Bevægelse som analyseværktøj – seneste erfaringer

Jeg vil nu fortælle om mine erfaringer med bevægelsesanalyse. Vi var en gruppe på i alt 6, og vi mødtes søndag den 19/2 på Forsøgsstationen.

Som forberedelse havde jeg valgt et uddrag af min empiri. Det drejede sig om en situation i skolegården, hvor jeg havde fulgt en trio af piger, som legede et-tagfat på og omkring et legestativ. Empirien havde jeg samlet ved at bruge min ‘kommentator-metode’, dvs. at jeg havde en diktafon i jakkelommen, og bevægede mig rundt sammen med legetrioen – i en passende afstand – imens jeg med stemmen beskrev hvad jeg så. Til vores analysesession havde jeg valgt et 3 minutters uddrag af de ca 20 minutters optagelse. Jeg valgte uddraget ud fra overvejelser omkring hvilke dynamikker der var i spil. Det uddrag jeg valgte, starter med en mere rolig situation, som udvikler sig til en mere vild fangeleg, og i slutningen af uddraget er der en af pigerne der skal tælle til ti, og legen skal til at starte forfra. Jeg har prøvet at fornemme rytmen i trioens legeforløb og har valgt mit uddrag udfra disse fornemmelser.

For at kunne bruge materialet med mennesker som er udenforstående ift. felten valgte jeg at lave et remake. Det gjorde ved først at transskribere uddraget. Det blev til en tekst med sætninger som “Johanne og Andrea er nede på jorden” og “Filippa er oppe”, “nu kommer andrea og tager filippa på foden”.

Se teksten her:

Jeg valgte at lave remaket dels for at kunne anonymisere navnene, dels for at lave en slags dramatisering. Jeg lavede et setup med to mikrofoner med ca. 1½ meters afstand, sat op i højde med min mund, når jeg står op, og idet jeg lyttede til den oprindelige kommentator-optagelse, reproducerede jeg hvad der stod i den redigerede tekst, imens jeg dramatiserede det. Jeg de- og accelerede stemmen ift. den enkelte begivenheds karakter, samtidig med at jeg bevægede mig rundt mellem de to mikrofoner. Så når jeg f.x siger ‘Filippa er oppe’, så løftede jeg ansigtet opad, strakte halsen og sagde frasen. Eller hvis jeg siger ‘Johanne og Andrea er nede på jorden’ satte jeg mig på hug og talte ned mod jorden. Pointen var at kode stereobilledet de beskrevne handlingers rumlighed.

Chc remaking.jpg

Analysessession

Gruppen af frivillige var en blandet gruppe af dansere, akademikere og kunstnere. Efter en kort introduktionsrunde og en opvarmningssession på gulvet afspillede jeg remaket for dem. Derefter lavede vi en række øvelser mhp. at analysere begivenheden med bevægelse som analyseværktøj.

Lyt til remaket  her (billederne er ikke i sync med lyden, men for at bruge youtube skal der jo noget video til…):

Den første øvelse gik ud på at rekonstruere begivenheden som sådan. Dvs. at  vi fordelte roller, så de tre karakterer blev dramatiseret af tre ‘spillere’. Først gik vi manuskriptet igennem, så spillerne kunne lære deres positioner og handlinger at kende, i non-realtime. Derefter lavede vi en opførelse i tid med remaket, afspillet ud i rummet.

I den senere evaluering blev denne øvelse beskrevet således af én af spillerne “I was in my head, I was not in my senses. I was in my analytical and rational mind”.

Så øvelsen var en form for instrumentalisering, et mellemtrin, som kunne føre os videre. Det som skete, var nemlig, at både performere og tilskuere ud af de handlinger, som spillerne udførte, kunne læse de personligheder, som var i spil i situationen.

Den næste øvelse gik ud på at tage alle de små handlinger, som vi allesammen havde identificeret, og arbejde med dem som improvisatoriske elementer. Alle 6 deltagere var vi ude på gulvet og improviserede med elementerne, imens vi hørte remaket. I denne proces skete der det, som jeg ser det, at vi havde et lineært handlingsforløb i form af remaket, der lå som et lydspor i baggrunden, imens vi plukkede handlingsforløbets elementer frit, og kombinerede dem på forskellige måder. Improvisationen blev på den måde et brud med den tidslige linearitet fra den oprindelige begivenhed, imens elementer af situationen i deres sekventialitet poppede op.

begivenhed, interaktion, tid, handlinger.jpeg

I den oprindelige begivenhed var der forskellige handlinger,  som fx. at gribe om en andens fod, at give et kram, at gemme sig i et hul, at klatre osv. Disse handlinger blev i improvisationen foldet ud som en række fraser, som interagerede med hinanden. I improvisationen opstod en hel del eksempler på imitation, både mellem spillerne, men også mellem spillere og remaket. Remaket kom altså til at være en medspiller på den måde, at det fødte ‘stikord’ ind i improvisationen, som nogle af spillerne valgte at gribe.

Den tredje øvelse vi lavede, kom ikke fra mig, men fra flere af de andre deltagere. Det byggede på, at flere af dem havde bemærket visse personlighedstræk ved karaktererne. Den ene karakter, Fillippa, blev fx oplevet som lidt mere passiv, som én der trækker sig ind i sig selv. Hun har fx en hætte, som hun ligesom bliver ved med at gemme sig i. Hun var også en, som bad de andre om hjælp. Hun havde fx et snørebånd, som var gået op, og hun bad Johanne om hjælp. Johanne fremstod som én der bygger bro og forbinder de to andre karakterer. Den tredje, Andrea, fremstod som én der gør meget for at beskytte sig. Hver gang hun blev taget lavede hun f.x. timeout-tegn, for at undslippe. Samtidig var hun meget udfarende, og drillende.

Der var ligesom de her tre karaktertyper som kom til udtryk for deltagerne alene pba de handlinger som vi de havde udført. Vi lavede en øvelse, hvor vi tog disse tre personlighedstræk og udfoldede dem i en improvisation, med tre spillere, hver med sit træk. Ligesom i øvelse 1 var det her altså en form for 1-til-1 situation med forlægget. Én karakter blev repræsenteret af én spiller. Dog var der her ikke en lineær forbindelse med begivenhedens tidlige forløb.

Under evalueringen efter øvelse 3 var der flere af tilskuerne som fortalte, at de havde oplevet to af karaktererne som alt for ens, ift den måde de blev performet. Det satte overvejelser i gang om, at for at kunne komme videre med analysen måtte vi accentuere karakterernes forskelle stærkere.

