How are living educational theories being produced and legitimated in the boundaries of cultures in resistance?

 

Jack Whitehead, Department of Education, University of Bath

Visiting Professor at Ningxia Teachers, University, Guyuan, China.

 

 

Presentation for the Cultures in Resistance Conference. The 7th Conference of the Discourse, Power, Resistance Series, 18-20 March 2008 Manchester Metropolitan University.

 

Abstract

 

A critique of the languages, logics and standards of judgment in contemporary cultural practices for the legitimation of educational knowledge in the Academy will reveal, using multi-media narratives, how they deny the educational significance of the recognition of educational responsibility towards the other in educational relationships. 

 

An approach to the generation of living educational theories in boundaries of cultures in resistance will be presented. This includes a self-study of persistence in the face of pressures over a working life in education at the University of Bath. The self-study includes a visual narrative of pressures over a 34 year research programme into the nature of educational theory.  The pressures could have breached the principle of academic freedom and other values of academic responsibility.  Theoretical insights from psychology, sociology, theology, philosophy, educational research and inclusionality will be integrated into the analysis. The data-base includes some 30 living theory theses legitimated in the Academy over the past twenty years.

 

Introduction

 

I was attracted to submit a proposal for the 7th conference of the Discourse, Power, Resistance series because of the focus on Cultures in Resistance. My interest in culture is because of my recognition that while good ideas can be generated in a specific context they must become a cultural influence if they are to have a widespread influence in the education of social formations.  The good ideas I have in mind have emerged from a 34 year old research programme into the nature of educational theory at the University of Bath. Whether they are good ideas is open to your questioning. They inform my critique below of the languages, logics and standards of judgment in contemporary cultural practices for the legitimation of educational knowledge in the Academy. The critique is made from the perspective of a living educational theory approach in boundaries of cultures in resistance that includes the following ideas from my research programme:

 

Š      that 'I' exists as a living contradiction in enquiries of the kind, 'How do I improve what I am doing?' in the sense that 'I' holds together the experience of embodying certain values while experiencing their denial in practice.

Š      that the expression of embodied values as distinctive of educational relationships carry a life-affirming and/or a dynamic loving, energy.

Š      that the meanings of these energy flowing values can be clarified and developed through their emergence in the practice of action reflection cycles.

Š      that in the process of clarification in their emergence in practice they are formed into explanatory principles of educational influences in learning and into living epistemological standards of judgement.

Š      that individuals can generate their own living educational theories as explanations for their educational influences in their own learning, in the learning of others and in the learning of social formations in enquiries of the kind, 'How do I improve what I am doing?'

Š      that living educational theories already legitimated in the Academy have generated a new epistemology for educational knowledge with living units of appraisal, energised and values-laden standards of judgement and living logics of inclusionality.

Š      that generating living educational theories in the boundaries of cultures in resistance carries hope for the future of humanity.

 

My interest in understanding cultures in resistance is because of my experience of working in the boundaries of such cultures that serve both reproductive and transformatory interests in the legitimation of living educational theories. My interest in generating living educational theories in these boundaries, is in enhancing the transformatory power of education in the lives of individuals and social formations.

 

Because I make a distinction between social actions and educational actions in terms of energised values in educational relationships I will clarify this distinction after I have explained how I am using my meanings of culture, resistance and inclusionality.

 

Culture

 

I draw my understanding of culture from Said (1993) when he writes:

 

As I use the word, 'culture' means two things in particular. First of all it means all those practices, like the arts of description, communication, and representation, that have relative autonomy from the economic, social, and political realms and that often exist in aesthetic forms, one of whose principal aims is pleasure. Included, of course, are both the popular stock of lore about distant parts of the world and specialized knowledge available in such learned disciplines as ethnography, historiography, philology, sociology, and literary history.....  Second, and almost imperceptible, culture is a concept that includes a refining and elevating element, each society's reservoir of the best that has been known and thought. As Matthew Arnold put it in the 1860s.... In time, culture comes to be associated, often aggressively, with the nation of the state; this differentiates 'us' from 'them', almost always with some degree of xenophobia. Culture in this sense is a source of identity, and a rather combative one at that, as we see in recent 'returns' to culture and tradition. (Said, pp. xii-xiv, 1993)

 

The first meaning of culture can be associated with transformation, the second with reproduction. I think of cultures as living phenomena that are social constructions sustained by collective communications in forms of life. Particular individuals may die and the culture can continue. If all the individuals sustaining a culture die, the culture dies. Hence my stress on the living and my interest in the influence of living educational theories in sustaining and or transforming cultures in resistance.

 

Resistance

 

Writing about resistance, in the tertiary level of education in Japan, McVeigh distinguishes a form of social malaise as 'resistance':

 

By 'resistance' I do not mean a conscious, organized, and systematic insurrection against the sociopolitical order. Rather, I employ this term to designate actions and attitudes that do not directly challenge but scorn the system. This form of subtle resistance ignores rather than threatens and is a type of diversion (if only temporary) from, rather than a subversion of, the dominant structures. (McVeigh 2002: 185-186).

 

I can understand this notion of resistance, but it is not the way I am using the idea of resistance when I write from a position in the living boundaries of cultures in resistance. By the 'living boundaries of cultures in resistance' I am meaning that that there is something expressed in the boundary sustained by one culture that is a direct challenge to something in the other culture. For example, in education there is a political culture that has been imposing a regime of testing in schools. There is a professional culture that has been stressing the importance of creativity. There continues to be tensions in the boundaries of these cultures that can be understood through the perspective of inclusionality.

 

Inclusionality

 

In my research programme into the nature of educational theories I work from the perspective of inclusionality developed by Rayner (2005) and Lumley (2008) and described below. I am particularly interested in the logics of educational theories.

 

I like Marcuse's (1964, p. 105) idea of logic as a mode of thought that is appropriate for comprehending the real as rational. In the generation of living educational theories I use three forms of rationality, the propositional, the dialectical and the inclusional. There is a 2,500

history of conflict between adherents to propositional and dialectical logic in which the adherents to one position deny the rationality of the other (Popper, 1963, p. 313-17). Within a living educational theory, insights from both propositional and dialectical theories are included as I show below. The living logics of inclusionality that permit this inclusion, without denying the rationality of propositional and dialectical thinkers, are grounded in Rayner's (2005) understanding of inclusionality as a relationally dynamic awareness of space and boundaries as connective, reflective and co-creative.  I like the way Lumley expresses inclusionality in his fluid-dynamical world view as:

 

"...an inspiring pooling-of-consciousness that seems to include and connect all within all in unifying dynamical communion.... The concreteness of 'local object being'... allows us to understand the dynamics of the common living-space in which we are all ineluctably included participants. (Lumley, 2008, p.3)

 

I am working with the living logics of inclusionality in the critique below. The critique rests on distinguishing the languages of educational and social actions through the expression of a dynamic loving energy in educational relationships.

