Tuesday, August 19, 2008

sustaining change in the hinterland

I have been (re)reading John Law(2004) After method; Mess in social science research.
He argues for a reconstruction/deconstruction of current research methods. In doing this he also identifies how in science

"statements do not idly freewheel in mid-air, or drop from heaven. They come from somewhere....but without support from other statements or inscriptions of an appropriate provenance they do not go very far. So we might put it this way; if a statement is to last it needs to draw on- and perhaps contribute to- an appropriate hinterland. "

He then elaborates further describing elements in this hinterland:
A part of the hinterland of a statement is other related statements. Is it consistent with these? Do they tend to support it? If the answer is yes' then they tend to add to its authority...or toare there inscriptions that endorse or support such as might be emboddied in figures etc to which such statements might be compared and where such a relationship between ideas or inscriptions tend to reinforce one another. When this is the case the authority of a statement increases. Where this is not the case the statement is likely to enter the limbo of the might have beens.

I was thinking he could have been explaining the acceptance or not of ideas more widely.
He might have extended this to change generally.
It got me thinking of Freud (Ok, maybe i need to get out more...and I am pretty sure Law would be surprised by such an outcome for his work also). However, Freud initially accepted the stories of his clients of sexual abuse and it was only after the disparaging reception in a hinterland of disbelief and impossibility that his views changed and he developed theory relating to 'hysterical women'.

Maybe it takes a readiness in the hinterland for an idea to take hold and grow, its very difficult to sustain when there is no support for it. Similarly sustaining a new practice needs scaffolding of support...

There's the moment in the youtube video of web 2.0 where a nest is being built and it seems any sustained change is like this, it requires attachment and stability provided by other like minded or ready minded.
As Leadbetter says in his video, ideas take life when they are shared (what he doesnt say is that only when the sharing occurs in a ready hinterland where it can get a purchase on others- or on other things).
"Its like building a birdsnest where everyone leaves their piece" 'cept the material semiotics of what the bird, the birds partner, the twigs, trees, technologies, wind, rain, storm or sunshine, airplanes, food sources, local industry... are doing also need to be included. Hence an argument for taking an ANT approach to get a better understanding and a possibility for deliberately effecting change.

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