Thursday, September 18, 2008

knowledge as a (gather)thing CCK08

There's a similarity between connectivism, rhizomatic learning and actor-network theory. Each places knowledge within a relational context or network.
The difference with actor network theory is that it
1. emphasises knowledge as a performance involving both human and non-human entities.
2. emphasises the work involved to gather together entities that make certain things more or less substantial.
The difference is the degree to which ANT is prepared to name non human influences as integral.
In doing this course, I needed a computer and/or a cell phone preferably with web access. I am enhanced when connected to my laptop= my reach is extended; my ability to hear and to share across the globe made possible with broadband access and the Internet. I am also able to trust to my outsourced memory contact with artefacts of seminal writings (Latour, Law, Mol, Haraway as well as those of Dave Cormiens, George Siemens, Stephen Downes, Deleuze and Guattari, Gregory Bateson...). I am able to access more- the libraries of the world through other relationships i have, and I get to quickly find relevance by maintaining an endnote library reference system at my fingertips. In addition to these interactions which are substantially non human, I get to talk to others similarly connected with similar accoutrements.
And according to Latour, the more actors involved in such a gathering the more 'it' (knowledge or a particular practice) is stabilised. And becomes harder to ignore, or to go outside of, or to change.
Understanding the relational qualities of what is both shaped and shaping allows for insights into what is needed to make things otherwise...

(And hence my PhD on change with emergent technologies in a Youth counselling centre)

In taking this stance, I disagree with Stephen Downes that knowledge is nothing (elluminate talk), it is far too powerful a 'thing' to be discounted out of hand. But I take him to really be meaning that it is no(one)thing.
Knowledge is a shapeshifter.
And I am cyborg :)

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