 

Distinguishing educational and social actions through a dynamic loving energy.

 

I like the recent developments in the social sciences regarding autoethnographies. I think that much of what I am going to say can be seen as an autoethnography in the sense of an explanation for the life of an individual that takes account of cultural influences.

 

Where I think the educational explanations in living educational theories go beyond limitations of explanations from social sciences, of educational influences in learning, is in the recognition and representation of a dynamic loving energy as an explanatory principle for educational influences in learning. It may be that other participants in the conference work with a different understanding of social action to the one that I use. It may be that your understanding of social actions include flows of life-affirming energy that have a social source. In his work on the phenomenology of the social world Schutz draws attention to Weber's understanding of a social action being that action which:

 

" ...by virtue of the subjective meaning attached to it by the acting individual (or individuals), takes account of the behaviour of others, and is thereby orientated in its course." (Schutz, 1972, p. 29)

 

This is my understanding of a social action. In my understanding of educational actions they go beyond this understanding of a social action. An educational action includes a flow of life-affirming energy with values. This life-affirming energy, that others describe as a dynamic loving energy (Formby, 2007; Walton, 2008), while mediated by the individual and the social, flows from outside the individual and the social. Hence the distinction I draw between educational and social actions.

 

In the production of my own living educational theory I draw on a language used by theologians to communicate meanings of a life-affirming energy that is not grounded in a theistic faith of belief. I am aware of a life-affirming energy that I am expressing in both the production of this written text and in the communication of my performance text. I need language to communicate the meanings expressed with the flow of this energy through my body as I explain my educational influences in learning. I draw on language whose meanings used by the originator are different to my own. For example, I draw on the language of the Christian Theologian, Tillich (1973, p. 168), to refer to my experience of the expression of a life-affirming energy as a state of being affirmed by the power of being itself.  For Tillich this power is intimately related to his God. For me, having no religious belief or faith in God(s), the words are used to communicate a flow of life-affirming energy with the power of being itself. In my understanding of how I recognise my tendency to impose my view of the world on others and seek to avoid this, I draw on the ideas of the Jewish Theologian, Buber, where he writes of the special humility of the educator:

 

"If this educator should ever believe that for the sake of education he has to practise selection and arrangement, then he will be guided by another criterion than that of inclination, however legitimate this may be in its own sphere; he will be guided by the recognition of values which is in his glance as an educator. But even then his selection remains suspended, under constant correction by the special humility of the educator for whom the life and particular being of all his pupils is the decisive factor to which his 'hierarchical' recognition is subordinated." (Buber, 1947, p. 122)

 

 

One of my main criticisms, of present cultural practices for legitimating educational knowledge in the Academy, is focused on differences between the explanatory principle of an embodied expression of a dynamic loving energy in educational relationships and the language of academic explanations of educational influences in learning.  Here is a visual representation of the expression of the dynamic loving energy I have in mind from a video-clip on YouTube:

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/cvformby

 

The clip is taken from a visual narrative of a teacher-researcher's enquiry from her master's programme:

 

How am I integrating my educational theorizing firstly with the educational responsibility I express in my educational relationships with the children in my class, but also with the educational responsibility I feel towards those in the wider school community? (Formby, 2008, http://www.jackwhitehead.com/tuesdayma/cfee3draft.htm )

 

The visual narrative that includes the video-clip includes the context:

 

Recently I watched a video clip from my Yr 2 class of myself with a little boy, J, who wanted to wear a Samuel Pepys' wig, a history resource to bring The Great Fire of London to life. I knew immediately that the video clip said something significant about me and about my relationships with the children in my class.

 

The images below are the moments in the educational relationship that resonate with Claire as expressing her flow of a dynamic loving energy. They are placed side by side because in the first one Claire feels that she is expressing most fully this energy and in the second is receiving the recognition of her pupil.

 

 

The main point of  the critique below is to reveal omissions of the explanatory principle of a dynamic loving energy (Walton, 2008) in the propositional languages, logics and standards of judgement of much academic writings about education. These writings are reproducing one polarity of a dialectic in the living boundaries of cultures in resistance. In the other polarity the boundary is supporting the inclusion of living educational theories with their energised, values-laden standards of judgment, in the Academy.

 

In the analysis that follows I first critique the languages, logics and standards of judgment in contemporary cultural practices for the legitimation of educational knowledge in the academy.

 

I then offer a living educational theory approach to boundaries of cultures in resistance.

 

Finally I present a performance text of a situated analysis of cultural resistance as a self-study of persistence in the face of pressures within boundaries of resistance. The self-study of persistence is presented with a desire for recognition of an outstanding contribution to educational knowledge.  This persistence includes the pressures in the power relations of cultural boundaries that can constrain the flow of values, skills and understandings that carry academic freedom and other values of academic responsibility. The performance text also includes an engagement with the ideas of others from their propositional and dialectical theories and connects with other living educational theories that are flowing freely through web-space as gifts from their creators.

 

A critique of the languages, logics and standards of judgment in contemporary cultural practices for the legitimation of educational knowledge in the Academy.

 

At the beginning of my career in education, in 1966, on the initial teacher education programme in the Department of Education of the University of Newcastle, I produced my first special study on 'A Way To Professionalism In Education?' I began teaching in 1967 as a teacher of science at Langdon Park School in London's Tower Hamlets, one of the most deprived areas in London.  Between 1967-72 I believed that my main contribution to the profession would be as a science teacher in secondary schools. However, in 1971 I began to question the validity of the dominant view of educational theory. In this view, educational theory was believed to be constituted by the disciplines of the philosophy, psychology, sociology and history of education. I studied these disciplines for my Academic Diploma and MA in Education at the University of London, Institute of Education beween 1968-1972. I also studied my explanations for my educational influences in my own learning and in the learning of my pupils. Comparing these explanations I could appreciate that no explanation derived from any discipline of education, taken individually or in any combination, could produce a valid explanation of my educational influence in my own learning or in the learning of my pupils. The mistake in the disciplines approach is explained below.

