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[Xmca-l] Re: poverty/class
As you probably know, Korea is currently run by the neomilitaristic
scion of the previous dictator, who took power in a transparently
rigged election. No, I don't mean that Korea--I mean this one.
Park Geunhye, the daughter of our former dictator Park Cheonghi, came
to power about a year ago, first by stealing the opposition's clothes
(to be fair, they made it very easy for her by having such a very
unambitious programme to begin with). The National Intelligence
Service then flooded the country with highly creative Tweets alleging
that her opponents were soft on communism, one of those new
mobilizations of social media that you may not have heard so much
Anyway, to make a short story long, having stolen the opposition's
clothes, she is now obliged to renege on her promises in the interests
of those who financed her campaign. Now, part of this involves
reneging on a massive programme of social welfare that Koreans
desperately wanted (they deposed the mayor of Seoul in the interests
of keeping a free lunch programme, for example). But surely, one must
put something in the place of a promise of pensions, job creation
schemes, minimum wage, etc, mustn't one?
No, not really--all you have to do is babble and blather about a new
"creativity-driven economy". The "creativity driven economy" is a
pleasant way of referring to a highly unpleasant fact of life. In
South Korea, where we nominally respect the elderly (and we certainly
pay them more than the young) it soon becomes cheaper to employ four
or five young people rather than one older one. This means,
necessarily, booting out older workers around age fifty and hiring
younger ones to replace them. The older workers (and, for that atter,
younger ones who cannot find unemployment) are then given a little
handout and encouraged to "create" their own jobs.
Of course, for this to work (as a scam, I mean, it's obviously a
non-starter as a social welfare scheme), one really has to try to
inculcate the kind of "every man for himself" mentality that people
have in other countries, and that is really a bit of a poser in a
country which, although highly stratified socially, is still very
collectivistic culturally. That is where education comes in.
Consider the folllowing quotation from Halliday (2004, the Language of
Early Childhood, p. 251):
"Much of the discussion of chlidren's language development in the last
quarter of a century (Halliday is writing in 1991--DK), especially in
educational contexts, has been permeated by a particular ideological
construction of childhood. This view combines individualism,
romanticism, and what Martin calls 'childism', the Disneyfied vision
of a child that is constructed in the media and in certain kinds of
kiddielit. Each child is presented as a freestanding, autonomous
being; and learning consists in releasing and brining into flower the
latent awareness that is already there in the bud. This is the view
that was embodied in the 'creativity' and 'personal growth' models of
education by James Britton, John Dixon, and David Holbrook in Great
Britain; and more recently, from another standpoint, in the United
States in Donald Graves' conception of chldren's writing as process
and of their texts as property to be individually owned. It has been
supported theoretically first by Chomskyaninnatism and latterly by
cognitive science models which interpret learning as the acquisition
of ready0made information by some kind of independent process device."
(I omit Halliday's references).
My wife and I recently attended the Dialogic Pedagogy conference on
Bakhtin in New Zealand where these "childist" ideas were very much in
evidence, and where they were explicitly opposed to Vygotskyan ones!
At first I found this opposition rather bizarre, not least because I
had recently reviewed an excellent piece of work by our own
Wolff-Michael Roth for the Dialogic Pedagogy Journal. Roth's piece,
which you can read in the DPJ archive, had argued for the
compatibility of Bakhtin and Vygotsky (on theoretical grounds it is
true). There was also a very fine presentation by Michael Gardiner on
Bakhtin, the autonomists, and the 99/1% discourse surrounding the
Now I am starting to understand a little better. There is, actually, a
model of creativity out there which is individualistic,
entrepreneurial, anti-socialist, and even anti-social. The problem is,
it's also anti-creativity.
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
On 23 March 2014 04:26, Larry Purss <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Your comment:
> "Avram, I am not convinced that creating niche economies can in any way
> ameliorate the domination of big capital. We have to find a way to
> penetrate and subvert the sources of capitalist exploitation, rather than
> offering "alternatives,"
> suggests there may be ways to potentially penetrate and subvert "at the
> source" rather than act to *create* alternatives.
> I have wondered if my utopian sympathies which show my curiosity with
> exploring *alternatives* can be viewed as *living experiments* or *living
> laboratories* where alternative life styles and attitudes are generated and
> It must be my personal experiences with *alternate communities* which have
> attempted to actualize their ideal alternatives. I must admit, most of
> these experiments are failures. However Cultural Historical Theory
> developed in an *alternate setting* and Dewey and Mead in Chicago gathered
> together a committed group with shared ideals.
