Week Review 4

Week Review 4

With every passing week on the course, new roots of knowledge and new branches of interest and curiosity grow, keeping an enthusiastic gardener like me busy, fascinated and occasionally overwhelmed.

1
Still dwelling on alternative Humanisms, my Tweets are critical nutshells – or bombshells? Read this and this and cast your vote here.

And my artefact? It is me behind the mask, behind the twisted hierachies and trust issues.
“Patterns of access and exclusion will simply map on to existing social hierarchies of inequality in what have become known as ‘digital divides’.” (Hand 2008, p.34)

There you go. I am the resistance.

How? Like this:

2
About 170 posts in my lifestream in three weeks, which does not even monitor all my online activities. Quite some user created interactive content for a straight edge introvert. But is there any such thing as an online community with an ethnography, which with its wrongly assumed interactivity and user contribution might not be that much of a thing, Mr. Lister, Mr. Knox? (Lister 2009 , p.205) (Knox in Peters 2015)

3
And speaking of community: I try to be who I am wherever I am – all the time.

Why should identy be “something that is created within social contexts and through social discourses”, Mr. Miller? (Miller 2011, p.208) If we give up control, it is our decision. Don’t count me in.
See, I do not have to leave the house to start a fight. I’m gonna start a revolution from my bed desk. Is this what they call internet? No, men and women of letters have always done this.

Surf’s Up

Hand, Martin. 2008. Making digital cultures : access, interactivity, and authenticity. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Knox, J. in Peters, M.A.. 2015. Encyclopedia of educational theory and philosophy.

Lister, Martin. 2009. New media : a critical introduction. 2nd ed. ed. London: Routledge.

Miller, Vincent. 2011. Understanding digital culture. Los Angeles: SAGE.

4 thoughts on “Week Review 4

  1. Hello Dirk, thanks for interesting weekly summary. There are a couple of ideas I didn’t quite follow so you’ll need to explain them for me (further below).

    ‘Still dwelling on alternative Humanisms, my Tweets are critical nutshells – or bombshells? Read this and this and cast your vote here.’

    I like how you directly linked to different bits of content from your lifestream here: it made things nice and explicit for me, bring the feel of the lifestream into your summary.

    ‘And speaking of community: I try to be who I am wherever I am – all the time. Why should identy be “something that is created within social contexts and through social discourses”, Mr. Miller? (Miller 2011, p.208) If we give up control, it is our decision. Don’t count me in.’

    Does being shaped by community necessarily mean giving up control, do you think? Is it possible to be something that isn’t somehow shaped by our surrounding social and cultural contexts? When we participate in learning (or other activity within) online environments, do you think we necessarily have to give up elements of control?

    ‘But is there any such thing as an online community with an ethnography, which with its wrongly assumed interactivity and user contribution might not be that much of a thing’

    This is intriguing, Dirk, but I’m not quite sure I follow you. Could you explain this a bit more to me – I’m interested.

    ‘See, I do not have to leave the house to start a fight. I’m gonna start a revolution from my bed desk. Is this what they call internet? No, men and women of letters have always done this.’

    Surf’s Up. The Beach Boys released that while Brian Wilson was in his self-imposed exile in bed, didn’t they? Brian Wilson had been visionary in his combination of harmonics and rock’n’roll however by the time of this album he had long since ceased being seen as a ‘revolutionary’ within music. That’s the second time the album has appeared in your lifestream so I’m compelled to search for a connection!

    1. I enjoy your comments. Thank you!!! And your questions are mine, just as well. I can not answer them in 250 words, and even if I had the size of a book, I am still in the process. Probably always will be. Still, let me try.

      A) identity/ control/ agency
      I am aware that our identity is in parts shaped by the world around us. Large proportions of who we are is however determined by our innate character traits (see Big Five Model). But all these are only starting points. Many ideas of who we are, are however simply descriptive, they explain why we are who we are. This tends to assume we are determined to be who we are, consequently imlying that we might as well give up, it is all fate.
      – Miller’s text says our environments shape us, period.
      – Posthumanism, too, shifts the focus slightly away from our own actions and responsibility, looking at the (often physical) world around us with its impact on us.
      – Theories of social milieus describe why students from certain environments are this way or other.
      – Media sees people as either users, or viewers, or consumers, or whatever, not seeing that they are talking about one and the same person usually.
      So yes, we are under the influence of the world around us, it influences, but it does not determine. This is in my humble view a crucial aspect of education. If we want to teach students to be independent, we must know about the influences, but then focus on what we can do ourselves, practically, every day. If we focus on descriptive theories, we tend to not do this. So the way I see it right now, given my knowledge is fairl limited here, neither new Humanisms nor traditional Humanism offer a helpful framework for what we are and what we should do. There is a void which should be filled.

      Online communities/ interaction
      I was right in the middle of the media industry, when online participation and user created content started to be a thing. Everybody thought they had to use it, everybody felt threatened. If users/ viewers/ readers start creating their own content, will we lose our jobs? Well, it turned out that the vast majority of those people who consume do not(!) want to be active. They prefer consuming. And this shows in the participation rates on Youtube, Wikipedia, Facebook etc. The vast majority of people watch, only a small portion actively contribute. I personally was asked to develop a fair number of interactive shows. Needless to say I could never fully rely on viewers’ contributing. So if we define online communities as groups of active participation, I strongly doubt this general claim can be made. And online is not different from offline. We watch the world turn, but we do not get involved. You find us on our sofas and not on the streets. One day you call me a user, tomorrow you call me a viewer, a reader, a customer. But unless I am not clinically schizophrenic, my actions might differ slightly (and they do), but I will always be myself, fundamentally. (No idea if I am right, of course. This is my truth as for today.)

      Surf’s Up
      I love the the album musically, who wouldn’t 😉 And I love the irony as well as its funny closeness to my work here. Surf as in surfing the waves, surf as in surfing the web, fantastic! So Brian Wilson never ever surfed, but ok, it was the image of the band so “Surf’s Up” is (amongst other things) a statement: Things are not what you think the are, stop it! The dream is over. Same might be true for a lot of things we think to be true about online worlds. Do we really believe the world changed, because of the internet? That people changed? Or is it maybe just a romantic dream, we don’t want to give up on? The human evolutionary process has practically stopped 200,000 years ago. It might eventually go on some day, but for right now, we are biologically the same guys that we were 200,000 years ago. We use modern tools, right, but this does not fundamentally change us. So in a way my initial post as well as this reply here is on the same subject: The question is not “who is this” or “what is that”, but “who am I” and “who are we”. And what do we(!) do with that(!), rather than what does that do with us.
      And all this is dierectly linked to education. Do we want to be descriptive, teaching our students how things are, or do we want to invite them to act, too? To learn, to participate, to change themselves, to change te world?

      (P.S. In my time as a TV producer I met numerous stars, some of them truly massively big ones. I only ever had my picture taken with two of them. One was Brian Wilson. And I was nervous like a child ^^)

    2. One more quick note:
      Why did I bring up so much in a 250 words week review? Should I not know I can never fully explain what I mean? Do I therefor not fail the task of the review? Not in my mind. Because the 250 words, they are just as fragmented and rough and slightly confusing as my thoughts are currently on the issues. I am curious and confused, I am trying to understand. So for me, the review is a rather good representation of what I want to say precisely because it is so … un-precise.

  2. Hello Dirk, thanks for the clarification and wider discussion here. I won’t always reply to replies (if that makes sense) however as you’d gone into some detail I wanted to let you know that I had read and appreciated your response.

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