[OPE] horizontalism and the socialist intelligentsia

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Sun Apr 05 2009 - 06:43:05 EDT


As somebody who originally got degrees in education, I am a bit doubtful about the extent to which I can actually create certain relationships among learners simply by means of my own pedagogic method. Some relationships are already there and given, and so mainly you can only modify and add to something which is already there. Some things ought to be vertical, other horizontal.

I haven't taught class for 18 years, so I cannot say a lot about it, though I am sympathetic to your argument. There is a wiki article on it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizontalidad but it does not go into much detail. Marx said "the educator must be educated himself" and so I went ahead with that project instead.

The concept of "listening" is suspect, because in managerial psycho-babble, it just means that "you should listen to your superior and act accordingly, period" in which case "listening" is just about a regime of obedience: it is implied "you will listen to me, but I have no obligation to listen to you".

The original meaning of dialectics is "dialogue" which occurs rationally speaking on the basis of some shared premises. "Dialogue" means that we are listening to each other, and for this purpose we must at least credit each other with something. In an egalitarian dialogue, we accept that the same standards of discourse apply to all participants. However this presumes that all participants can meet those standards, or that the standards are set such that all can participate; consequently egalitarian dialogue cannot really be separated from the question of how we would improve the standard of dialogue.

One of the main cultural developments, I think especially from the 1990s onwards, is the enormous expansion of the practice of "using communication processes themselves as a means for asserting power and manipulating people", both through the form and the content of the message communicated. It's strongly influenced by the feminization of culture.

Obviously this has always occurred to some or other extent - even when I was a young student, people were talking about the techniques of persuasion and seduction used in television advertisements - but in my experience it has become much more pervasive and accepted, even at street level.

Obviously it makes style just as important as substance, since the style affects how we are relating, and how we are relating will influence whether we will communicate successfully at all, or whether we will shut off. A sort of negotiation occurs, where, if the message is not given in a certain form, the content will not transmit.

In my own pedagogic philosophy, I think we should never fetishize any particular method, but try to use the method most appropriate to the given kind of problem, goal or context. One topic I am working on from time to time is the notion of hierarchy - I will send you a copy of what I write down when I have done it


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Received on Sun Apr 5 06:44:58 2009

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