I øvelse 4 gjorde vi noget som svarer til hvad vi gjorde i øvelse to. Denne gang tog vi de her karaktertræk, som vi havde arbejdet frem i øvelse 3, og improviserede med dem. I stedet for at betragte dem som noget, der hørte til i én person, udfoldede vi karaktertrækkene som energier, der var tilstede i rummet, og som interagerede på forskellige måder. Hver spiller kunne træde ind og ud af disse energier, alt efter hvad øjeblikket bød på. Igen havde vi remaket som lydspor i baggrunden, og udfoldede improvisationen i den tid som remaket varede.

Evaluering

Efter øvelse 4 evaluerede vi, og fra denne evaluering har jeg fire punkter jeg vil trække frem

For det første er der metodikken. Vi valgte at starte i hver omgang af analytiske øvelser med en simpel 1-til-1 reproduktion af de af materialets elementer, som vi ønskede at arbejde med. Øvelse 1 var en 1-til-1 genopførelse af selve begivenheden. Og var en forudsætning for øvelse 2. På samme måde var øvelse 3 en forudsætning for øvelse 4.

Øvelse 1 var ikke i sig selv en analyse, men det var en måde at hjælpe hele gruppen – mig selv inklusive – til at få indblik i begivenheden. Hvad øvelsen samtidig gjorde, var hjælpe os til at forstå personernes karakterer, deres måder at være på. Dette kom som en stor overraskelse for mig. Jeg havde ikke i forberedelsen af workshoppen haft fokus på de tre konkrete pigers personlighedstræk. Jeg havde snarere faktisk glemt hvem de var som personer, fordi mit fokus var på interaktionerne, på handlingerne og de bevægelser som disse affødte i tid og rum. Når de andre deltagere, som jo ikke kender de konkrete mennesker fra begivenheden, er i stand til at fange deres personlighedstræk, alene baseret på handlinger de hører beskrevet, er der for mig at se tale om en vigtig pointe. Det drejer sig altså om nogle personlighedstræk og nogle interaktionelle mønstre mellem nogle virkelige personer, som gennem en kodningsproces med flere forskellige led, er blevet afkodet af nogle som ikke kender de oprindelige menesker. Det overraskende er, i hvor høj grad deres analyse rammer plet.

Spørgsmålet er, om de fem deltagere ville være kommet frem til de samme konklusioner, hvis de 1) havde forholdt sig alene til transskriptionen af mine ‘kommentatorfeltnoter’, eller 2) mit remake, hvor jo tidslige og til dels rumlige aspekter er i spil, sammenlignet med 3) øvelse 1, hvor vi laver en dramatisering i tid og rum. Med andre ord: Hvilken rolle har det spillet, at dimensionerne tid og rum har været kodet ind i det etnografiske materiale? Og i forlængelse heraf kan man spørge: Hvad ville en videooptagelse have givet? Den ville jo også have tidslige og rumlige aspekter fra begivenheden indkodet. Forskellen er, at der i den metode vi her har arbejdet med, er tale om en voldsom reduktion af kompleksitet. Videooptagelsen ville jo give en lang række informationer om de handlende, som fx deres kropsbygning, påklædning, osv, sammen med en række andre informationer om konteksten. Disse informationer er jo blevet sorteret fra i kommentatormetoden. Det er også væsentligt at fremhæve, at mine stemmenoter allerede er en analyse i sig selv, som netop reducerer kompleksitet ved at fremhæve elementer som jeg i øjeblikket har fundet relevante.

Den anden observation jeg vil gøre ift evalueringen er, at der var flere, der pegede på, at i gruppeimprovisationerne var der en tendens til, at alle klumpede sig sammen inde på midten. Det rejste et spørgsmål om, i hvor høj grad det, der foregik i improvisation, forholdt sig til materialet, og i hvor høj grad det forholdt sig til selve situationen med nogle konkrete kroppe, der bevægede sig rundt i et rum på Forsøgsstationen. En af deltagerne, som er danser, fremhævede, at det ofte sker i improvisationssituationer, at deltagerne ender i en stor klump inde på midten. Og det siger for mig at se noget om, hvor vigtigt det er, at vi forholder os til, hvordan vi designer de her analyse-sessions.

Den tredje problemstilling der er relevant at tage frem fra evalueringen, er spørgsmålet, som én tog frem, om æstetik. Spørgsmålet er, om det, vi laver i improvisationen, forholder sig tæt nok til det materiale der skal analyseres, eller om improvisationen ender med at blive et ‘værk’ i sig selv. Som jeg ser det, er kernen i det her et spørgsmål om, hvordan spillerne forholder sig til materialet. Om de arbejder konsistent nok med det materiale, der ligger i udgangspunktet, altså remaket. Og deres evne til at holde deres egne indgroede kropslige vaner ude. Det rejser et spørgsmål om kontekst. Som dybest set ikke adskiller sig fra den situation et vidensfællesskab befinder sig i. Et vidensfællesskab analyserer jo også fænomener ud fra et sæt af (sproglige, konceptuelle) vaner. Også her er der en risiko for, at ligegyldigt hvilket materiale du putter ind i ‘maskinen’, kommer der samme slags resultat ud.

Videre overvejelser

Der er to aspekter i analyseprocessen, som jeg kunne tænke mig at gå videre med. Det første har at gøre med selve kernen i min interesse, nemlig bevægelse. Det har at gøre med de dynamiske relationer i en begivenhed. I de analyser, de fire øvelser, vi har lavet i gruppen, tog vi i grunden fat i nogle elementer som på sin vis er statiske. At gribe en fod er nok en bevægelse, men i vores tilgang antog det status af et objekt, som vi , sammen med andre objekter, som ‘at klatre’ etc.,  satte sammen i improvisationen. Det siger ikke meget om dynamikkerne mellem handlingerne. Den anden tilgang, som vi udviklede havde at gøre med karaktertræk. Her er vi tættere på noget, der udfolder sig i dynamiske relationer mellem elementerne. Samtidig var det en analyse, som, mener jeg, har været nødt til at gå en omvej omkring konceptuelle størrelse, såsom ‘karaktertrækket at trække sig ind i sig selv’, eller ‘bede om hjælp’. Man kan sige, at i og med, at gruppen af analysander har oplevet denne udspilning af handlinger, har de kunnet lavet en reverse engineering tilbage til de karaktertræk som har ligget til grund for handlingerne. For mig at se er det et bevis på, at vi mennesker har en grundlæggende evne til at analysere andre menneskers handlinger, for derudfra at danne os et billede af, hvordan de kan forventes at måtte handle, fremad. På den måde kan man sige, at det er nogle ret centrale måder, vi i hverdagen er i stand til at forholde os til hinanden. Og det er noget, som jeg mener er grundigt beskrevet i psykologien.

