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Re: [xmca] Lave and McDermott (w/ Bauman link)

Thank you for this link and the notion of "liquid modernity"
 He also wrote this passage

The passage from 'solid' to 'liquid' modernity has created a new and
unprecedented setting for individual life pursuits, confronting individuals
with a series of challenges never before encountered. Social forms and
institutions no longer have enough time to solidify and cannot serve as
frames of reference for human actions and long-term life plans, so
individuals have to find other ways to organise their lives. They have to
splice together an unending series of short-term projects and episodes that
don't add up to the kind of sequence to which concepts like 'career' and
'progress' could meaningfully be applied. Such fragmented lives require
individuals to be flexible and adaptable - to be constantly ready and
willing to change tactics at short notice, to abandon commitments and
loyalties without regret and to pursue opportunities according to their
current availability. In liquid modernity the individual must act, plan
actions and calculate the likely gains and losses of acting (or failing to
act) under conditions of endemic uncertainty.

This notion and explanation of why we can no longer can find or develop
"common ground" [earth metaphor] BECAUSE of liquid modernity [water
metaphor] seems to be central to the way out of this mess. The  "hope" that
there are alternative values to respond to LIQUID values seems to be a
central question that needs answering.
Thanks Tony


On Sun, Oct 30, 2011 at 3:35 PM, Tony Whitson <twhitson@udel.edu> wrote:

> I guess I should have included a link, so here is one:
> http://www.amazon.com/**Consuming-Life-Zygmunt-Bauman/**dp/0745640028/<http://www.amazon.com/Consuming-Life-Zygmunt-Bauman/dp/0745640028/>
> On Sun, 30 Oct 2011, Tony Whitson wrote:
> This may be of relevance:
>> Bauman, Zygmunt. 2007. /Consuming life/. Malden, MA: Polity.
>> With the advent of liquid modernity, the society of producers is
>> transformed into a society of consumers. In this new consumer society,
>> individuals become simultaneously the promoters of commodities and the
>> commodities they promote. They are, at one and the same time, the
>> merchandise and the marketer, the goods and the travelling salespeople.
>> They all inhabit the same social space that is customarily described by the
>> term the market.
>> The test they need to pass in order to acquire the social prizes they
>> covet requires them to recast themselves as products capable of drawing
>> attention to themselves. This subtle and pervasive transformation of
>> consumers into commodities is the most important feature of the society of
>> consumers. It is the hidden truth, the deepest and most closely guarded
>> secret, of the consumer society in which we now live.
>> In this new book Zygmunt Bauman examines the impact of consumerist
>> attitudes and patterns of conduct on various apparently unconnected aspects
>> of social life politics and democracy, social divisions and stratification,
>> communities and partnerships, identity building, the production and use of
>> knowledge, and value preferences.
>> The invasion and colonization of the web of human relations by the
>> worldviews and behavioural patterns inspired and shaped by commodity
>> markets, and the sources of resentment, dissent and occasional resistance
>> to the occupying forces, are the central themes of this brilliant new book
>> by one of the worlds most original and insightful social thinkers.
>> On Sun, 30 Oct 2011, Julian Williams wrote:
>> Andy, Larry
>>> I was indeed 'inspired' by the Lave and McDermott article: the
>>> methodology is seductive, and generative metaphor is a powerful means
>>> sometimes to gain insights.
>>> But what took me to that article and forced me to work with it was in
>>> the end the need to understand learners' alienation from learning (and so
>>> themselves) in schooling. L&M say that schools take (by force) everything
>>> from the learner -  in the same way that capital takes everything from
>>> labour, and gives back nothing -  and so the analogy begins...
>>> Let me tell a story - I talked to a student from a well-to-do
>>> stock-broker background (where expectations on him seemed high)  who got
>>> into a university Physics course ... I asked him where/how he got his
>>> interest in Physics... he said he wasnt really interested in Physics, but
>>> he chose it because 'it would look good' on his CV/ resume and 'especially
>>> from a top university like this'. This is the kind of extreme case of
>>> alienation in schooling/academe that interested me.
>>> But the L&M analogy is not - I found -  theoretically satisfactory:
>>> hence my journey back to Marx from 1844 to 1867... If I am right then the
>>> use/exchange contradiction arises not JUST (and not essentially) from the
>>> forced conditions of learning in school, and the 'competition' between
>>> learners etc., but from the fact that the learner is preparing themselves
>>> to labour, and so they are working on developing themselves as 'labour
>>> power' for the labour market, i.e. to sell themselves to capital ('labour
>>> power' is the commodity-proper).  This is not just consumtpion, it is a
>>> particular kind of consumption of education for a future role as exploited
>>> (also exploiter) ... . I am still working on this and expect to still be
>>> plodding away until ... well, for a while...
>>> In the MCA paper I told how I began to find Bourdieu's work useful in
>>> fleshing out the notion of 'educational/cultural capital' in the analysis
>>> of schooling: I am still at this idea. I think that this 'educational
>>> capital' may also have a kind of 'educational use/exchange value' type of
>>> contradiction. Of course here we have a problem of terminology and it is
>>> important to distinguish between Marx's analysis of commodity proper and
>>> the terms Bourdieu uses for 'capital' in the cultural fields....
>>> Larry - I agree that 'values' is what is at stake here ...
>>> julian
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