Critiquing digital dualism in Higher Education: a posthuman / sociomaterial account of student entanglements with technologies - Lesley Gourlay, Martin Oliver
critiquing digitaldualism: asociomaterial accountof studententanglements withtechnologiesLesley Gourlay & Martin OliverInstitute of Education@lesleygourlay #TtW13 #d2
overviewdigital mediation and textual practicesproblems with dualismmultimodal journalling findings
‘the university’ isenacted through day-to-dayentanglementsclustered aroundtexts
texts and semioticpractices are elided incontemporary accountsof the university,rendered transparent,‘innocent’ repositories,stripped of situatedness,materiality andembodiment
textual practices in theuniversity are saturatedwith digital mediation,entanglements withdevices, and hybriddomains
Material campus saturated with digital mediationStatus of ‘face-to-face’ placed in radical doubt(Gourlay 2012)Posthuman (Hayles 1999) nature of meaning-making practices
Reflexive relationship between textual media andknowledge practices in higher education (Kittler2004)Need to explore ramifications of devices & digitallymediated semiotic practices on meaning making
sociomaterialperspectivesActor Network Theory (e.g. Latour 2005)Sociomateriality (e.g. Fenwick et al 2011).
‘If you can, with a straight face, maintain thathitting a nail with and without a hammer, boilingwater with and without a kettle...are exactly thesame activities, that the introduction of thesemundane implements change nothing importantto the realisation of tasks, then you are ready totransmigrate to the Far Land of the Social anddisappear from this lowly one.’(Latour 2005: 71)
the study2-year UK government-fundedprojecthttp://diglitpga.jiscinvolve.org/1st year: student researchFocus groupsLongitudinal multimodaljournalling2nd year: implementationprojectsStaff longitudinal journallingChanges to structures andsystems
Spaces,places andtimes• Making, not just finding, places for study ‘Digital literacies’ as coping strategy• Managing the separation and integration of personal, professional and study places Email accounts Printers in schools Social networks etc
Too close for comfortThe only thing I struggle with, like I just mentioned itearlier before, is the issue of like keeping yourprivate life separate from your work life because Ithink increasingly the two, youre being forced tokind of mush the two together.Because like [college name] used to have its ownemail server and it would provide you with an email.Now it’s provided by Gmail and it’s like everybodyknows that Gmail is the nosiest thing in the worldand tracks absolutely everything you do. And […]Im a little bit uncomfortable with the idea that mywork email knows what shopping I do and, you knowwhat I mean? I just find the whole thing is starting toget a little bit scary.
A library transformed Materiality, ephemerality, digitisation, inscription, mobility ‘Curation’ of multimodal texts… for example when I attend a lecture or a session Ialways record the session, and it’s after the session,but sometimes I listen to the lecture again to confirmmy knowledge or reflect the session...when I, forexample we’re writing an essay and I haveto...confirm what the lecturer said, I could confirmwith the recording data. (Yuki Interview 1)
Yuki’s booksFrom print to digital and backagain
“The bathroom is a good place toread” Too close for comfort, or close enough to be comfortable? Digitally connected texts in a very embodied setting – neither ‘virtual’ nor ‘real’ (Jurgenson 2012)
implicationsUndermines ‘commonsense’ binaries ofuser/device andmaterial/virtualDestabilises notions ofsingle, stable, humanauthorship and agencyNeed for theoreticaldevelopment to accountfor posthuman semioticpractices andsubjectivities ineducation
Fenwick, T., Edwards, R. & Sawchuck, P. (2011). Emerging Approaches ofEducational Research: Tracing the Sociomaterial. London: Routledge.Gourlay, L. (2012) Cyborg ontologies and the lecturers voice: aposthuman reading of the face-to-face, Learning, Media and Technology37 (2), 198-211.Hayles, N. (1999). How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies inCybernetics, Literature and Informatics. London: University of ChicagoPress.JISC (2012) Digital Literacies as a Postgraduate Attribute?http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearning/developingdigitalliteracies/DigLitPGAttribute.aspx [Accessed 30 June 2012]Kittler, F. (2004). Universities: wet, hard, soft, and harder. Critical Enquiry31(1): 244-255.Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.