 

My sense of vocation changed with the recognition of this error in the disciplines approach to educational theory. I began to believe that my greatest contribution to enhancing professionalism in education might come from contributing to the reconstruction of educational theory in Higher Education. I was fortunate to have my application for a post of lecturer in education accepted by the University of Bath in 1973. This has enabled me to spend the last 34 years, with economic security, on my research programme into the nature of educational theory. I do not want to underestimate the importance of this economic security and will return to its significance later.

 

Through the support of the University I have been able to present at many international conferences in China, Japan, Australia, the UK, Ireland, South Africa, Canada and the United States, and examine many masters dissertations and doctoral degrees in different universities in different countries. Hence I feel that I have some understanding of the languages, logics and standards of judgment being used to legitimate educational knowledge in different cultures.

 

My critique of the languages, logics and standards of judgment in contemporary cultural practices for the legitimation of educational knowledge in the Academy is similar to the critique given by Paul Hirst of his original support for the idea of a disciplines approach to educational theory. I am thinking of his point that much understanding of educational theory will be developed:

 

"... in the context of immediate practical experience and will be co-terminous with everyday understanding. In particular, many of its operational principles, both explicit and implicit, will be of their nature generalisations from practical experience and have as their justification the results of individual activities and practices.

 

In many characterisations of educational theory, my own included, principles justified in this way have until recently been regarded as at best pragmatic maxims having a first crude and superficial justification in practice that in any rationally developed theory would be replaced by principles with more fundamental, theoretical justification. That now seems to me to be a mistake. Rationally defensible practical principles, I suggest, must of their nature stand up to such practical tests and without that are necessarily inadequate."  (Hirst 1983, p. 18)

 

Imagine experiencing at first hand the power relations of this dominant cultural belief that your explanations of your educational influences with your pupils or students were at best pragmatic maxims having a first crude and superficial justification in practice that in any rationally developed through would be replaced by principles with more fundamental theoretical justification! While studying with philosophers of education, who held the above belief, I felt a clash of cultures. On the one hand I continued to value my understanding of philosophy of education. On the other hand I felt the need to resist the dominant culture of the philosophers that held that my explanations of my educational influences with my pupils did not constitute an educational theory, but needed to be replaced by explanations with more 'theoretical justification'.   The resistance came from participating in a professional culture that valued the embodied knowledge of professional educators. I felt a resistance in the boundaries between the cultures, where the dominant academic culture was actively and explicitly seeking to replace the embodied knowledge of the professional educator with the 'academic' theories of the philosophers, sociologists, psychologists and historians of education. The differential power relations in the boundaries of the cultures in resistance meant that attempts to bring the embodied knowledge of professional educators into the academy as academic knowledge, met a resistance from those who thought the explanatory principles in this knowledge, needed to be replaced by principles with more theoretical justification. The importance of bringing the embodied knowledge of educators into the Academy has been highlighted by Snow (2001, p. 9).

 

In critiquing the dominant languages, logics and standards of judgment, in contemporary cultural practices for the legitimation of educational knowledge in the Academy, I want to focus initially on a difference between propositional and dialectical thinkers. I am thinking of the difference that has led proponents of the different logics to deny the rationality of the other's position. In the section below, on developing a living educational theory approach to cultural resistance, I shall show how a perspective of inclusionality can integrate insights from both propositional and dialectical thinkers without denying their rationalities.

 

Karl Popper has provided a very clear rejection of dialectical theorising from within the arguments of propositional logic.  In answering his question, 'What is Dialectic?', Popper (1963) rejects dialectical claims to knowledge as, 'without the slightest foundation. Indeed, they are based on nothing better than a loose and woolly way of speaking' (p.316).

 

Popper demonstrates, using two laws of inference, that if a theory contains a contradiction, then it entails everything, and therefore, indeed, nothing. He says that a theory which adds to every information which it asserts, also the negation of this information, can give us no information at all. A Theory which involves a contradiction is therefore entirely useless as a theory (p.317).

 

Popper is thinking of theory in the propositional terms used by Pring:

 

" 'Theory' would seem to have the following features. It refers to a set of propositions which are stated with sufficient generality yet precision that they explain the 'behaviour' of a range of phenomena and predict what would happen in the future." (Pring, 2000,  pp. 124-25)

 

Writing at the same time as Popper in the 1960s Marcuse (1964), a proponent of Critical Theory, explains how propositional theories are masking the dialectical nature of reality with its nucleus of contradiction.  One of the greatest dialectical thinkers of the last century Evard Ilyenkov highlighted the problem of contradiction in dialectical theorising. This problem emerged from his decision to 'write' logic:

 

The concretisation of the general definition of Logic presented above must obviously consist in disclosing the concepts composing it, above the concept of thought (thinking). Here again a purely dialectical difficulty arises, Namely, that to define this concept fully, i.e. concretely, also means to 'write' Logic, because a full definition cannot by any means be given by a 'definition' but only by 'developing the essence of the matter'. (Ilyenkov, 1977, p.9)

 

And the problem of contradiction remained at his death:

 

"Contradiction as the concrete unity of mutually exclusive opposites is the real nucleus of dialectics, its central category. On that score there cannot be two views among Marxists; but no small difficulty immediately arises as soon as matters touch on 'subjective dialectics', on dialectics as the logic of thinking. If any object is a living contradiction, what must the thought (statement about the object) be that expresses it?  Can and should an objective contradiction find reflection in thought? And if so, in what form?" (Ilyenkov, 1977, p. 320)

 

The problem is that once a dialectician commits to 'writing' with the sole medium of communication being statements on words on pages of printed text, the dialectician can become trapped in the logic of propositions while trying to express the meanings of living contradictions that are embodied in practice.

 

This is my central critique of the dominant languages, logics and standards of judgment in contemporary cultural practices for the legitimation of educational knowledge in the Academy. While propositional theories can explain many significant events in the world, they cannot produce valid explanations of the educational influences of individuals in their own learning, in the learning of others or in the learning of the social formations in which we live and work. When dialecticians seek to produce such explanations in terms of living contradictions, and to present them in the sole medium of words in statements of pages of printed text, they are trapped within a propositional logic. Their form of representation and communication does not permit the development of a valid explanation of the life of a living contradiction. I shall now explain how a living educational theory approach in the boundaries of cultures in resistance can avoid such criticisms with the living logics of inclusionality.