> In order to penetrate capitalism *at its source* may require demonstrating
> other ways of life as experiments which express other *values*. Some of
> these alternative approaches will include *alternative community*.
> The current discussion on the drift of *university departments*
> suggests alternative forms of gathering may need to come into existence to
> express alternative *values* However I also accept this *hope* may be naïve
> and not grounded in recognition of the depth of capitalist ideology which
> co-ops ALL utopian ideals. Therefore the requirement to subvert the
> To once again return to Alex Kozulin's book which is expressing a theme.
> He is exploring the *double-faceted* nature of consciousness and suggests
> "interpretive or metacognitive function [aspect?] of consciousness may have
> an AUTONOMY from REGULATIVE AND CONTROLLING functions.
> I wonder if this *autonomy* can extend to *alternative communities* forming
> to express alternative *values*?
> On Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 7:50 PM, Andy Blunden <email@example.com> wrote:
>> One of the themes of the correlation you mention, Mike, is the focus on
>> "the creative industries." There are theories about the way cities can
>> escape from their rust-bucket depression by promoting "the creative
>> industries." These include software development (e.g. computer games),
>> advertising, packaging and fashion. That's probably fine for urban renewal,
>> except for the artists who get booted out of their old warehouses which get
>> done up for the expected "creative industries," but where it's has a big
>> negative impact in the academy is in the "critical sciences." People
>> involved in social and political criticism are suddenly faced with
>> imperatives to serve the "creative industries." So feminist, philosophical
>> and political critiques, which were surviving by a thread, now have to
>> educate software makers who are building computer games or artists who are
>> designing advertisements all in the name of needing to support the
>> "creative industries."
>> Avram, I am not convinced that creating niche economies can in any way
>> ameliorate the domination of big capital. We have to find a way to
>> penetrate and subvert the sources of capitalist exploitation, rather than
>> offering "alternatives," I think. Capitalism can do perfectly well without
>> a certain percentage of the world's population who find an "alternative".
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> mike cole wrote:
>>> So my noticing of the fascination and promotion of "culture and
>>> creativity" discourse, design schools, and neoliberalism may be more than a
>>> symptom of failing eyesight?
>>> On Friday, March 21, 2014, Avram Rips <firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:
>>> email@example.com>> wrote:
>>> The problem is the connection between people alienated from their
>>> labor, or no labor and building a new democratic structure- that
>>> can happen in a small scale , and spread out to new modes of
>>> production away from the destruction of capital-such as chiapas
>>> and taking over factories in Argentina.
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Andy Blunden" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
>>> Sent: Friday, March 21, 2014 8:35 AM
>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: poverty/class
>>> Yes, it seems to me that the burgeoning inequality created by
>>> neoliberalism is a situation crying out for imaginative social
>>> entrepreneurship, i.e., social movement building. It is good
>>> to hear that the 1/99 protests have generated talk about
>>> inequality, but that in itself does not create a solution,
>>> does it?
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
>>> Avram Rips wrote:
>>> Innovation and entrepreneurship in some ways means
>>> capital crowding out social space and solidarity. This is
>>> evident in cities-whole neighborhoods taken over by
>>> wealthy crafts people, and little focus on co-operative
>>> movements for working class people-where a new focus on
>>> participatory democracy can be developed ,and working
>>> class culture in the Gramscian sense. take care! Avram
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "mike cole"
>>> To: "Andy Blunden" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>> Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
>>> Sent: Friday, March 21, 2014 12:31 AM
>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: poverty/class
>>> Andy--- My intent in the garbled sentence you query
>>> was to suggest that the
>>> discourse in the US around vicious inequalities has
>>> increased markedly in
>>> the past year in tandem with a kind of frenzy in those
>>> parts of academia I
>>> come in contact with about "design, culture, and
>>> creativity" all of which
>>> are linked to innovation and entrepreneurship. I very
>>> interested in the
>>> nature of imagination and creativity but I they often
>>> appear to be new code
>>> words for social and individual salvation in a lean,
>>> mean, neo-liberal
>>> Maybe just another of my confusions.
>>> On Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 6:14 PM, Andy Blunden
>>> <email@example.com> wrote:
>>> Mike, could you clarify a little your comment
>>> below ...
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> mike cole wrote:
>>> ... My fear that is appearance is
>>> non-accidentally rated to explosion of
>>> concern about poverty/class (the 1%/99% idea
>>> has become ubiquitous in