RE: foucault on slavery and politics --Psych/physical tools?

Date: Wed Mar 23 2005 - 15:32:11 PST


Having personal interest in learning and developing theories, I am not
qualified to say "if the issue of destruction has been quite well
addressed." I take your word for it. I know in other fields it is not the

In general, my interest is in evaluating kinds of social changes that occur
in the field of human services (programs, clients, funders, community).
Evaluation being a kind of 'learning' practices that can generate useful
local knowledge to assist program development (rather than its dominant role
as data collection police in 'performance management', 'best practices', and
other disciplining technologies used by a centralized power).

Destructive power as a force is more seen having a negative function for its
shifting effects, rather than theorizing the utility of it. Obviously, any
destructive force, for its shifting effects, comes with a political
authority that legitimates both its use and effects. Put differently, there
is a need for a sovereign to say "this destruction is good for you."


-----Original Message-----
From: David Preiss []
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2005 5:30 AM
Subject: RE: foucault on slavery and politics --Psych/physical tools?


I think that the reference to learning is very interesting. But my
intuition runs in the opposite way. It seems to me that all the great
and insightfull developmentalists have made of change the main topic of
their research and have challenged the classic cohort kind studies and
their experimental versions of it (the kind of studies that say 5.3
monts babys do this which 5.2 months babys could not). Vygotsky
addressed the issue of change via the concept of ZPD. Piaget through the
problem of cognitive adaptation (the dialectic between assimilation and
accomodation), Bruner has made of socialization a tool of cognitive
change as has done Nelson. So has done Siegler through his mycrogenetic
studies. So, I think the issue of destruction has been quite well

David Preiss
Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile:
PACE Center at Yale University:
Phone: 56-2-3547174
Fax: 56-2-354-4844

-----Original Message-----
From: IRAJ IMAM []
Sent: Tuesday, March 22, 2005 5:15 PM
Subject: RE: foucault on slavery and politics --Psych/physical tools?

"This is also related to Yrjo's idea of development as "breakikng away."
There is a real dialectical dilema ... One the one hand, a newborn is
helpless and must be "enculturated" ... but in order for there to be
adaptive/transformative change,... there must be creation of the new, a
"going beyond" that destroys at least part of what nurtured it."

Mike, I am not familiar with Yrjo's idea. But one utility of a paradox
is that it forces us to think about its contradictory process, from
which an outcome emerges. As you show, learning involves both production
(of something new) and destruction (of something old). Not knowing much
about learning theories, there seems to be much more attention being
paid to the production side of the learning and not much to the
destruction side (there is a similar mapping in spatial and economic
theories). Put differently, the 'value' of destruction is under
estimated in the process of change. How do you teach people to "break
away?"(perhaps military training/learning is an exception. They make it
clear from the beginning that this is not home or school, forget what
you know, you know nothing, we teach you the real stuff). And that is an
example of someone else is destroying something in us, in order to plant
his. Is there a self-determined model of destruction in learning? Does
ZPD provide a space for it?

On the production side for innovation, Nonaka suggests an interesting
model for new knowledge production and adult/organizational learning
(based on innovative companies in Japan and the US).

He seems to suggest a sort of ZPD for nurturing newborn ideas. Using
Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida, he suggests one must provide "ba"
--a shared and caring space--for the new ideas to develop from tacit
forms of knowledge to explicit ones.


Perhaps we need to add Freud and Luke Skywalker to the discussion? (A
thought brought about by another of my kin, the 6 year old variety).

On Tue, 22 Mar 2005 09:56:24 -0800, IRAJ IMAM <>
> "a stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true

> politician binds them even more strongly by the chain of thier own
> ideas....this link is all the stronger in that we do not know of what
> it is made and we believe it to be our own work."
> -----
> Thanks Mike for sharing.
> This is a good example of utilizing [your] categories of 'physical'
> and 'psychological' tools, and evaluating their effectiveness from the

> stand point of ruling over people. Two social technologies of control:

> Capture their body by physical force and assuming that the mind is
> captured too
> use of torture). Or, capturing their minds and assuming that their
> bodies will follow (eg, advertisements/propaganda of all sorts). In
> fact, all social spaces use both technologies.
> Looking at it spatially, the question becomes 'where' to start--from
> the physical/real space or the virtual/imagined space of people. Since

> both spaces are interconnected in our activities, the question then
> becomes
> learning (and performing). Perhaps similar 'learning' targets and
> social technologies are involved in empowering and in enslaving.
> One tends to destroy the old learning and produce a new one in an
> social space. The other also tends to destroy the existing and
> it with a new learning. the difference is the former is open and
> reflective--thus empowering and self-determined. The other has to
> remain seductive, hidden, and must produce a deceptive space in order
> to work.
> it needs to produce two spaces: one that appears self-determined to
> the 'user' while the other is producing a captured (but hidden) social

> space (eg, The Matrix).
> This just seemed related to the prior discussion about
> 'empowering/enslaving' learning spaces in classrooms.
> iraj imam
> The Center for Applied Local Research
> 5200 Huntington Ave., Suite 200 Richmond, CA 94804
> Telephone: (510) 558-7932 FAX: (510) 558-7940
> e-mail:
> Web:
> "The defence of free speech begins at the point when people say
> something you can't stand. If you can't defend their right to say it,
> then you don't believe in free speech." Salman Rushdie, 7/2/2005

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