 

A living educational theory approach to the boundaries of cultures in resistance.

 

I began to use the idea of a living educational theory (Whitehead, 1989) as an individual's explanation of his or her educational influence in their own learning, in the learning of others and in the learning of social formations, to distinguish these explanations from the explanations derived from propositional theories of education. I liked Ilyenkov's (1977)  question about living contradictions and felt that the idea of living theory could embrace and be produced with such contradictions. I am thinking of living contradictions in terms of certain values being held together with their denial in practice in the 'I' in such questions as 'How do I improve what I am doing?'

 

I have researched my working life at the University of Bath as the life of a living contradiction (Whitehead, 1993, 1999 2004; Whitehead & McNiff, 2006). I have experienced such contradictions in responding to the following judgments that are cultural, in the sense of being carried with systemic influence by the disciplinary power of the university. The judgments span some 30 years. They continue to live in my participation in the boundaries of cultural resistance. These are the boundaries between the traditional representations of educational knowledge, in words in statements of pages of printed text, and the expressions and representations of the embodied knowledges of professional practitioners. The site of cultural resistance of these living boundaries is most marked at the University of Bath because of the University's mission to have a distinct academic approach to the education of professional practitioners.

 

In looking at the judgments below, in terms of boundaries of cultural resistance, I want to make the following distinction between the privilege of working in a creative, educational space, provided by my employment by the University of Bath, and the actions of some individuals who because of institutional position can communicate with the disciplinary pressure of the organisation. What I mean by this, in the communications below, is that individuals have sent me communications on behalf of the University. Because they are made 'on behalf of the University', their communications can carry the disciplinary power of the culture of the University. You will see that the communications and judgments below, now part of the history of the university and the present culture, are focused on 'The University's' responses to my contributions to educational knowledge. My own responses, in the cultural form of my published papers, show my resistance to these judgments, just as the University's responses to my contributions to educational knowledge show a resistance to my own judgments. 

 

Working within the boundaries of cultural resistance means, to me, meeting and responding to both opportunities and constraining influences in the power relations of the boundaries. I have been fortunate, so far, that the flows of life-affirming energy, accompanying my creativity and values of humanity, have enabled me to face and respond creatively to the actions and judgments listed below from the dominant culture. These carry constraining cultural pressures of institutional and disciplinary power relations between 1976-2006. In the boundaries of resistance I have continued with my research, writings and teaching in the University to support the creation of cultures of enquiry (Delong, 2002). These cultures of enquiry continue to be created through the expression of flows of life-affirming energy with values that I distinguish as carrying hope for the future of humanity and my own.

 

Humour, working with creative students and colleagues and the art of conversation have played their part in this transcending of the constraining pressures and the identity challenging influences of the judgments below. In the presentation of the performance text I will show what I mean by living contradictions. The contradictions are holding together the experience of flows of life-affirming energy, and values, and the experience of energy and values sapping constraints. I will show the transcending and transformatory influences of humour, values-based conversations and the understandings of the most advanced social theories of the day.

 

My professional context is in working with creative students and colleagues in keeping open the flow of life-affirming energy with values of humanity in channels of communication. Because of the importance of the art of conversation in transcending constraining pressures I want to explain what I mean by this art.

 

Gadamer's ideas appealed to me because I could identify with his emphasis on the importance of forming a question. For Gadamer, questioning is a 'passion'. He says that questions press upon us when our experiences conflict with our preconceived  opinions. He believes that the art of questioning is not the art of avoiding the pressure of opinion.

 

"It is not an art in the sense that the Greeks speak of techne, not a craft that can be taught and by means of which we would master the knowledge of truth".

 

Drawing on Plato's  Seventh Letter, Gadamer  distinguishes the unique character of the art of dialectic.  He does not see the art of dialectic as the art of being able to win every argument. On the contrary, he says it is possible that someone who is practising the art of dialectic, i.e. the art of questioning and of seeking truth, comes off worse in the argument in the eyes of those listening to it. (Gadamer, 1975. p.330).

 

According to Gadamer, dialectic, as the art of asking questions, proves itself only because the person who knows how to ask questions is able to persist in his questioning. I see a characteristic of this persistence as being able to preserve one's openness to the possibilities which life itself permits. The art of questioning is that of being able to continue with one's questions. Gadamer refers to the art of conversation.

 

"To conduct a conversation requires first of all that the partners to it do not talk at cross purposes. Hence its necessary structure is that of question and answer. The first condition of the art of conversation is to ensure that the other person is with us.... To conduct a conversation.... requires that one does not try to out-argue the other person, but that one really considers the weight of the other's opinion. Hence it is an art of testing. But the art of testing is the art of questioning. For we have seen that to question means to lay open, to place in the open. As against the solidity of opinions, questioning makes the object and all its possibilities fluid. A person who possesses the 'art' of questioning is a person who is able to prevent the suppression of questions by the dominant opinion.... Thus the meaning of a sentence is relative to the question to which it is a reply (my emphasis), i.e. it necessarily goes beyond what is said in it. The logic of the human sciences is, then, as appears from what we have said a logic of the question.  Despite Plato we are not very ready for such a logic." (pp. 330-333).

 

In the presentation that follows I am seeking to express this art of questioning in continuing to respond to the following judgments from the 'University' in the boundaries of cultures in resistance.

 

Here are the judgments, spanning thirty years in my work at the University of Bath that have helped me to form my life as a living contradiction and generate my living educational theory. They carry the disciplinary power of the institution. Such judgments are the evidence I offer of a  sustained culture of resistance to the recognition of the transforming cultural potential of the generation and testing of living educational theories. My purpose here is not to analyse the particular judgments in relation to the growth of my educational knowledge. I have done this in detail elsewhere.