Analysen har på den måde for så vidt fundet frem til nogle ‘grundsten’, eller en ‘grammatik’ som kan ligge bagved begivenheden, og som dermed kan give anledning til nogle andre kombinationer af interaktioner mellem de involverede. Noget, som vi i gruppen kunne arbejde med, improvisatorisk. Spørgsmålet er, om det er en udtømmende analyse af selve begivenheden. Man kunne også gå ud fra, at de samme relationelle dynamikker mellem disse tre karakterer kunne udfolde sig på en tilsvarende måde i andre kontekster, f.eks. på biblioteket, i klasseværelset, etc. Disse dynamikker kommer i vores konkrete begivenhed til udfoldelse i et særligt miljø, som er præget af legestativet, rutjsebanen osv.

Det jeg vil frem til er, at jeg tænker på de dynamikker som gør, at de tre karakterer bevæger sig ift hinanden og ift legemøblerne i nogle givne mønstre. Som når den ene bevæger sig på ydersiden af legetårnets bagside imens en anden er på vej hen over rutsjebanen, imens den tredje tøvende kravler op ad rutsjebanen. De her mønstre kunne være interessante at analysere på. De indeholder jo begge de niveauer som  vi satte i spil i i øvelserne. Det første niveau har at gøre med enkelthandlinger. Fx. at udføre handlingen at gribe efter noget, for eksempel en fod. Det andet niveau handler om, hvad de enkelte karakterer vælger at gøre ud fra hvad de hver især har med sig af karaktertræk, og ud fra dynamikken i præcis denne gruppe. Det her tredje niveau, jeg nu taler om, inkluderer er også de materielle omgivelser: Jeg tænker på at udvikle metoder, hvor vi forholder os til nogle sekvenser i materialet, der involverer både enkelthandlinger, og karaktertræk – eller handlingernes grammatik, og den materialitet, det miljø, som begivenheden udfolder sig i.

Det empiriske materiale jeg har stillet til rådighed for analysen – remaket – giver ikke adgang til at arbejde med de enkelte mikrobevægelser i den oprindelige situation. Metoden har ikke rakt til at kunne gengive dem trofast nok. Men materialet giver dog mulighed for at kunne analysere på de tre karakterer og deres indbyrdes dynamiske relationer, i tid og rum, i kombination med det givne miljø de bevæger sig i.

Analysens fokus vil da være på sekvenser af interaktioner, og disse sekvenser vil være bygget op af de fysiske positioner, som karaktererne indtager, i forhold til de elementer i miljøet, som giver dem muligheder for at bevæge sig op, ned, under, mellem hinanden, etc.

Et analysespørgsmål kunne i denne forbindelse være hvilke særlige interaktionsformer og sekvenser af interaktioner, som det her konkrete miljø fremmer for en konkret legetrio, med nogle givne karakteristika.

Der ligger en opgave i at designe en metode der gøre det muligt at arbejde med denne form for analyse, – en analyse som trækker på alle tre niveauer, både enkelthandlingen, handlingernes grammatik, og sekvenserne af interaktioner.

A method for corporeal analysis? (You’re not alone)

After three days of experiments with corporeal analysis, I can see some patterns for a possible method :

  1.  Pre-analysis. What are the most important parameters at play in the material? In my case, I found 3: 1) Initiative. Who decides what to do (in the detail), A. the children themselves or B. the adults? 2) Bodily position. A. seated. B. free to move on the floor /ground. 3) Place. A. indoors. B. outdoors.
    This approach made me think about John Cage and his experiments with I-CHING. By chance, my analysis came up with three parameters each of which has two states (although the relation is not binary). This gives 8 combination (2+2+2+2)I-ching.png
  2. Corporeal analysis. A) define energetic elements. (In the case of my two case field recordings, it was a) noises and b) voices (high and mid pitched). B) For each element do an incorporation / bodily rendering of the flow of energy. The processes are documented, resulting in a video, where the elements are combined in one screen. Like this:

    … or this:

     

  3. Verbal analysis. The resulting video from the corporeal analysis is now subject to a third layer of analysis, where I purposefully blind myself from the knowledge of the original material (ie the field recording), and take a fresh look at the new materiel, putting words on what I experience, when perceiving the (inter)actions.

This process results in a list of words / descriptions, which – combined with the former 2 layers – can be used as a point of departure for a further analysis, along more traditional ethnographic lines.

You’re not alone

Oh no love! you’re not alone/ You’re watching yourself but you’re too unfair/ You got your head all tangled up but if I could only/ Make you care/ Oh no love! you’re not alone  (David Bowie, Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide)

In a former blog post, I asked ‘Is there anybody out there?’. To my relief, there is! You’re not alone, there are intelligent life forms out there!

My fellow students, and other people from the environment around Educational Anthropology, have luckily been responding, on Facebook.

From there, I came to hear about Erin Manning, who is a former dancer/choreographer, and who is now a scholar within philosophy. A career path similar to Maxine Sheets-Johnstone’s. Manning has written some really interesting texts and has done some exciting projects, so I am going to dig deeper into this.

In her recent book, The Minor Gesture (2016),  she writes about ‘research-creation’, and here is what she has to say:

“research-creation […] generates new forms of experience; it tremulously stages an encounter for disparate practices, giving them a conduit for collective expression;”

Research-creation is another way of saying ‘art-based science’, and what’s interesting about Manning’s thinking is that she succeeds in breaking free from the typical pitfalls of combining art with science. This combination most often either becomes science-about-art, or it becomes art-that-illustrates-science. The combination ‘art’-‘science’ can at its best challenge the whole question about what knowledge is, and, as Manning puts it:

[Research-creation] hesitantly acknowledges that normative modes of inquiry and containment often are incapable of assessing its value; it generates forms of knowledge that are extralinguistic; [ …] ;  it proposes concrete assemblages for rethinking the very question of what is at stake in pedagogy, in practice, and in collective experimentation.

