Learning Change

Learning Change Project: 8 Blogs, +7200 Readings

Rethinking Environmental Leadership – The Social Construction of Leaders and Leadership

Leadership is heralded as being critical to addressing the ‘‘crisis of governance’’ facing the Earth’s natural systems. While political, economic, and corporate discourses of leadership have been widely and critically interrogated, narratives of environmental leadership remain relatively neglected in the academic literature. The aims of this paper are twofold. First, to highlight the centrality and importance of environmental science’s construction and mobilization of leadership discourse. Second, to offer a critical analysis of environmental sciences’ deployment of leadership theory and constructs. The authors build on a review of leadership research in environmental science that reveals how leadership is conceptualized and analyzed in this field of study. It is argued that environmental leadership research reflects rather narrow framings of leadership. An analytical typology proposed by Keith Grint is employed to demonstrate how any singular framing of environmental leadership as person, position, process, result, or purpose is problematic and needs to be supplanted by a pluralistic view. The paper concludes by highlighting key areas for improvement in environmental leadership research, with emphasis on how a political ecology of environmental crisis narratives contributes to a more critical body of research on leadership in environmental science.

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Knitting meaning – Understanding a Cultural Practice of Indigenous Communities

The main objective of this study is to understand the origin, history, and meaning that lie behind the practice of knitting mochilas, which is a daily activity of women, both young and old in the Arhuaca community. This study has been designed as qualitative and narrative in nature and is based upon an analysis of three specific cases, whose participants are young indigenous women from the Arhuaca community of the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta (Colombia). The results showed how there are aspects related to personal identity, in both historical and contemporary ways that are linked to culture, origin of the mochila, its design and knitting as well as intrinsic meaning of knitting mochilas. Therefore, the approach to this study is to restore the importance of this daily activity in its development, establishment of identity and lifestyle of the participants – within the framework of Cultural Psychology – and its contribution to preservation of values, laws and significance belonging to indigenous cultures.

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History, Culture and Cognition – A dynamic model of Social Memory

The term social memory refers to the dynamic interplay between history, culture and cognition. At the level of the individual, three sources of knowledge: history, collective memory and individual experience combine to create a subjective view of historical reality, a common sense narrative that is often expressed with identity objectives and within an autobiographical context. This model of social memory, which is informed by social representations theory, makes a distinction between (i) collective memory, which is resistant to change, and (ii) representations of the past discussed and disseminated within a social milieu, which have the potential to evolve into new or altered perspectives, particularly when they are vulnerable to generational shift.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 3, 2015 at 12:32 am

Class, Precarity, and Anxiety under Neoliberal Global Capitalism

Circumstantial precarity correlates with anxiety, but the relationship is complex because people often quell anxiety by denying precarity. This article focuses in particular on how in this neoliberal era such psychological responses to precarity are class variegated and articulated with neoliberal ideology. Because this field of research is largely uncharted, this paper pays considerable attention to developing a conceptual framework appropriate to this task. This framework is based in the distinction between “ontological security” and “existential anxiety” that is correlated with an innovative account of the contemporary global class structure presented as a stratification of security/precarity, and linked with an adaption of Gramsci’s theory of ideology. From this basis, likely collective subjective responses are “imputed,” adapting Lukács’ theory, from different strategic vantage points within the contemporary neoliberal form of the global class structure. As part of the project to resist neoliberalism, final discussion focuses on how anxiety might be quelled without resort to denial.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 3, 2015 at 12:21 am

Transmitting Class across Generations

The voluminous literature on intergenerational transmission often engages with the transmission of poverty and poor educational attainment. This article reviews and questions the assumptions made within this literature. In particular, the paper seeks to engage with the central importance of the embodied experience of lived history and its transmission through generations. In understanding this, the article uses the work of psychoanalysts Davoine and Gaudilliere, Bracha Ettinger, and Felix Guattari, all of whom deal, in different ways, with affective transmission through bodies, in locations, and in history. In using this work to understand classes transmission, the paper suggests a number of possible routes to understanding from the past and from the embodied present of the current generation. In order to produce a complex account which does not pathologise the experience of the previous generation (usually the mother), this experience needs to be both retheorised and placed in history.