 

Whitehead, 1993 The Growth of Educational Knowledge. Bournemouth; Hyde. Retrieved 19 February 2008 from http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/writings/jwgek93.htm

Whitehead, 1999 How do I improve my practice? Creating a New Discipline of Educational Enquiry. Vol 1. of Ph.D,  Retrieved 19 February 2008 from http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/jack.shtml

Whitehead, 2004 Do Action Researchers' Expeditions Carry Hope For The Future Of Humanity? How Do We Know? Action Research Expeditions, October 2004. Retrieved 19 February 2008 from  http://www.arexpeditions.montana.edu/articleviewer.php?AID=80

 

My purpose here is to provide evidence that places beyond reasonable doubt my claim that one polarity of the dialectic of the cultures of resistance can be understood as a resistance to recognising the validity of ideas from my research into living educational theories. In the performance text below I am seeking to establish, the nature of the other polarity of the cultures in resistance in extending recognition of the validity and academic legitimacy of the transforming cultural potential of living educational theories. 

 

Here are the judgments that establish one polarity of the boundaries of the cultures in resistance.

 

The judgments.

 

1976 Grounds for recommending that a tenured appointment should not be offered, from the Academic Staff Committee, approved by Senate:

 

You have not given satisfaction in the teaching of prescribed courses.

 

There is an absence of evidence to suggest that you have pursued research of sufficient quality for the assessors to be assured of your ability to perform adequately the duties of a University Lecturer.

 

You have exhibited forms of behavior which have harmed the good order and morale of the School of Education.

 

1980/82 Following two rejections of doctoral submissions I could not, within the university regulations of the time, question the competence of my examiners' judgements. The letter from the Secretary and Registrar of the University informing me that I was not permitted to question these judgements, under any circumstances, stated:

 

Once the examiners have been appointed, their competence cannot in any circumstances be questioned.

 

1987 Following complaints about my activities and writings from two Professors of Education a disciplinary meeting was held which included the University Solicitor and I was informed in writing by the University Registrar that:

 

Your activities and writings are a challenge to the present and proper organisation of the University and not consistent with the duties the university wish you to pursue in your teaching and research.... You must be loyal to your employer.

 

1991 The letter from the Registrar was used as evidence in 1990 by a Board of Studies in a recommendation to Senate that there was prima facie evidence of a breach of my academic freedom. Senate established a working party on a matter of academic freedom. They reported in 1991:

 

The working party did not find that... his academic freedom had actually been breached. This was however, because of Mr Whitehead's persistence in the face of pressure; a less determined individual might well of have been discouraged and therefore constrained.

 

2006 An application for a Readership was rejected by the Academic Staff Committee on the grounds that:

 

For a promotion to Reader, the Committee needs to establish that a candidate has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of knowledge. In this regard the Committee considered that the case for this level of contribution was not yet made and in order to develop the case further it will be necessary for you to focus on producing articles which can be disseminated via established and renowned international refereed journals.

 

To communicate the nature of the other polarity of the dialectical tension in the boundaries of cultures in resistance I now want to answer my question, 'How are living educational theories being produced and academically legitimated in the boundaries of cultures in resistance?'  and to so do through a performance text of a situated analysis of living educational theories in the boundaries of cultures in resistance.

 

My interest in performance texts is because of their potential to communicate meanings of flows of life-affirming energy with values in a way that gets closer to these meanings than can be carried through words in statements on pages of printed text. Returning to the 1991 judgment above, this performance text includes a video-clip re-enactment of my meeting with a Senate Working Party on a Matter of Academic Freedom. In the video I am expressing meanings of my expression of life-affirming energy with values of academic responsibility. The expression of life-affirming energy emerged through a feeling of humiliating and energy sapping defeat with a lack of recognition, in a draft report from the Working Party, of pressures on my academic freedom.

 

The performance text also includes my engagement with some of the most advanced social theories of the day from Bourdieu, Sen, Yunus, McGregor and Bernstein, amongst others.

 

It includes my educational influence in the development of other living educational theories that have been legitimated for their doctorates. These are flowing through web-space in boundaries of cultures of resistance that deny that the idea of living educational theory is an outstanding contribution to educational knowledge.

 

Life-affirming energy with academic responsibility

  

In the process of contributing to the academic legitimation of living educational theories with their life-affirming energy and academic responsibility I have encountered a culture of resistance, represented in the above judgments made on behalf of  'The University'. 

 

When the Senate Working Party on a Matter of Academic Freedom, described above, produced their draft report I was invited to meet the Working Party to respond to the report. The report's conclusion was that my Academic Freedom had not been breached. I agreed with this conclusion. What disturbed me about the draft report was that it contained no reference to the pressure to which I had been subjected as illustrated in the judgments above about my persistence in the face of pressure.  Here is my re-enactment, in the video-clip below, of my meeting with the Working Party from the point where I was leaving the room feeling defeated that the pressure had not been recognised. As I was about to leave the room, with this powerful feeling of defeat, I felt an even more powerful feeling of resistance to the feeling of defeat. This energy, I characterise as life-affirming. It  moved me to turn again to face the committee.  Here is my recollection of what I said and the way I said it.  The final report to Senate recognized the significance of my persistence in the face of pressure in the fact that my Academic Freedom had not been breached. It had not been breached because of my persistence in the face of pressure that could have discouraged and hence contrained a less determined individual. My purpose in showing this clip is to communicate something of the energy I have expressed in the boundaries of the cultures in resistance that has helped me to contribute to sustaining and extending the cultural influences of living educational theories in the education of individuals and social formations.

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBTLfyjkFh0

 

In seeking to enhance the flow of living educational theories in the boundaries of resistance I now want to make a public response to the decision of the Academic Staff Committee of the University of Bath, not to recommend, in 2006, my promotion from Lecturer in Reader. You can access my application at:

 

http://www.jackwhitehead.com/jwreadership.pdf

  

Since receiving notification of the rejection of my application for promotion, in March 2006, I have wondered how to respond. One easy response would have been to call into question the judgments and ask for them to be reviewed. My history of responses in the boundaries of the cultures in resistance to the above judgments have included my book on the The Growth of Educational Knowledge, (Whitehead, 1993) where I named those responsible for mobilising the disciplinary power of the University. I provide the evidence of the actions and my responses. The text was written with the forceful expression of what I still experience as legitimate anger at a lack of recognition of pressures that could have constrained my academic freedom. I have shown what I mean by this forceful expression of legitimate anger with freedom and responsibility in the video-clip above of my re-anactment of my response to a draft report from a Senate Working Party on a Matter of Academic Freedom.

