Posts Tagged ‘Actor-Network Theory’

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DASTS 2010

June 10, 2010

Today and tomorrow I am attending the DASTS 2010 conference (Danish Association of Science and Technology Studies) held at our university (The Danish School of Education, Aarhus University). Today’s keynote speaker was Tara Fenwick who has just (2010) published a new book together with Richard Edwards “Actor-Network Theory in Education”. I personally look forward to reading that. Fenwick’s presentation gave a nice overview of some of the work that has been done to combine educational research and ANT. I found it particularly interesting to hear about the contributions from ANT to educational research and education, and the contributions from educational research to ANT, which Fenwick sees.

Today’s sessions also included a couple of interesting speeches on the one-laptop per child initiative from researchers Jan Sølberg and Lars Bo Andersen who have been visiting Nigerian schools.

Their speeches reminded me of the influential work of Helen Verran who has worked “with Yoruba West African and Yolngu Aboriginal Australian thinkers to puzzle about how to go beyond European Enlightenment understandings in re-imagining knowing nature”. (Source: Verran’s homepage)

It seems to me that there is much really interesting work going on at present within Danish Science and Technology Studies. Just to mention a few other issues that where presented: interesting work-in-progress speeches by Cathrine Hasse about teaching/educational robots and the (inter)relations between human and robotic learning and Torben Elgaard Jensen about approaches to user-driven innovation, how the field of STS has contributed to conceptualizations of users and thoughts on more recent generations of what he called  “the new user?”

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PhD thesis and defense

May 20, 2010

Yihaa, I am defending my PhD thesis on 3 June 2010. See and download the announcement here at the Danish Association of Science and Technology Studies’ homepage. Hope to see you at the defense :-).

Download the thesis: Hansbøl, Mikala (2009) Researching Relationships between ICTs and Education: Suggestions for a Science ‘of’ Movements, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University

I just stumpled upon this fun blogpost about different ways to conduct PhD defenses in the world. This is actually kind of interesting.

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Interessant STS/ANT litteratur på dansk

July 2, 2008

Christopher Gad har skrevet et utroligt interessant paper “En postplural attitude”, som kan findes og downloades på Center for STS-studiers hjemmeside: http://sts.imv.au.dk/arbejdspapirer/WP5.pdf.

Herudover kan jeg varmt anbefale enhver der ønsker at vide mere om STS og ANT at læse bogen “Introduktion til STS: Science, Technology, Society”. Bogen er udkommet fra Hans Reitzels Forlag i 2007, og er redigeret af Casper Bruun Jensen, Peter Lauritsen & Finn Olesen. Se bogposter her: http://sts.imv.au.dk/events/STSBogPoster.pdf.

I øvrigt kan jeg anbefale dig at besøge Center for STS-studiers hjemmeside, hvor du bl.a. finder link til Casper Bruun Jensens STS-resource (fra 2004) med referencer til centrale værker i og omkring STS: http://sts.imv.au.dk/Onlinetekster.html

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Where am I heading with the thesis?

April 21, 2008

In my PhD research, I’m trying to study e-learning and ICTs in everyday living, and at the same time I’ve become engaged in reconfiguration of the field of research called e-learning. I didn’t start out with the latter ambition, however my research interest “studying learning movements across virtual and physical context of activity in everyday living” (today, of course, I understand all the words and their implications and entanglements differently) led me to a makeup of empirical materials and analyses that became entangled with the accomplishments of not only e-learning in relation to education but also the field of e-learning research.

 

In my effort to write about these ‘things’, I’ve recently found great inspiration in ANT (Actor-Network-Theory). ICTs and E-learning in Denmark (and many other places, I believe) is mostly understood as matters of simply human/organizational/institutional bodies applying and using technical ‘bodies’/entities (represented as ICTs understood as carrying learning potentials) for educational purposes. Therefore, when the different ‘bodies’ are in place, all we need to do is make e-learning take place and thus realize its inherent learning potentials (squarely put). This is what the recent Danish National E-learning Strategy claims. However, I suggest, that ICTs and e-learning may be understood as the result off rather than the beginning of socio-material (dis-)engagements, movements and relations(hips) (which are also to be viewed as continuously on the move – altering and being altered) enacted through everyday livings. In other words I try to move ICTs and e-learning from some ‘things’ in themselves causing things to happen (having effects/impact) to something being and becoming as the result of a lot of sociomaterial engagements and workings.

