The life(stream) pursuit – (final) Week 12 summary

quote from earlier post

This was my summary at the end of Week 1. There’s a rather sweet prescience to the quote above, especially about randomness. Back then, I was apologetic; by comparison, last week I wrote about the uncertainty and variety of lifestream content, about the artificiality of imposing themes onto its heterogeneity.

The use of ‘extension’ cements a sense of otherness back in Week 1. It carries an inherent implication of being added on, attached but not part of the original structure. I’m over here, engaging; the lifestream is over there, blinking, nudging. This has changed too. We haven’t quite hybridised, but as the flexibility of the lifestream, and the mobility of its boundaries, have become apparent, so has its centrality as pedagogical apparatus to represent my confrontation with course themes.

Striated and smooth space come to mind as I consider the shifting role of the lifestream: its smoothness has become more evident to me. It has come to represent a mooring for the contestation of ideas.

a local integration moving from part to part and constituting smooth space in an infinite succession of linkages and changes in direction. It is an absolute that is one with becoming itself, with process (Deleuze & Guattari, 1988, p494).

Both of these observations – the heterogeneity of lifestream content and its integration in practice – speak, I think, to the nature of digital culture as a ‘subject’. They speak to its fluidity, its infiltration, its rhizomatic nature. With that they speak to the struggle of forcing it into a recognisable mould of subject. It’s like shoving a sleeping bag into a briefcase.

Here there is little conflict between content and ‘subject’: the content too is multifaceted, multimodal and diverse. As I read it through it, I’m struck by how much of it I have not written, how much is the work of others, passively gathered in, reappropriated. This points to the shifting tectonic plates under our definition of ownership of digital content.

There is, however, evidence of my attempt to engage actively with course themes. In particular, I have tried to layer ideas of digital culture on top of my professional practice. But the vulnerability of that practice is clear to me: it is the earth’s crust, digital culture is the magma, cracking through. Our main defence is critical thought, and it still needs work.

I would be remiss were I to exclude from my final summary ideas around the sociomaterial, which have fundamentally changed the way I think. Critical posthumanism is a constant later theme in the lifestream, and I’m taking it into the final assignment. I’m starting to see the lifestream as a representation of the coming together of the discursive and the material. In this conflict between active and passive gathering of content I’m starting to see myself as decentred – after all, it has done much of the gathering itself. I’m starting to notice and comprehend its biases and subjectivities: assessment criteria, its public nature, institutional structures, the traditional educational rules to which it must be seen to adhere.

So, lastly, the lifestream is an entanglement: of networks, technologies, algorithms, bots, software, bits of code, institutional structures, texts, communities. These are active, generative and performative (cf. Scott & Orlikowski); they have qualitatively changed what I have come to understand of digital cultures. I hope that the lifestream reflects this.


Bayne, S. (2004). Smoothness and Striation in Digital Learning Spaces. E-Learning and Digital Media, 1(2), 302–316.
Deleuze, G., Guattari, F., & Massumi, B. (1988). A thousand plateaus : capitalism and schizophrenia. London: Athlone.
Edwards, R. (2010). The end of lifelong learning: A post-human condition? Studies in the Education of Adults, 42(1), 5–17.
Scott, S. V., & Orlikowski, W. J. (2013). Sociomateriality — taking the wrong turning? A response to Mutch. Information and Organization, 23(2), 77–80.

Imitation of life(stream) – Week 11 summary

The content in my lifestream this week feels disordered and unquantifiable, It’s kind of all over the place. I’ve written about a couple of current political events, about a genuine David of a technological problem which led to a Goliath unsettlement, about statistics and TV. I’ve written about what I’m reading, reactions to and rants about the stuff I’m encountering, and some of the more tangential things I’m considering as I plan to get the lifestream ready for submission.

One of the things I’ve read this week is Bayne’s chapter on research and posthumanism in the SAGE Handbook of E-learningShe provides a couple of examples of how research methods are used to privilege order over difference:

This desire to stabilise essence is an attempt to produce order and regularity in the guise of categories that erase difference and privilege identity among seemingly similar things (Jackson, 2013, p. 742; in Bayne, 2016, p. 89)

In my lifestream summaries over the course I’ve attempted, sometimes artificially and sometimes not, and sometimes successfully and sometimes not, to unify content. I’ve tried to gather ideas, to identify themes which resonate in a variety of posts. Privileging order over difference. This week, I think I’ll privilege difference instead. Perhaps the lifestream’s uncategorised, uncatalogued messiness and diversity can function as an anti-theme. Or, given what I’ve read this week, a post-theme.

I can’t resist a chance to theorise, though. The lifestream, in its happy medley of heterogeneity, has been untethered, much like we have. We have been released from a weekly cycle; it’s as though we’ve been swimming lengths for ten weeks and now the lanes have been abandoned. I’m floating along, unshackled but still bounded – still with the edge of the pool or the fixed deadline in sight. So maybe the lifestream this week represents me: bobbing along, treading water, flailing occasionally, but definitely waving, not drowning.

a person in a swimming pool, underwater, racing


Bayne, S. (2016). Posthumanism and Research in Digital Education. In C. Haythornthwaite, R. Andrews, J. Fransman, & E. Meyers, The SAGE Handbook of E-learning Research (pp. 82–99). 1 Oliver’s Yard, 55 City Road London EC1Y 1SP: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Jackson, A. Y. (2013). Posthumanist data analysis of mangling practices. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 26(6), 741–748.