 

Keeping my desire, to enhance the flow of living educational theories in boundaries of cultures in resistance, at the forefront of my motivation has influenced my present response in this performance text.  I hope that you can feel my expression of a  loving passion for education as you experience my presence today.   On reading a draft of this paper a friend asked for more passion! She wrote:

 

You weren't just acting for yourself, and where you acknowledge this in the paper, it seems so tame. I want something more here, because the 'culture' you're working in is not only the ones you've outlined, it's the loving networks of wholesome, educative relationships you've built up over time with individuals and groups, that lovingly, although sometimes critically, enables you to harness your talents and gifts in the service of education and humanity.

 

I am staying with this flow of loving energy as I respond here to the above rejection of a recognition of the contribution to knowledge of living educational theories. I am feeling some pleasure in writing this response in the paper for presentation at this conference on Cultures in Resistance. This is a different emotional response to any other I have made before to an issue of a lack of recognition in the University. Other responses have always carried anger, some rage, and a sediment of embarrassment and humiliation.

 

The pleasure§ and passion I am feeling may be partly due to the fact that I no longer need to worry about my economic livelihood being threatened as I am within 18 months of retiring from my tenured contract. My academic freedom is not under pressure. I am feeling the pleasure of being motivated by a desire to extend the influence of living educational theories. It has taken two years from the initial receipt of the rejection of the application for promotion, for me to feel the authentic flow of pleasure in my response. The pleasure is in seeing the flow of influence of living educational theories in many different contexts, with contributions or original ideas from my own research.

 

It isn't that I do not feel the rejection of recognition by the individuals that constituted the Academic Staff Committee in 2006. It is that I am distinguishing this lack of recognition from the recognition of the living educational theories already legitimated by the University of Bath and other Universities. My feeling of wellbeing is also stemming from the opportunities provided by the rejection to analyse that most interesting of phenomenon pointed out by Habermas (1975) related to not-learning.  In 2006 I believed that extending the influence of living educational theories would benefit from the recognition of the significance of their contributions to educational knowledge through a Readership. I now believe that this recognition is likely to have a minor significance in extending the influence. I believe that it is the recognition and understanding of the boundary that created the rejection in a process of not-learning that will help most to extend the influence of living educational theories.

 

What pleases me most about the expression and development of my talents in my work at the University of Bath with its 34 year old research programme into the nature of educational theory, is the gift I have created, with the help of my students, of a repository of living educational theories  from http://www.actionresearch.net, accessible internationally and now recording some 138,500 hits.  In 2004, as a member of the Senate working party on the regulations governing the submission of research degrees, I was delighted with the acceptance of the recommendation that e-media should be permitted in the submissions of research degrees. Research students I supervised were amongst the first to submit e-media as part of their original contributions to knowledge, drawing explicitly on ideas from my own research programme into living educational theories. My point in stressing this knowledge-base in the Library of the University of Bath and elsewhere is that this continues to enhance what I claim to be an outstanding contribution to the advancement of educational knowledge.

 

The University of Bath Library contains the knowledge-base of these theses. These draw explicitly on my original work on living educational theory. A further five doctoral theses at the University of Limerick, with the supervision of Jean McNiff (2008), also draw explicitly on original ideas from my own research into living theories.

 

Máirín Glenn (2006) Working with collaborative projects: my living theory of a holistic educational practice . PhD thesis, University of Limerick, retrieved 2 February 2008 from http://www.jeanmcniff.com/glennabstract.html

Caitriona McDonagh (2007)  My living theory of  learning to teach for social justice: How do I enable primary school children with specific learning disability (dyslexia) and myself as their teacher to realise our learning potentials?  PhD thesis, University of Limerick, retrieved 2 February 2007 from http://www.jeanmcniff.com/mcdonaghabstract.html

 

Mary Roche (2007) Towards a living theory of caring pedagogy: interrogating my practice to nurture a critical, emancipatory and just community of enquiry (2007) . PhD thesis, University of Limerick, retrieved 2 February 2008 from http://www.jeanmcniff.com/MaryRoche/index.html

Bernie Sullivan (2006) A Living Theory of a Practice of Social Justice: Realising the Right of Traveller Children to Educational Equality . PhD thesis, University of Limerick, retrieved 2 February 2008 from http://www.jeanmcniff.com/bernieabstract.html

Margaret Cahill (2007) My living educational theory of inclusional practice . PhD thesis, University of Limerick, retrieved 2 February 2008 from http://www.jeanmcniff.com/margaretcahill/index.html

Other living theory theses have been legitimated in the Universities of Kingston (Evans, 1995; Loftus, 1999) Plymouth (Follows, 2007), Warwick (Rawal, 2006) and Newcastle (Hymer, 2007).

 

The point I am making is that in working in the living boundaries of cultures of resistance it has been possible to develop a living educational theory approach to these cultures that has been legitimated in the living theory doctorates in my workplace of the University of Bath.  However, as a living contradiction, this workplace has provided evidence of its culture of not-learning in terms of its explicit lack of recognition of the academic significance of living educational theories, through the rejection of an application of promotion to a Readership. At the same time it has provided a site that has supported the polarity of a culture in resistance for recognising and legitimating living educational theories.

 

Many social theories exist within the boundaries of cultures in resistance and I continue to extend my understanding of such theories in seeking to contribute to the education of social formations.

 

Engaging with and using insights from social theories

 

In my rejection of the old disciplines approach to educational theory I can sometimes be understood, mistakenly, as rejecting the disciplines of education! Nothing could be further from the truth. I continue to emphasise the importance of insights from the traditional disciplines of education in the generation of living educational theories.  Here are some of the ideas I continue to use.

 

When I use the idea of a social formation I am drawing on Bourdieu's point about the importance of the habitus in understanding limitations in analysing social formations with the rules of social scientists (Bourdieu, p. 145, 1990).

 

While appreciating the usefulness of the idea of habitus in explaining social reproduction, I find it of limited use in understanding educational transformations of the kind I am interested in. These transformations are focused on the education of social formations through enhancing the flow of living educational theories in the social actions of individuals.

 

In drawing insights from social constructivist theories, while recognising their limitations in producing energy-flowing explanations of educational influences in learning, I use the idea of social action as a distinguishing characteristic of this perspective. I draw the following insights from social theories, such as those of Sen (1999), Yunus (2007) McGregor (2008) and Bernstein (2000) that focus on human capabilities, social goods, wellbeing and pedagogy respectively as I generate my own explanations of educational influence in learning.