Words on movements

At Forsøgsstationen, ‘The Lab Station’, I met Rikke Jeppesen Rod. She is a dancer/scholar, and just recently has done a project, Embodied Immediacy, with dancer-poet Catherine Magill (AUS). Rikke gave me a booklet they had done about the project, and this is what inspired me to the 3) part of the method, see above. The two dancers have each done a dance/movement improvisations, and then both have written words/poetry about what they have experienced/witnessed. What’s interesting is to read the two accounts about the same situation, and reflect about differences/similitudes. What happens, when we experience something? Do we experience the same things? Of course not. This is as true for everyday life as it is for science, and it’s a fundamental problem in both.

See my former posts about my experiments with the body as an analytical tool:
Using my body as an analytical tool – is there anybody out there?
Necessary mistakes on the path to an embodied analysis
Fieldwork on fieldwork, day III

Necessary mistakes on the path to an embodied analysis

Day one in ethnographic fieldwork into my ethnographic material.

These are my video journals from today, where I document the process of my analytical work:

As you can see in Journal I, above, I have used a logic of parameters to do a pre-sorting of my material. What are the most important factors in play in this specific context? The answer to this question might change as I go along and dig deeper into the material, but for now, there seem to be three overall factors. The first parameter (symbolised by the red cloth) has to do with initiative. The norm  is when the adults are setting the agenda. The exception (at least from a quantitative perspective) is when the pupils are deciding what to do and how. Second parameter (grey cloth) has to do with what you can do with your  body. The norm is to be sitting on a chair. The exception is when the pupils are alowed not to sit, ie walk, run etc. The third parameter (blue cloth) has to do with being indoor vs outdoors. The norm is being indoors.

Since I had so much space, i chose to represent these three parameters using large pieces of cloth and chairs. An uprigt chair = the norm. An upside-down chair = the exception.

These are the 8 combinations of parameters

To be read this way: image 1: adult initiative, seated, outdoors. Image 2: Adult initiative, seated, indoors. Etc.

For today, I chose the combination BAA, ie: child inititive, seated, indoors. This combination is at play in the situations, where the kids are eating ‘fruit’ everyday from 8.50 to 9.00. I decided to start off my analysis with this combination partly to make things easier for myself. Had it been for example the afternoon ‘own time’ playing sessions, it would have been much longer sound files (up to 1½ hours), and although it would be withing the ‘child initiative’ mode, it would be a mix between seated and freely moving (though not running or jumping). Is this an important distinction? I guess my further analysis might shed some light on that.

So I chose the ‘fruit’ sessions, of which I have 10 recordings, each with a duration of appr 10 minutes. A simple, ritualized activity, with a clear framework for the distribution of time, space and energy (cf Rancière).

In Journal II, I show some of the results from the experiments. The basic idea is to create a kind of being (using my body ‘masked’ by a green ‘second skin’ suit); this being reacts to certain sounds. I made an easy choice, and decided to divide the sounds according to who made them. I was able to identify the persons from the timbre of their voices, and I selected three children to be represented. For each child I made a video recording of ‘the green being’ gesturing in imitation of the voice of the child. This gave me three individual recordings. I made a fourth recording where the green being incorporated the noise sounds. I combined these four video recordings into one single movie, this way:

screenshot-2408

Back home, after showing this work to a selected audience (my better half and her friend), with their feedback, I have the following conclusions:

  1. The being who moves according to the noise sounds should be using the floor more. When doing the ‘performance’, I was imagining this being as being at the scale of what produced the noise. So a crackling sound of a plastic bag would result in many small and fast movements in all directions. This way, I imagined the source of the noise to be emanating from the center of the body. Alternatively, one could imagine the noise emanating from the floor level, and a sudden, sharp peak would result in a sudden movement, like an arrow shooting up from the floor.
  2. Following the logic of the ‘noise-being’, it would make more sense to get rid of the one-to-one-logic of the ‘voice-beings’. Instead of having one being re-enacting one specific person (by identifying his/her voice in the field recording), it would be more interesting to have beings respond to the voices in a certain register. This way, I could have a being responding to voice sounds in a high pitch register (ie children’s voices) and another being responding to voices in a middle register (which coincidentally would correspond to the women’s voices).
  3. Concluding, there would be three beings, a noise-being (like before), a high-tone being, and a mid-tone being. This way, the whole spectrum of the soundscape would be covered. At the same time, the logic of ‘de-personalization’ from the noise-being would be expanded, and we wouldn’t have this direct and redundant representation of specific persons, that basically doesn’t add to the analysis.

Getting rid of the impersonification of my first attempt, in future attempts, there will be an extra possibility: working with spatiality. The sounds of voices are coming from different places in the stereo soundscape, and this dimension of the soundscape can be extracted by the analyzing body, by moving bodyparts or the whole body in the corresponding direction.

Is this also a one-to-one logic? Maybe. But not in the same sense as above. Representing a specific person by one ‘analytical body-being’  doesn’t ad anything to what the typical language-based analysis is perfectly capable of. We don’t need an embodiment to do that, since we can simply just say: “Peter says ….”.

Basically, what I think I understand now, is that choosing the all too obvious direct impersonification has probably been a necessary step for me to realize, that for my experiments with the body as an analytical tool to make sense, I must abandon the representational stance, and instead take into account the level of materiality, so to speak. In this case – where the material is sound recordings –  the materiality  of the material consists in sounds and noises developing in time and space.

 

 

 

Using my body as an analytical tool – is there anybody out there?

“I have conducted an ethnographic fieldwork in a public school, in a reception class, with children aged 7 – 9.  I now have a lot of empirical material to analyze. I have fieldnotes, sound recordings, some photos etc.

Read more about my studies in Educational Anthropology

I have a question to you, and I need your help

I am going to do a ‘traditional’ ethnographic analysis, where you mostly use language as a tool, using codes, categories, etc.

I would like to use some other methods as well
One method, I would like to try is to use my own body as an analytical tool. What does that mean? It means that I for example listen to a sound recording of children eating fruit during the morning break. By listening to this recording, in a large room, with space for movement, I am going to do a video recording of my movements. This way, I am using my body as an analytical tool in the sense that I listen to the sound from my field recording, and move my body accordingly

I want to do this, firstly because I am interested in movement as a phenomenon. Secondly, I think that by starting the analysis by applying terms, codes and categories there are many important things left out

So my question to you is:

Do you know of anyone who has worked with a similar approach?

