Learning Change

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Posts Tagged ‘participation

Constructing Resourceful or Mutually Enabling Communities

The whole idea of being a “participant,” of being an involved actor as distinct from being an “external observer” standing over against or apart from what one is learning about or researching into, is crucial in everything that follows below. It leads us to a focus on actual  practices and activities in an everyday context, rather than on theories and talk in classrooms, seminar rooms, and conference halls. As academics, the world of practice, however, is not very familiar to us. We must re-teach ourselves to think in relational rather than atomistic-corpuscular (Newtonian) terms.  A whole new way of being in the world is involved. Instead of taking the thoughts or theories of  individuals as an original source of new activities in our lives, it involves a focus on the primacy of our living, spontaneously responsive reactions to the others and othernesses around us. Such a change in stance – from an uninvolved, outsider’s view of a scene to an insider’s sense of their position, their relational-involvement, within a situation – changes how we think and talk about many notions of importance to us in our discussions of the meaning of learning. For instance: thinking becomes inner dialogue (rather than calculation); understanding becomes a relationally- responsive bodily activity (rather than a representational-referential one in our minds); knowledge  becomes a matter of ‘knowing one’s way about’, as in knowing what to do next (rather than the  accurate picturing of a state of affairs); while communication becomes more a matter of pointing  out aspects of one’s surroundings (rather than the  giving of decontextualized information).


The Social Psychology of Citizenship: Studies and Future Research

In this article we review the argument outlined in the opening article in this special thematic section: that the current social psychology of citizenship can be understood as the development of longstanding conceptualisations of the concept within the discipline. These conceptualisations have contributed to the current social psychological study of the constructive, active and collective (but often exclusive) understandings of citizenship in people’s everyday lives, as evidenced by contributions to this thematic section. We consider how this emerging body of work might fit with current citizenship studies and in particular how it may contribute to the current trend towards conceiving citizenship as an active practice embedded in everyday social life. Specifically, we highlight three areas of future research that we think are particularly promising: citizenship and recognition; displays and enactments of citizenship in public space; citizenship and lived coexistence. Although this is far from an exhaustive list of possibilities, we propose that research in these areas could enable the way for social psychology to articulate a distinct, recognisable and valuable contribution to citizenship studies.


Read also: The Social Psychology of Citizenship, Participation and Social Exclusion

The Social Psychology of Citizenship, Participation and Social Exclusion

From the accumulated research on citizenship in social psychology outlined above, we know that articulating a voice within a broader community requires some form of ontological claim: a sense of who we are; our entitlement to speak; and why we should be heard. This is very much the case for the fledgling social psychology of citizenship attempting to make a contribution within the broader arena of citizenship studies. For this to occur we require a clearer sense of where we come from so as to craft a message that is coherent and recognisable without being reductive or misleading.

In this article we have attempted to undertake some of this work. We first provided some background to the current approaches to citizenship, participation and exclusion within social psychology by reviewing previous and current approaches to these topics. This is not intended as a comprehensive review but to give a stronger sense of some of the origins of the study of citizenship within the discipline and to provide some insight into how these have shaped the way we currently understand and study the concept. We acknowledge that this specific focus provides something of a ‘chiaroscuro’ – selectively illuminating some aspects of the psychology of citizenship while obscuring others – but we argue that this serves to identify specific conceptual antecedents which help make sense of the current diversity of approaches to citizenship within psychology.


Citizen Participation, Agency and Voice

Citizen participation, by now one of the main topics on the institutional agenda in many European countries, involves different fields of public action, mostly on a local level – social inclusion, urban renewal, development, the environment, health/social services, etc. It still remains, however, vague as a concept with a great variety of actors, procedures and powers involved in its practices. In this scenario, the present article asks two questions: what powers and what freedoms are involved in participation? How are they constructed and increased? The article then goes on to argue how voice is relevant for understanding the many stories of participation, referring to the classic concept of voice formulated by Albert Hirschman and the elaborations offered by Amartya Sen and Arjun Appadurai in their dialogue over capabilities and capacities.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

July 21, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Untangling Complexity – Designing for Shared Understanding

The next phase of the digital revolution will be defined by products and services that facilitate shared understanding, allowing concerted participation around complex issues. In working to show the way, civic designers will need to call upon the powers of systems research, design research, social science, and open data. As the problems confronting 21st century citizens grow in complexity, citizens require not only the means to understand those problems, but also the means to exert political power over them. Activism on our part will require clear communication and shared understanding. Organizers before us may have leveraged Twitter and Facebook for civic effect, but civic designers will need to take this to the next level by creating products that enable citizens to collectively understand—and act upon—the layered, oftentimes opaque information surrounding complex issues. Creating next-gen civic applications will require designers to embody a systems-based approach to civic participation, marrying systems-based research, user-centered design, social science, and data. This article chronicles my own experience leveraging these tools to facilitate shared understand amongst my community.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

February 13, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Vers une Démocratie d’Enquête