 

From Sen, I have learnt a language of human capability that enables me to move beyond a language of economic rationality of human capital that reduces explanations of human action to the influences of capital (Sen, 1999, p. 293).

 

While recognising the importance of economic security in sustaining a creative space for educational conversations in the University of Bath, I have always felt a resistance to explaining my actions from within the concepts of economic rationality. This resistance was due to the omission of flows of life-affirming energy with values within economic rationality. Sen's economic theory of human capability enables me to recognise both the influence of  economics and my passionately held value of freedom and other values of human capability in my explanations of educational influence.

 

From Yunus I have learnt an inclusional language of social business. This language and practice of social business is having a global cultural influence in reducing poverty. It exists in the living boundaries of cultures of resistance together with the language the economic rationality that explains social action solely from within a concept of 'capital' (Yunus, 2007, p. 28).

 

From McGregor I have learnt a language of wellbeing that includes the individual within the social: Wellbeing is a state of being with others, where human needs are met, where one can act meaningfully to pursue one's goals, and where one enjoys a satisfactory quality of life. (McGregor, 2008)

 

Each week I enjoy the satisfactions of being with colleagues and students at the University of Bath, together with Alan Rayner, in educational conversations that tap into the life-affirming energy of well-being (see http://www.bath.ac.uk/internal/scr/scr-news.html ). I find McGregor's language of wellbeing provides me with a focus for this life-affirming energy.

 

From Bernstein's (2000) social theory of pedagogy I have learnt to show an awareness of the dangers of creating a mythological discourse that could serve to separate conversations about well-being from conversations that include a recognition of the power relations that are reproducing unjust social hierarchies:

 

"This mythological discourse consists of two pairs of elements which, although having different  functions, combine to reinforce each other. One pair celebrates and attempts to produce a united, integrated, apparently common national consciousness; the other pair work together to disconnect hierarchies within the school from a causal relation with social hierarchies outside the school." (p. xxiii)

 

By emphasising the generation of living educational theories of educational influences in learning within the boundaries of cultures in resistance I am seeking to avoid the creation of a mythological discourse that becomes disconnected from the hierarchies of power. I am thinking of the power relations that sustain that polarity of the cultures in resistance that is resistant to the legitimation and extension of the social influences of living educational theories. I am thinking of the expression of a life-affirming energy, in persisting in the face of the pressure of this resistance, in seeking to extend the educational influences of living educational theories.

 

In the development of my living educational theorizing in my research programme, I have learnt much from the ideas of others. I am thinking of ideas that have enabled me to understand and develop creative responses to living in the boundaries of cultures in resistance. My earliest readings were those of the critical theorist Erich Fromm. I remain influenced by ideas from his books on The Fear of Freedom (1942), Man For Himself (1947), The Sane Society (1956), The Art of Loving (1957), The Revolution of Hope (1968) and To Have or to Be (1979). Fromm's (1942) point where he says that if a person can face the truth without panic they will realise that there is no purpose to life other than that which they create for themselves through their loving relationships and productive work (p.18), remains a vital influence in my own life.

 

Habermas is another critical theorist whose ideas have influenced my own. I like his conjecture that the fundamental mechanism for social evolution in general is to be found in an automatic inability not to learn (Habermas, 1975, p. 15)

 

I find support in Habermas' work for my own focus on learning, in his attempt to free historical materialism from its philosophical ballast. I like his distinction between the development of cognitive structures and the historical dynamic of events, and his distinction between the evolution of society from the historical concretion of forms of life.

 

As he says,

 

"A theory developed in this way can no longer start by examining concrete ideals immanent in traditional forms of life. It must orient itself to the range of learning processes that is opened up at a given time by a historically attained level of learning. It must refrain from critically evaluating and normatively ordering totalities, forms of life and cultures, and life-contexts and epochs as a whole." (Habermas, 1987, p. 383)

 

In enhancing the validity of living theories I use Habermas' (1976, pp. 203) four criteria of social validity that in reaching understanding with each other I have chosen a comprehensible expression, I have the intention of communication a true proposition, I am authentic in the sense that I can be trusted and I that speak from a recognized normative background.

 

My use of these criteria is accompanied by a primary responsibility to personal knowledge (Polanyi, 1958) that comes from my decision to understand the world from my point of view as a personal claiming originality and exercising judgment, responsibly, with universal intent.

 

In addition to the above insights I also act with the assumption that Habermas (2002) is correct in holding to a proceduralist concept of law (p.264) in his work on the inclusion of the other when he says that the private autonomy of equally entitled citizens can only be secured insofar as citizens actively exercise their civic autonomy. (ibid)

 

Foucault's (1977, 1980, 1982) ideas on power relations and the inescapable relations between power and knowledge in regimes of truth have been particularly helpful in enabling me to remain open to the expression of life-affirming energy, creativity and values of humanity in the living boundaries of cultures in resistance.

 

I have used insights from Foucault's work to understand the importance of seeing my work as that of a specific intellectual rather than a universal intellectual. His ideas on power relations in distinguishing the power of truth from the truth of power have been particularly important in my understanding of the idea of regimes of truth and on understanding the procedures for determining what counts as knowledge in particular contexts. In relation to understanding the reciprocal influences of power relations in living in the boundaries of cultures of resistance I have focused on being influenced by and influencing the processes of legitimation for what counts as educational knowledge in the academy. Foucault's work on power relations has also been particularly influential in helping me to survive pressures that could have constrained my academic freedom and creative work, because his insights enabled me to respond with some understanding to the constraining pressures in the boundaries. In 1988 I acknowledged this influence:

 

I accept Foucault's point (1977, 1980, 1982) that the analysis, elaboration and bringing into question of power relations is a permanent political task inherent in all social existence. I believe he is correct in saying that a local, specific enquiry can take on a general significance at the level of that regime of truth which is essential to the structure and functioning of our society. (Whitehead, 1989)

 

Eisner (1988) has pointed out the importance of recognising the primacy of experience and the politics of method in educational research. He has been a most persuasive advocate of extending forms of representation using the communicative power of the arts and multi-media (Eisner, 1993) while being aware of the problems and perils of alternative forms of data representation (Eisner, 1997).

 

I now want to share some insights about the communicative power of the arts and multi-media representations of flows of life-affirming energy and values of humanity in the generation and extension of living educational theories within cultures in resistance.