Someone who has used movement, maybe dance, or choreography with the analysis of ethnographic data? … or something along these lines

You might wonder why I am standing here.. I am in the Winter Bath. I’ve just been to the sauna and I’m feeling great. It’s a snowstorm. My point by choosing this place is that it makes sense as a place to ask this question about the body and what the body can do, and so on.

Thanks for listening and watching

I hope you will share your knowledge

Now, I’ll jump into the water”

Selves, sounds, containers, and Neo’s cat


Reflecting on my observations in the reception class (read more about my field study here), I come to think about the pupils and their struggles to come to some kind of grasps with what is expected from them. It’s evident that in this specific context, there are some adults that are trying to make them understand what to do, when and how, but it is not at all evident that the pupils manage to comply. This is probably at play to some extend in a standard class – indeed probably in all social contexts – but it’s my impression that it is very acute in the reception class.

I am thinking about this problem of someone not doing what is expected, and I want to expand on it by drawing on the metaphor of the container. I am not sure, where this text will bring me, but let’s jump right into it, shall we?

In a standard class, composed mostly by kids who have grown up in Denmark, and who therefore probably have a rather clear image about what it means to go to school ‘the Danish way’, when a kid is not doing what is expected, it can probably in most cases be boiled down to a matter of either not being able or not willing to comply. In most cases, I guess that what is being expected is rather clear to everyone involved. To me, a useful way of thinking about these things is to think about them in terms of a game. In the standard class, everyone knows the rules of the game, but each participant play the game more or less well, and with more or less commitment. In the reception class, maybe a lot of what is going on is that the participants think they know the rules of the game, but in actuality, they are playing different games with different sets of rules.

A way to approach this is through Wenger’s theory of legitimate peripheral participation. This is a theory that makes a connection between ‘learning’ and ‘sociality’, and the key idea is that ‘learning’ takes place in an individual in his/her process of becoming a part of the given ‘sociality’. Learning, and in extension establishing social – and I would also add emotional – relations with others, happens, in Wenger’s optics, as you are approaching some kind of social center. In this way, learning and being social are two interdependent parts of the same process, and this process has a clear direction: towards the (social) center.

I think Wenger’s theory can be very useful in describing the processes that are going on in the standard classroom, and to some extend in the reception class as well. The thing about the reception class is that new pupils are starting all the time. In the class I am studying, at my arrival, there were thus 3 new pupils who had started the week before. That is two weeks ago. A new pupil is going to start next week. It would obviously be interesting to ask what happens in these pupil’s process of becoming part of the sociality of the class, and – in extension – acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to be part of a Danish school class.

These are very relevant perspectives, and they are also very useful when it comes to questions like policy making, pedagogy etc. The people involved in the organisation and decision making around the reception class, understood as an institution, of course need knowledge about the processes through which an ‘input’ – in the form of the not-yet competent child – can be transformed into an expected ‘output’ – the pupil who is ready to take part in a standard class.

One of the core elements of Wenger’s theory is the idea of the negotiation of meaning. In the process of ‘approaching the center’, so to speak, the participants are trying to come to some kind of common understanding of what is going on. Returning to the idea of a game, I would translate this into to a process where the participants are negotiating, first, which game their are playing; then they are coming to some kind of agreement about the how the rules of this game should be; finally, they ‘play ‘the game, which entails a whole range of instances of negotiating who breached which rules, in what way, at the expense of whom, etc. This is of course a simplification, and the process is not to be understood as sequential and linear as my description might suggest.

There is a lot more to Wenger’s theory and I might have gotten it all wrong, but nonetheless, if we stick to the idea of school as some kind of game that everyone involved is somehow playing, what is relevant to ask is what this specific activity of ‘playing’ school, Danish style, involves.

In order participate in the game, ‘playing school’, one has to accept the idea of a self, of an individual, and that this self or individual is somehow contained inside a recipient, a body. When ‘playing school’, one will understand that this container, the body with a self inside, is expected to be in certain places, to take certain postures and perform certain movements at certain times and in certain spaces. The default situation is one where the container is kept still and quiet on a chair. (Steen Nepper Larsen writes about this in this article , in Danish, from 2001). Furthermore, if one is joining the game of ‘playing school’, and one is doing it according to the rules, one must accept the idea that the recipient, that contains one’s ‘self’, also is a place that contains a processing device, called a brain, and that this processing device can store what is called knowledge and competences. In other words, one of the goals of the ‘game of school’ is to accumulate knowledge and competences in the individual pupil. According to this logic, the pupil starts out as an empty recepient, and the role of the teacher is to fill up this empty recipient, so that when the pupil leaves school, he or she can be considered a fully competent citizen, ready to be ‘a part of society’.

I want to make clear that what I am saying here is not meant as a critique of the school or the teachers. Rather, I am trying to put words to an analysis based on how people in and around the school talk about and act out the processes through which an ‘individual’ is being ‘educated’.

The idea of the self as a container and schooling as a process of filling up this container with knowledge and competencies is very far from Wenger’s ideology of learning. Indeed, he would probably argue that this ‘container pedagogy’, as we might call it, does not result in learning, at least not in the sense that he understands it. If there is any kind of ‘real’ learning, taking place, Wenger would probably argue  that it is not because, but in spite of this pedagogy. However if we see the school through another of Wenger’s central terms, as a community of practice, what this specific community of practice is common about practicing is indeed a pedagogy of filling up containers. This is the game that the participants play, and excelling in this game means doing what’s expected. Doing what’s expected means putting ‘your’ container at the right place at the right time, and controlling what comes in, in the form of images, words etc., and out, in the form of sounds, movements etc., in the expected way. Mastering these competencies is embedded in the social fabric of the school class and its participants, and in this way, Wenger’s theory of legitimate peripheral participation is quite apt for describing what is going on. In spite of it self, so to speak.

What I am trying to get at is that although Wenger himself seems to value certain forms of learning over others, his theory of centrality appears to to be useful in any kind of situation, where there is an institution, – ie. a school or an organisation –  in which people are supposed to do certain things. In any institution, the logic of the institution seems to be embedded in the social fabric of the institution itself. Therefore, doing what’s expected will provide you with access to centrality, which means access to social accept, recognition, prestige, etc., as well as to resources, in the form of time, space, money, food, etc.

To sum it up, what I am trying to do here is to describe what I see as a certain logic going on in the Danish way of schooling (and elsewhere). Being a part of the institution of the school implies taking part in a certain game, where a certain idea of the individual and of learning is being played out. You might understand the rules of the game or not. You might accept them or not. You might play the game with more or less excellence. In whichever case you do not have a choice other than being a part of it.