 

Inspired by especially Marilyn Strathern’s work and Bruno Latour’s work, I analyze, explore, and enact the forms and matters of ICTs and e-learning in everyday living in different (from ‘conventional’ e-learning research literature) ways that shed light on some of the ways in which both ICTs, learning, and their relations; as well as the spaces, times, and agencies, that become involved with and related to ICTs and learning, may be viewed as continuously on the move through everyday translations.

 

In education there seems to be a quest for educating towards the Knowledge Age society and its inherent demand for future competencies, knowledge worker skills etc. Often this quest in e-learning literature becomes depicted through a paradigm shift, imagined as an educational movement of progression from instructivism towards (social) constructivism with each ism’s having their own naturally related learning/development theories (representing worldviews) and belonging educational instructional practices.

 

In other words, e-learning research and education in the 21st century in Denmark (as well as in many other Euro-American societies) is taken for granted as the natural pursuit of a particular imaginary of the 21st century Knowledge Age society and its inherent educational practices. This imaginary (existing in many different variations) with its background assumptions becomes the background (I argue) against which educations and their ‘e-learning readiness’ is evaluated, and many educations become depicted as in a state of non-development. I call this (inspired by R. P. McDermott) the acquisition of educations by an e-learning disability. I suggest that in order to see the daily movements and entanglements, we need to understand the contexts of research as well as its forms and matters – times, spaces and agencies – differently. Part of this involves engaging with an analytic strategy that emphasizes uncertainty and questions the taken-for-granted-institutions and identities of everyday livings (including times, spaces and agencies of everyday living).  

 

Through the concept of everyday living (which I understand as also on the move and realized through sociomaterial relationships, engagements and movements), and with great inspiration from Marilyn Strathern’s ideas presented in her book “Partial Connections”, the imaginary of the living world as fractal, ANT as symmetrical research (to begin with), Latour’s metaphor of phantom publics, and emphasis on ‘things’ as sociomaterially engaged and engaging actor-networks – events – complicated assemblages of assemblies (actors) that dissemble – I have found great sources of inspiration that have fundamentally taken part in reworking my previous engagements, imaginaries, relationships and movements with ‘the’ research field and practices of e-learning. 

 

One of Marilyn Strathern’s arguments is that research should maybe be much less about knowledge and much more about variations of engagements and relationships. The same (I believe) can be said about learning. Coming from the Danish University School of Education, it seems quite persuasive that ‘suddenly’ the whole world becomes matters of learning. Matters of learning, is what everything seems to be all about. I think that Strathern’s argument about engagements and relationships is extremely important. When studying everyday engagements and relationships it becomes quite obvious that not everything is about learning and knowledge. Everyday living is about being and becoming. And, especially, it becomes clear that the ‘packages’ of knowledge and learning in which observations of learning and knowledge often come, take part in producing the makeup of rather than simply describing the everyday movements and entanglements that we seek to study and become more knowledgeable about.

The thesis will be written in English. 

 

Please feel free to comment the above. I’m still in the process of formulating ‘things’, and maybe I need to reconsider my ways of explaining my research. Any comment (in Danish as well as English) will be gratefully accepted. Regarding content, disagreements, misunderstandings, misinterpretations, unclear formulations, things to reconsider, to be added etc. Thanks 🙂

     

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e.g. Hansbøl, Mikala: “Where am I heading with the thesis”, published at Mikala’s Klumme – A researcher’s blog: https://mikalasklumme.wordpress.com/2008/04/21/where-am-i-heading-with-the-thesis/ Version April 21, 2008.