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Re: [xmca] Development of development

Certainly Larry, Habermas is a great and creative writer and a study of the concepts he uses is very rewarding. I do think though that we can see in his work why it is that he has become a liberal. When I read any social philosopher I always ask myself how the writer sees the *constellation of artefacts* and the network of *normative practices* which constitute the world, and the relation between the two, and the place of the individual in there. My judgment that he takes material culture as a mere resource leads me to see why he became a liberal. But that doesn't prevent a more productive appropriation of his insights.


Larry Purss wrote:
I've been reading J.M.Bernstein [Recovering the Ethical Life: Jurgen Habermas and the Future of Critical Theory] (1995) Bernstein explains rationalization processes as focussed on proceduralism. A move from judgements to formal procedures advance rationality because it works against arbritariness. Insofar as anything is only individual or unique it is mere contingency, and from the perspective of rationality is arbitrary.
The ideal of  instrumental rationality
How this looks in schools is the institutional requirement to organize our activity through rules that apply universally to all the "members" or "students". Any unique person can be SUBSTITUTED for another unique person and the rationalization process will implicate the persons as both alike as "students". In a lifeworld [as I interpret it] one's unique subjectivity is recognized by another unique subjectivity and the resulting intersubjective engagement is open-ended and part of a lifeworld of lived experience. The traditional notion of institutionalized rationality includes the economic rationality of the marketplace and the political rationality of the state. Martin's description of how The Federal government and the state government imposed rationalized structural changes at Willow Run are an example of privileging rational "procedures" of school change in opposition to the development of local unique changes that supported the teachers and community maintaining a dialogical pattern of interaction. Andy, when I read the Fleer and Hedegaard article their school setting [in Australia] has so many similarities to the schools I work in [in Canada]. The concept of rationalization as proceduralism that constructs settings that are ALIKE in places as far apart as Australia and Canada [and negates the unique particularism of each situation] is the hallmark of schools as systems. Now they view development as a revolutionary process as children become "students" who are expected to follow specific procedures and maintain a good "attitude". The transformation in moving from the family "lifeworld" where all the participants are intimately implicated in each others experience as they constantly move throughout the house, into rationalized schools bursts the lifeworld. The resulting "kind of person" that develops in these rationalized contexts acquires an attitude that is "flexible" and "self-contained" and "independent". Now the question I ask is it possible to mitigate these rationalized procedural ways to structure institutions [and develops rationalized kinds of persons] by supporting relational connections among the persons who are living in these school structures. There are individual teachers who do create more intimate relational classroom environments, [lifeworlds] but there are also many classrooms where rational proceduralism dominates the relations among the students. I don't view these various structural ways of relating as only the "background circumstances" in which individuals navigate their individual paths through the school setting. Rationalized structures create institutions that create particular types of developmental pathways which develop particular "kind of persons". This may not be the meaning that Habermas tried to articulate, but it is my "reading" as I respond to Martin's use of Habermas's term "lifeworld". Another term that is relevant to Weber's notion of rationalized procedures is his recognition of "disenchanting the world" {Berman has written a fascinating book "The Re-enchantment of the World" that is a history of this process} Re-enchanting the world is re-recognizing the centrality of the imaginal in lifeworlds and the devaluing the imaginal in rationalized institutions. Wolfgang Isser {who Martin recommended reading} describes "knowing" as a triangle with the "imaginal" and the "real" being MEDIATED by the FICTIONAL that transforms the imaginal to the real. [Isser was a student of Gadamer] Andy, I am not well grounded in these traditions [such as hermeneutics] but when I read Martin's linking cultural historical notions with writers such as Isser, H. Whyte, and Gadamer its an area I want to explore further. Larry

Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435 Skype andy.blunden An Interdisciplinary Theory of Activity: http://www.brill.nl/scss

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