These processes of acceptance, participation, excellence, etc. are rather easy to identify. The people involved are talking about them, and acting and reacting according to them all the time. This is what’s on the agenda of the meetings between teachers, and with school management, with the parents, etc. The pupils who seem not to understand what the rules of the game are, will have to eventually learn them. If this doesn’t happen, it’s because something’s wrong with them, and ‘a diagnosis’ is called for. For those who do seem know the rules, but nevertheless break them, some kind of correctional processes is needed. If this doesn’t help, a psychologist is called for, and in the final ressort, there’s the possibility of expelling the pupil.

These processes are rather commonplace, and a lot can be said, and has been said, not only about what is going on, but also about how the actions involved are reproducing certain forms of power relations, etc.

What I am interested in, and what I am trying to put into words here, has to do with situations in which someone not only does not understand or accept the rules of the game, but where they seem not to have any clue whatsoever as to what is going on. It seems to me that something along these lines is going on for at least some of the pupils in the reception class. And I am wondering if studying these things can help us understand things, among those who do understand and even accept, and maybe support the game, but where there is still some kind of struggle going on.

I think it makes sense to talk about the self as a container as a construction. This implies that other constructions might have been possible. I guess that at this place a full blown scholar would refer to Anthropology as a discipline that confirms this, and he or she would start talking about ‘other possible ontologies’. Or, as Tim Ingold says: “No way of being is the only possible one, and for every way we find or resolve to take, alternative ways could be taken that lead in different directions” (in this talk).  I suppose it also makes sense to talk about the process through which one is gradually becoming a part of the logic of the self as a container as a construction. In other words, the (individual) ‘development’ from a (non-competent, empty) child to an adult, who competently manages the logic of the self as a container, or – in Wenger’s terms, from a peripheral learner to a fully competent central actor – is not a development that can be expected to happen naturally in anyone, anywhere. Learning to act according to the logic of the self as a container is also a construction. This process is what a scholar would maybe talk about as a process of civilizing.

There are a lot of things that can be said about these processes, and a lot of critique can be raised about coercion and the relations of power that they engender. There are, however, questions that I can’t find the answer for, when reading these theories. Maybe I haven’t read enough, yet. Maybe Tim Ingold can help me find an answer. I just stumbled across his name in a text i read a few days ago, and for now, my access to Ingold’s thoughts is via videos on YouTube, – and there are many! What I am struggling with has to do with this: One thing is the children in the reception class who seem to be more or less clueless as to which ‘game’ everyone is playing. Maybe this is somehow because they have a ‘theory of self’ which is different from the one that is embedded in the institution. This is one thing.  Another thing is the ones who are seemingly playing the game of the self as a container, and playing it ‘well’. It seems to me that even though people are talking about what they are doing in a way that confirms the idea of the self as a container, and even though their words and actions succeed in reproducing this logic, there are still a lot of things going on in and around them that somehow doesn’t fit in. Even for people themselves.

This sounds very abstract, and I would like to try to concretize it more, by bringing in the question of sound. First, however, I think it makes sense to develop a little more on the notion of the self as a container, or rather: alternatives to it. In the talk I am watching on, Tim Ingold is talking about the Inuits and their notion of the soul. In the Inuit language, the word ‘inuit’ is the plural form of the word inuq, which – according to Ingold – means soul. I actually thought ‘inuit’ meant people, so this was new to me. So what does the plural form actually mean? Literally it would translate into ‘souls’. In the way the word is being used, it is often used as an addition to a word for a geographic place, in a way that could be translated as ‘soul life going on in [name of the place]’. Ingold’s point is that for the Inuit it doesn’t make sense to think about the notion of ‘soul life’ the way we usually would in a Western logic, as an accumulation of individual ‘souls’. Here, Ingold goes on to discuss some very complicated things about the relation between part and whole, and I won’t go more into this for now, mainly because it’s too abstract for me. What I do find useful in Ingold’s talk at this place is when he talks about the way the Inuit understand the ‘life of the soul’, as Ingold puts it, which I guess could be corresponding to the Western notion of ‘the self’, or maybe ‘personhood’. For the Inuit, Ingold says, “children are animated by the soul of their grandparents”. This means that adults tend to treat the children with the same kind of reverence that they would treat their parents. It also means, that “….The idea of ‘early years’, as though children were closer to some imaginary point of origin in the process of socialisation therefore makes absolutely no sense. Everyone at any moment is both older and younger than themselves”. (Here)

It seams that my text at this point would take us to a kind of logic where I now start talking about the implications of what we might call the Inuit conception of the self, when compared to what I have described as a conception of the self as a container. Indeed, an pedagogy build on an Inuit conception of self would be completely different, since a pupil, or a ‘life soul’ would not be seen as an empty container to fill up, but rather, maybe, as something that could contribute with something valuable, in and of itself.

It would be really interesting to go more in depth with this thought. For now i will leave it as it is, and instead  I would like to develop more on my probably not so clear ideas about ‘what doesn’t fit in’. I don’t think that an Inuit conception of the self  is necessarily better than the container conception of the self. Maybe Ingold does. That’s not so much my point anyhow. What interests me here has to do with the way, a conception of self is being played out, whether by Inuits or Westeners. All this talk about soul, life souls and soul life, is maybe making the whole thing sound all religious and metaphysical. This is probably also the way people in general would think when they hear about ‘primitive people’s beliefs’. For us, the Inuit’s are ‘believing’ that souls are ‘reincarnated’ between generations. Our own conceptions of the self, the ego, etc., on the contrary, are – as we see it – based on hard core science. Therefore, in our understanding, when they believe, we know. As I have mentioned above, to me, it is clear that our ideas about the self are constructions, and they are appearing to be real and true, because we have been confirming them over and over again so many times. In this sense, I think that our conception of the self is not less a matter of believe than the Inuit’s notion of a life soul. And conversely, the Inuit’s notion of a life soul is just as ‘scientific’ as our conception of the self. If what I just wrote makes sense, then it would also make sense to say that in the case of the conception of the self I am talking about here as ‘the self as a container’, not only can it be transformed into other conceptions of self, like for instance one that would resemble the Inuit version, and vice versa, but it also means that neither the Western nor the Inuit conception is necessarily better, more true or more real than the other. This is the ‘classical’ social constructivist description, and it helps me getting me somewhat further. However, something’s missing. I guess it lays somehow in the notion of a construction,  which for me denotes something that is already done and packaged. As if people were actually a 100 % into the construction they are living by, once they have been socialised into it, and that’s it. In the case of the construction of the self as a container, my intuition is that the people, I am observing in and around the reception class, although they are seemingly completely immersed in the ‘playing school’, in the container-self fashion, a lot of things are going on that seem to point to other conceptions of self, that are spilling over, so to speak, through cracks and fissures in the surfaces of the containers.