Dans son discours du 8 octobre dernier, M. Bartolone, le président de l’Assemblée nationale, l’a annoncé : « Nous expérimenterons […] pour la première fois une consultation numérique des citoyens sur un projet de loi. Ce ne sera pas simplement un débat participatif mais un échange éclairé grâce à des données qui seront librement mises en ligne. Le débat aboutira à un rapport de synthèse qui sera versé aux documents mis à la disposition du rapporteur. Le projet de loi sur la fin de vie et celui sur le numérique seront les deux textes qui nous permettront d’expérimenter ce nouveau dispositif. » Nous n’en savons pas plus sur le détail de la mise en œuvre de cette proposition, si ce n’est que M. Bartolone a consulté plusieurs communicants pour le conseiller. Faire participer un très grand nombre de personnes à l’élaboration des lois pose des problèmes méthodologiques qui ne doivent pas être considérés à la légère et dont il n’est pas certain que le président de l’Assemblée nationale ait pris toute la mesure.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

December 11, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Resilience Management in Social-ecological Systems: A working hypothesis for a Participatory Approach

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Approaches to natural resource management are often based on a presumed ability to predict probabilistic responses to management and external drivers such as climate. They also tend to assume that the manager is outside the system being managed. However, where the objectives include long-term sustainability, linked social-ecological systems (SESs) behave as complex adaptive systems, with the managers as integral components of the system. Moreover, uncertainties are large and it may be difficult to reduce them as fast as the system changes. Sustainability involves maintaining the functionality of a system when it is perturbed, or maintaining the elements needed to renew or reorganize if a large perturbation radically alters structure and function. The ability to do this is termed “resilience.” This paper presents an evolving approach to analyzing resilience in SESs, as a basis for managing resilience. We propose a framework with four steps, involving close involvement of SES stakeholders. It begins with a stakeholder-led development of a conceptual model of the system, including its historical profile (how it got to be what it is) and preliminary assessments of the drivers of the supply of key ecosystem goods and services. Step 2 deals with identifying the range of unpredictable and uncontrollable drivers, stakeholder visions for the future, and contrasting possible future policies, weaving these three factors into a limited set of future scenarios. Step 3 uses the outputs from steps 1 and 2 to explore the SES for resilience in an iterative way. It generally includes the development of simple models of the system’s dynamics for exploring attributes that affect resilience. Step 4 is a stakeholder evaluation of the process and outcomes in terms of policy and management implications. This approach to resilience analysis is illustrated using two stylized examples.


Democratizing the Classroom: Sequencing Discussions and Assignments to Promote Student Ownership of the Course

This article explores a radical pedagogical method for democratizing the classroom that generates rich, engaged, student-led discussions. The approach is grounded in the notion that democratic participation in the classroom is a worthy goal of radical pedagogy, that students must be adequately prepared in order to take on greater responsibility in the classroom, and that greater learning occurs when students take a more active role in the learning process. Careful sequencing of discussions and assignments is used to turn over responsibility for the course to students gradually, without sacrificing the depth and sophistication that instructors want to achieve in the classroom. The result is a classroom in which all students participate and in which thoughtful, informed discussion and debate is the primary mode of engagement. Early in my career, I found student presentations and student-led discussions to be dull and uninspired much of the time. However, by carefully structuring assignments so that students are adequately prepared, I have found it possible to turn over more and more of my classes to students while still covering the material at a sophisticated level and maintaining an engaged, interactive classroom.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

April 15, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Mobility in Urban Social Events – Towards Organizational Transvergence

The paper explores the emergence of territories that are constituted through spontaneous assembling of self-organized communities resulting in what we term urban social events. A concrete event is employed, namely Embros, an open occupation of an abandoned public building in the center of Athens, to highlight the dynamics that make urban social events transformative urban phenomena. By focusing upon the entangled mobilities of diverse agents, we explain how through differential, discontinual assembling and creative collaborations, such urban social interactions institute unbounded and immanent modes of organizing. The paper contributes to organizational territoriality studies proposing that urban social events are mobile entanglements that institute practices of creative transactions with formal or informal communities. By doing that, it places the Arts, creativity and community participation at the center of transformative organizing.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

April 8, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Overcoming ‘Tragedies of the Commons’ with a Self-Regulating, Participatory Market Society

Our society is fundamentally changing. These days, almost nothing works without a computer chip. Processing power doubles every 18 months and will exceed the capabilities of human brains in about ten years from now. Some time ago, IBM’s Big Blue computer already beat the best chess player. Meanwhile, computers perform about 70 percent of all financial transactions, and IBM’s Watson advises customers better than human telephone hotlines. Will computers and robots soon replace skilled labor? In many European countries, unemployment is reaching historical heights. The forthcoming economic and social impact of future information and communication technologies (ICT) will be huge – probably more significant than that caused by the steam engine, or by nano- or biotechnology. The storage capacity for data is growing even faster than computational capacity. Within just a year we will soon generate more data than in the entire history of humankind. The “Internet of Things” will network trillions of sensors. Unimaginable amounts of data will be collected. Big Data is already being praised as the “oil of the 21st century”. What opportunities and risks does this create for our society, economy, and environment?


Read also: Economics 2.0: The Natural Step Towards a Self-Regulating, Participatory Market Society

Written by Giorgio Bertini

March 7, 2014 at 2:56 pm


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