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Read also: The place of Class – Considerations for Psychology

Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 3, 2015 at 12:08 am

Posted in Social class

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Enactive Education – Dynamic Co-emergence, Complexity, Experience, and the Embodied mind

The potential of a broad enactive approach in education has yet to be realized. This thesis contributes to the development of a well-rounded enactive educational theory and practice. This thesis argues that a broad enactive perspective has the potential to challenge, reframe and reconfigure problems, issues and practices in education in ways that improve teaching, learning and research communities. It establishes that a broad enactive approach as a theory of embodied mind, a dynamic co-emergence theory, and a method of examining human experience helps to realize the meaning, scope, and potential of enactive education. It takes as its point of departure Dewey‘s broad enactive philosophy of mind, cognition, embodiment, experience, and dynamic co-emergence. It shows, through an examination of an actual public classroom encounter, that a broad enactive approach has the potential to reconfigure responsibility, ethics and justice in education. It demonstrates using a case study of the enactment of impostor feelings in higher education how a broad enactive approach to education as the potential to reconfigure teaching, learning and research practices.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Toward a Biology of Collectivism

The signs of mating competition are written into the physiology of the human male, but they are not written equally into the physiology of all racial groupings of human males. It seems that Asian males are different, different in that they are more fully dissimilar from the gorilla than are other races, showing less sexual dimorphism, muscularity, and less marked secondary sexual characteristics, and different in that they are more fully dissimilar from the chimpanzee than are other races, showing less sexual drive and activity as well as smaller testicles and lower sperm counts. It is presently argued that such anatomical differences are a testament to a more peaceably monogamous mating history. In turn, it is then argued that such physiological markers are directly associated with the collectivist ethos that has been historically, anthropologically, and sociologically observed among the Asian people. It is the purpose of the present article to review these intraspecific biological differences across racial groupings, as they relate to interspecific biological differences across primates species. After extrapolating from animal models, the present work thereafter argues that Asian biology minimizes mating competition, promoting a more peaceable monogamous mating style, which, in turn, provided a biological substrate out of which collectivism could grow.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 2, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Cognition and Collective Intelligence

Cognitive and psychological research provides useful theoretical perspectives for understanding what is happening inside the mind of an individual in tasks such as memory recall, judgment and decision making, and problem solving – including meta-cognitive tasks, when an individual is reflecting on their own or other people’s performance. Understanding these processes within individuals can help us understand under what conditions collective intelligence might form for a group and how we might optimize that group’s collective performance. Each of these components alone, or in concert, can be understood to form the basic building blocks of group collective intelligence.

In this chapter, we will review the cognitive and psychological research related to collective intelligence. We will begin by exploring how cognitive biases can affect collective behavior, both in individuals and in groups. Next, we will discuss the issue of expertise, and discuss how more knowledgeable individuals may behave differently, and how they can be identified. We will also review some recent research on consensus-based models and meta-cognitive models such as the Bayesian truth serum that identify knowledgeable individuals in the absence of any ground truth. We will then look at how information sharing between individuals affects the collective performance, and review a number of studies that manipulate how that information is shared. Finally, we will look at collective intelligence within a single mind.

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Autopoiesis and Knowledge in Self-Sustaining Organizational Systems

Knowledge and the communication of knowledge are critical for self-sustaining organizations comprised of people and the tools and machines that extend peoples’ physical and cognitive capacities. Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela proposed the concept of autopoiesis (“self” + “production”) as a definition of life in the 1970s. Nicklas Luhmann extended this concept to establish a theory of social systems, where intangible human social systems were formed by recursive networks of communications. We show here that Luhmann fundamentally misunderstood Maturana and Varela’s autopoiesis by thinking that the self-observation necessary for self-maintenance formed a paradoxically vicious circle. Luhmann tried to resolve this apparent paradox by placing the communication networks on an imaginary plane orthogonal to the networked people. However, Karl Popper’s evolutionary epistemology and the theory of hierarchically complex systems turns what Luhmann thought was a vicious circle into a virtuous spiral of organizational learning and knowledge. There is no closed circle that needs to be explained via Luhmann’s extraordinarily paradoxical linguistic contortions.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 1, 2015 at 2:16 pm

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