So how to dig deeper into these cracks and fissures, through which other conceptions of self are spilling over? I want to try out a model for thinking about these things, that I draw from a commonly tapped source, before I dig into the question of sound.

In The Matrix, there is a scene where Neo is for the first time part of the team of whatever they call themselves, and they are back in the ‘real world’, which is actually a computer generated virtual world. In this scene, the team is inside a building, and Neo sees a black cat, crossing in a hallway. A moment later, he looks back, and sees the exact same cat doing the exact same movements. He mentions this to a fellow team mate, who gets alarmed and starts shouting out orders. A moment later, all the exits of the building are blocked buy brick walls, and the team realizes that they have been caught. The explanation is that what Neo has experienced – what we in our ‘real’ world would term as a deja vu – in the logic of the movie is a sign that whoever it is who are doing the programming in this exact moment are reprogramming the program that they are part of. In this case because they are turning the building into a human trap. As I understand it, it’s a kind of tick, or glitch, that happens maybe because the CPU of the computer is overloaded. (More about deja vu and it’s significance in the Matrix here). What is going on, here, is that something we as spectators know from our everyday life experience, – a deja vu – is being used in the fiction to point to a fissure, an opening that reveals – if we interpret it right – that what we understand as real, what we perceive with our senses, in actuality is a construction.

Taken as a model to think with in connection with the question I am struggling with in this text, this model of a deja-vu-as-a-CPU-glitch needs to be stripped from some unwanted ‘attachments’. The heroes in the universe of the Matrix are obviously a very small handful of very special people, who have somehow managed to wake up and gain access to the true hidden truth behind appearances. This smells a whole lot like Marx’s false consciousness. Here, it might be useful to turn to David Graeber’s reworking of Marx’s theory and talk about partial consciousness. Graeber defines this as “[a theory] in which actors find it almost impossible to distinguish their own particular vantage on a situation from the overall structure of the situation itself. ” (Graeber (2001) An anthropological theory of value, p.60). In other words, I don’t find it fruitful to think about the access to knowledge about ‘what spills over through the cracks and fissures’ as something that only an avantgarde or elite has access to. In my case, this would mean that I, as the Researcher, with some kind of supernatural intellectual power, gained through my contact with some kind of Magical Academia, would be able to outsmart the ordinary folks, who don’t really understand what they are going around doing. I find the notion of partial consciousness much closer to the intuition I have about what’s going on in the field I am studying. Going back to the deja-vu-as-a-CPU-glitch model, it would then be from the position of Neo, that this phenomenon should be understood. Identifying and analyzing the fissures and cracks I am talking about is not, then, something that we need the expert for, but rather it is something that people are being conscious about, somehow, in their everyday lives. Although it’s not something that they are necessarily putting into words, or are acting according to. But it might be present to them, as a feeling, a longing (cf. Tim Ingold).

Now, I finally want to get to the question of sound. Since the beginning of my field study, I have made it clear to the teachers that i would maybe like to do some video recording of the children. My plan was to start by getting acquainted to the place, and to establish a good contact with the kids and adults, in order to, later, maybe introduce the camera.The problem with video is that when I think about setting up a tripod and turning on the camera, I start imagining everyone getting super conscious about it, and I imagine the kids getting super curious about what has been filmed etc. I also know, however, that once the camera is there, people usually rather quickly start forgetting it and begin to behave as if it wasn’t there. However, in this first period, I have done some experiments with audio recording. With a background as a composer, I have listened to a huge number of field recordings in the past. This time, however, since the recordings are part of a different kind of project, I started listened slightly differently to them. I started thinking about what it would mean for the people who are taking part of these activities in the reception class, if they were only to take into account what they perceived through hearing. One of the things, I started listening for, was role people’s individual quality of voice is playing. On the one hand, I noticed that there are voices that – in and off themselves – seem to push the others to respond. There is for example this girl in the class. She is 7 year old, Urdu speaking, and a total beginner in Danish. She has this high pitch voice, a little squeaky, and she speaks in this very fast, singing way. At least in two instances (out of a very limited material), I have noticed another kid imitating her voice, – even though they don’t speak the same language. On the other hand, I came to think about the likeness of voices, and the difficulty in distinguishing between them. Especially when you don’t know them well – and new kids are coming all the time, I remind you. In general, getting access to what is going on, when only listening poses the problem of knowing who does what. It gets even more complicated when we are talking about actions. When hearing a  ‘tick tick tick’ from a corner of the room, where 3 kids are sitting it is near to impossible to know who made the sound, and how.

What does this mean? Cutting off the access to visual input is also cutting off access to a lot of information, that we usually draw on, when dealing with everyday life situations. It means that we have a hard time identifying actions, especially those, of course, who do not make a sound. It also makes it difficult to find out who does what and to whom. In other words, accessing a situation by only listening to it means a blurring out of agency and identity.

Going back to my initial thoughts, what is happening to the concept of the self as a container, when we are approaching it with our ears only? What happens, I would argue, is that we are forced to take on an entirely different approach to how we can conceive of what we could talk about as the boundaries between people. The thing is, that is is not meaningful say, that when I make a sound, the sound is in me. Nor is it in you, who are listening to me. I don’t think it makes sense, either, to say that the sound is in between us. Therefore I would say that we are having a hard time insisting on the self as a container, when experiencing the self making itself present as sound. This is also probably why one of the forms of interaction in the classroom that is calling for most correctional attention from the teacher is when someone is making sound when they are not supposed to. The conception of the self as a container seems therefore to be linked with a culture that favors a visual approach to life.

