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CSI Project 
Socio-materialism – some 
thoughts to its applicability 
as a lens for 
analysis/Confessions of a 
“socio-mat...
From Reconceptualising Professional 
Learning (eds Fenwick and Nerland, 2014) 
• “constitutive entanglement of the social ...
Cont. 
• “these approaches all tend to show how 
materiality is relational and distributed within 
webs of thought and act...
Cont. 
• “in fact, rather than asking what kinds of 
cognitive processes and conceptual structures 
are involved, research...
Cont. 
• Practice-based research encompasses the 
range of practical resources that people bring 
to bear in the accomplis...
From previous CSI presentations and 
publications … 
• A focus on the material was both intentional 
Maps, on-line learnin...
Salience of place 
The way I defined a community was very broad and I honestly 
did not consider the definition to be broa...
Salience of place 
GROUP N: Transcending Boundaries! 
Left to right: Fundiswa Seti , Nina Rossouw (A), Tembela Mgini, Simo...
Technology as part of practices 
Conclusion 
In a multi-dimensional society, it is important to embrace 
that people, even...
Salience of Technology 
The Stellenbosch part of the 
group did the work, while the 
UWC part was sitting back, 
trusting ...
Salience of Technology 
The most important progress that was made though was 
the attempt to equalize status as much as po...
The material as part of ‘practices’ 
UWC social work student had done the practice of 
PowerPoint for a single hour, which...
Remaining questions 
1. Can we separate the concept of the ‘material’ from the 
base theories, eg Deleuze-Gattari; practic...
References 
Fenwick, T. and Nerland, M. 2014. (eds) Reconceptualising 
professional learning: Sociomaterial knowledges, pr...
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Socio-materialism and the Community, Self and Identity Project

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presentation made at seminar for research project led by Vivienne Bozalek on Posthumanism and higher education

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Socio-materialism and the Community, Self and Identity Project

  1. 1. CSI Project Socio-materialism – some thoughts to its applicability as a lens for analysis/Confessions of a “socio-materialism agnostic” Brenda Leibowitz Brendal@uj.ac.za
  2. 2. From Reconceptualising Professional Learning (eds Fenwick and Nerland, 2014) • “constitutive entanglement of the social and the material” • “yet materiality is often overlooked or dismissed in analyses of professional practice and knowing” (p 3) • “materials are enacted, not inert; they are matter and they matter. They act, together with other types of things and forces, to exclude, invite, and regulate activity” (p.3)
  3. 3. Cont. • “these approaches all tend to show how materiality is relational and distributed within webs of thought and activity, social and physical phenomena in education. They offer methods for analysing these materializing processes and their effects on particular practices, identities and knowledge processes that we call learning are phenomena of both emergence and orderings, within and across different spaces and times. They show the interdependence of entities, revealing that learning is always more-than-human” p. 4
  4. 4. Cont. • “in fact, rather than asking what kinds of cognitive processes and conceptual structures are involved, researchers ask what kind of social arrangements and material settings provide the context for knowing, working, learning and innovating (p. 12)
  5. 5. Cont. • Practice-based research encompasses the range of practical resources that people bring to bear in the accomplishment of their work and the diverse rnage of interactional forms which feature in their organisational conduct” p. 12
  6. 6. From previous CSI presentations and publications … • A focus on the material was both intentional Maps, on-line learning, choice of locales • And overlooked (the inequalities, the focus on geography, electricity, the embedding with practice)
  7. 7. Salience of place The way I defined a community was very broad and I honestly did not consider the definition to be broad. One of my group members defined the term ‘community’ and then went further to say that because she is Afrikaans she belongs to the Afrikaans community and because she is Christian she belongs to the Christian community. I was absolutely astonished because I did not think like that. Her definition made me consider I am Afrikaans and Christian, so does that mean we can say that we belong to the same community even if she lives in Stellenbosch and I live in Strandfontein?
  8. 8. Salience of place GROUP N: Transcending Boundaries! Left to right: Fundiswa Seti , Nina Rossouw (A), Tembela Mgini, Simon Lolliot , Ntsikelelo Mahobe and Miriam Ameermia
  9. 9. Technology as part of practices Conclusion In a multi-dimensional society, it is important to embrace that people, even professionals, are individuals and have different ideas about life, but that everyone has an unique and important contribution to make. (This is the main lesson we learned from being a part of this programme). It does not mean that we cannot have our own opinion, the importance is accepting our own identities while acknowledging and respecting others. Like the puzzle, every piece is a different colour, but together it forms a whole. All the pieces have one purpose, to form a puzzle. All of us differ, but we all share the same goal – to help people in need.
  10. 10. Salience of Technology The Stellenbosch part of the group did the work, while the UWC part was sitting back, trusting us. The UWC members kind of assumed that we at Stellenbosch would drive through to them for the preparation of the group project (SU) The experience has a definite positive effect on my future work as I have grown individually. This positive personal growth has important impacts on my professional ability in the future… The experiences I gained from listening to others’ definitions of community and identity gave me a new platform from which I can work. I also realised that ones past experiences can never be denied (SU)
  11. 11. Salience of Technology The most important progress that was made though was the attempt to equalize status as much as possible where no members were part of the majority or minority but all members were equal. An additional challenge that was placed on our group was that a minority was created as two students belonged to Stellenbosch and four students belonged to UWC. This made working together increasingly difficult, as we had to rely on communicating online for the most part of our project. We tried to eliminate this majority by not electing a group leader and consciously discussing the challenges that this may pose to our group seeing that there was inequality from the onset. (SU)
  12. 12. The material as part of ‘practices’ UWC social work student had done the practice of PowerPoint for a single hour, which was not fair for them, as they had struggled to do it. If the presentation was not prepared according to the mixed institutions that is UWC and the US it could had been an embarrassment for UWC students because were not familiar with it. The US students had played a big role to help the UWC students to get used in techniques of using the PowerPoint. (UWC)
  13. 13. Remaining questions 1. Can we separate the concept of the ‘material’ from the base theories, eg Deleuze-Gattari; practice based theories; actor network theory? 2. “Materials are enacted … they act, together with other types of things and forces, to exclude, invite, and regulate activity” – can you really say that ‘not only humans have agency’? (cf Taguchi, xv)
  14. 14. References Fenwick, T. and Nerland, M. 2014. (eds) Reconceptualising professional learning: Sociomaterial knowledges, practices and responsibilities. New York: Routledge Leibowitz, B., Swartz, L., Bozalek, V., Carolissen, R., Nichols, L. and Rohleder, P. Eds. (2012) Community, self and identity: Educating South African university students for citizenship. HSRC Press. Taguchi, H. 2010. Going beyond the theory/practice divide in early childhood education: Introducing an intra-active pedagogy. London: Routledge.

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