun, produire les règles capables d’obliger les hommes. En ce sens, le commun appelle à une nouvelle institution de la société par elle-même : une révolution.

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Ecoutez également: Penser le commun au XXIe siècle

Written by learningchange

16/04/2014 at 12:32

Posted in Commons

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