What about the question of agency? Since an auditive approach to everyday life blurs out the exact identification of who did what and how to whom or what, it challenges the idea of a conscious individual self, sitting inside a well defined container, making conscious decisions. It also challenges the idea of the individual pupil as a place where a uniform, centrally orchestrated set of competences, knowledges and skills are supposed to be stuffed. In the reception class, there is a new boy. He is 9 years old, but the teachers have told me that they consider him to be mentally  at the level of a 7 year old. Or younger. And that there is probably going to be the need for a diagnosis. This idea is fully compatible with the idea of the self as a container, since there must be some kind of not fully developed self sitting inside this boy, waiting to conform to what’s expected. When considering agency as something that is embedded in a conscious self sitting in a container fenced off, so to speak from other selves, the teachers will focus on the individual actions of an individual pupil. Accessing the world primarily through vision, the tendency will be to focus on movements stemming from what we perceive as an entity in itself, with clear visual boundaries in the form of limbs and body parts attached to an individual body. Accessing the same world auditively, or at least with a more balanced ‘perceptiual mix’, would maybe push focus away from individual agency with a specific individual source, from a center in a specific container self, and open up for a different conception of agency, that we could maybe talk about as distributed or decentral. Playing with this thought, in the case of the going-to-be-diagnosed boy, an approach based on a decentral conception of self and agency would maybe not call for a reaction directed towards an individual boy, contained in a body, identifiable by specific antropometric features. If a reaction would be called for at all.

These were the words for now. I know they were probably too many. If you are still hanging on, however,  you might have something to add or comment, which I would highly appreciate. Feel free to write your comments below!

An economy of emotions and actions? Part 2 of 4

Part 2. Forging a concept: “Proposition”

(Continued from: An economy of emotions and actions? Part 1 of 4)

What I am basically trying to do here, is to find a way of talking about the processes through which ‘something new’ comes into being in a collective. I am thinking about all the small interactions, where someone is coming up with something that others will eventually take part in, somehow – or not. And I am in particular thinking about the situations where the people involved come to consider this something, someone has come up with, as valuable, in some sense.

Now, of course in order to pull this project off, there are some questions to raise. First of all, I would have to find out how to know that “something new has come into being”. I would have to find ways of pointing to specific actions that would convey that a process of becoming of some sort is actually taking place. And I would have to find a way of knowing if and how people consider this new practice or pattern of behavior valuable.

Going back to the question of coming up with something, let me develop a little on a concept I would like to talk about as ‘a proposition‘. As I see this process, what happens is that someone comes up with something, whether it be an idea for a collective activity, or a certain way of performing an action that has an implication on the group. Someone is proposing something, and then others can chose to react in whichever way, related to the proposition.

There are three points I would like to go a little into detail with in this regard.

First of all, I would like to make it crystal clear that the concept of proposition that I am developing here, does not necessarily have to do with an individual’s conscious intention. The interesting thing about these processes resides rather in the fact that the act of proposing can take place as a kind of spinoff of collective interaction. I guess I am not alone in having experienced tons of situations, where one is taking part in a collaborative process, and where new ideas seems to be spawning out of the blue, so to speak. Afterwards, it becomes very difficult to point out exactly who came up with what. The concept of proposition, in the sense I am trying to develop here, does not exclude individual intentionality. However, it is my impression that the instances of proposition that eventually will gain more weight and durability in a collective are those who have been developed in a collective process.

Another important point I would like to make has to do with intentionality itself. What I find interesting about these processes of coming up with something new in a collective is that they are not necessarily coming from what we would usually think of as goal oriented behavior. In many cases, new ideas are simply popping up by chance, or because someone made what at that point seemed to be a ‘mistake’. These kinds of generative moments are commonplace in artistic processes, especially in those who involve improvisation. The point I am trying to make is that a proposition does not have to come from some sort of problem solving setup. This doesn’t mean, however that a given let’s call it ‘spontaneously spawned’ proposition can not at a late stage help the collective solve some kind of problem.

The third point I would like to make has to do with the way in which something new pops up. I guess the standard image that one would have in mind while reading what I have said so far would be that a proposition would come in the form of verbal language. Indeed, a proposition could take the form of a spoken phrase. A kid in the reception class might thus choose to put forth a proposition to his schoolmates by uttering the words: “Let’s play superheroes. I am spiderman”. He might also simply start climbing up and down whatever is climbable in the surroundings while shooting imagined cobwebs at everyone else. These two forms of proposition are obviously sharing a lot of traits, and in the unlikely case that both would be present in a given context, it would be interesting to find out whether and how the other people’s reactions to each would differ. The verbal ‘version’ of the invitation calls for some kind of response, imposing a risk for the ‘proposer‘ of being rejected. The nonverbal version of the invitation, on the other hand, might inspire others to join, in a risk-free way, and it might also not be understood as an invitation at all. In any case, it makes sense, I would argue, not to draw a sharp line between verbal and nonverbal when it comes to these kinds of proposition.

The argument can be taken even further. The example above – an invitation to a role play – is of course rather well suited for an interpretation that would point to some kind of human agency. After experiencing the situations described, there is a chance that people observing them would independently come to a conclusion that could be expressed in the sentence: “He invites them to play”. Or: “He acts in a way that they might see as an invitation”. This is because there is a focus on what is going on in the interaction between the people involved. What I would like to do here, is to take the argument further and also include the role that things might be playing in the processes where ‘something new’ is coming up in a collective. Taking into account the role of things, – and this means also including questions of space(s), technologies, clothes, etc. – the concept of proposition I am forging out here would also serve to say something about situations, where something new occurs as a consequence of some kind of interaction between some person(s) and the things around them.

To sum it up, the concept of proposition I am working on here has to do with processes where something new is being introduced in a collective. These are processes stemming from collective interaction – although they are not excluding individual agency. They are occurring spontaneously and by chance, in a way akin to the improvisational forms of art, although they might also be linked with some form of intentionality. They can be expressed through a wide range of modalities: verbal, as well as nonverbal, and they can unfold in interactions between people as well as between people and things.

These will be my conclusions for now on this topic, and I would like to invite you to come with comments, ideas, critique and suggestions below.

The concept of proposition is of course just a first step in these processes that I am trying to understand. The question about what happens after a proposition has been made is the theme for my next blog post, where I will draw in Gebauer & Wulf and their notion of mimesis.
The theoretical framework they are proposing is very useful, I believe, to describe what could be termed the production and reproduction of sociality.

With Gebauer and Wulf, I feel I can come a long way to understand what is going on in the process where a given proposition comes to take root in a collective. In order to try to understand what is going on, when some propositions are being accepted, while others are rejected, it makes a lot of sense to draw on David Graeber’s book “Towards an anthropological theory of value”. This is what I am planning on doing in a fourth blog post.

For now: Please share your thoughts, comments, etc., below, I would sincerely appreciate that!