 

Engaging with and using insights from the arts, religion and from writers on spirituality.

 

I now want to turn to the following live urls on my web-site and to show this flow of living educational theories with insights from the arts, religion and from writings on spirituality.

 

http://www.actionresearch.net  takes you to my web-space

 

http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/living.shtml takes you to living theory doctorates.

 

http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/mastermod.shtml takes you to the living theory accounts of teacher-researchers.

 

Here is one illustration of the use of art in the the flow of living theories through web-space.

 

In her living theory doctorate, Madeline Church

(http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/church.shtml ) connects the power relations in bullying to the transforming influence of the communicative power of art:

 

I notice the way bullying is part of my fabric. I trace my resistance to these experiences in my embodied experience of connecting to others, through a form of shape-changing. I see how question-forming is both an expression of my own bullying tendencies, and an intention to overcome them. Through my connection to others and my curiosity, I form a networked community in which I can work in the world as a network coordinator, action-researcher, activist and evaluator. 

I show how my approach to this work is rooted in the values of compassion, love, and fairness, and inspired by art. I hold myself to account in relation to these values, as living standards by which I judge myself and my action in the world. This finds expression in research that helps us to design more appropriate criteria for the evaluation of international social change networks. Through this process I inquire with others into the nature of networks, and their potential for supporting us in lightly-held communities which liberate us to be dynamic, diverse and creative individuals working together for common purpose. I tentatively conclude that networks have the potential to increase my and our capacity for love.

 

The idea of living standards of judgment evolved in the research of Laidlaw (1996), who pointed out to me, in the course of my supervision of her doctoral research programme, that the standards of judgment I was clarifying the course of their emergence through cycles of action and reflection, where not just being clarified but they were living and evolving in the course of the enquiry itself.

 

Having considered how living educational theories have being produced and legitimated with cultural diversity from the arts, philosophy, psychology, sociology, education and economics, I now engage with religion and spiritual values. Historically, the role of religions in sustaining cultures in resistance is well documented and can be seen clearly in many present day conflicts such as those in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine as well as internal conflicts in the UK. Religious belief in a God or Gods has often been called upon in times of war to mobilise combatants into killing others. Suicide bombers give up their lives and kill others in the name of their God, as described below. Religious beliefs can also be called upon to influence social policy. For example they are being called upon in the UK to mobilise public opinion into the creation of more faith based schools.

 

I now want to focus on the issue of recognition of the other in the living boundaries of cultures in resistance.

 

Human beings seek recognition of their own worth, or of the people, things, or principles that they invest with worth. The desire for recognition, and the accompanying emotions of anger, shame and pride, are parts of the human personality critical to political life. According to Hegel, they are what drives the whole historical process. (Fukuyama, 1992, p. xvii)

 

"The existence of a moral dimension in the human personality that constantly evaluates both the self and others does not, however, mean that there will be any agreement on the substantive content of morality. In a world of thymotic moral selves, they will be constantly disagreeing and arguing and growing angry with one another over a host of questions, large and small. Hence thymos is, even in its most humble manifestations, the starting point for human conflict." (pp. 181-182).

 

In seeking recognition in the academic significance of living educational theories with their inclusion of the thymotic sense of 'spiritness' (Fukuyama, 1992, p. xvi) I want to overcome a tendency to megalothymia in the sense of a search to be recognised as superior to others. I have already received recognition by the Academy that my own contribution to knowledge (Whitehead, 1999) of my subject education, can be publicly acknowledged as worthy of being seen, alongside the contributions of my research students, as showing originality of mind and critical judgement.  I want to go further than this recognition is establishing that the idea of living educational theories has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of educational knowledge, for reasons given below.

 

The importance of recognition in the living boundaries of cultures in resistance

 

As I emphasise the importance of recognition in my existence I am aware of the importance of the influences of the ways human beings make sense of their existence, on the spontaneous recognition by one being of the other. Gill Hicks (2007) points to the importance of 'looking at the other' in relation being injured by a suicide bomber.

 

On July 7th 2005 Gill Hicks was on the London underground pulling out of King's Cross Station when Abdullah Shaheed Jamal detonated the bomb that cost Gill her legs. Gill writes:

 

"It – I didn't matter...

 

I wish he had made the effort to know me before he detonated his bomb. I wish I could have looked at him in the eyes and had the opportunity to say – I am not your enemy, I wish you no harm, I am not the enemy.

 

I am a person, a human being – just like you, just like you." (pp. 2-3)

 

I am thinking that the dynamic loving energy expressed above in Claire Formby's gaze of recognition with her pupil carries hope for the future of humanity, while the lack of effort to understand the other, shown by Abdullah Shaheed Jamal, the suicide bomber does not. It seems vital to me that we learn how to bring the loving gaze of recognition of the other into the boundaries that connect cultures in resistance, to avoid such crimes against humanity. Hence my stress on the importance of generating living educational theories that express such values and understandings.

 

The explanatory power of such expressions has been included in the generation of the living educational theories of  Cunningham  (1999), Finnegan (2000) and Adler-Collins  (2007). I particularly like Finnegan's enquiry, 'How can love enable justice to see rightly?’

 

I tend to express my life-affirming energy in educational relationships and/or in conversations in which human beings are sharing their stories about what really matters to them in giving life its meaning and purpose. Like Cho (2005), in his understanding of love in educational relationships, I experience a dynamic loving energy in the knowledge-creation of practitioner-researchers I am supervising. I am thinking here of the knowledge creation in the production of the living educational theories of master and doctor educators in particular.

 

So, in conclusion I want to leave you with free access (if you have the technology!) to the living theories being created by practitioner-researchers who are living in the boundaries of cultures in resistance. For example if you access http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/mastermod.shtml

 you can see how Amy Skuse has answered her question, 'How have my experiences of Year 2 SAT's influenced my perceptions of assessment in teaching and learning?' while working in the boundaries between the imposition of national tests, in a process that is increasingly being recognized as damaging the creativity of pupils and teacher, and a professional cultural response that is seeking to enhance pupils' and teachers' creativity.

(http://www.jackwhitehead.com/tuesdayma/amyskuseeeoct07.htm)

 

You can see how Claire Formby has answered her question, 'How do I sustain a loving, receptively responsive educational relationship with my pupils which will motivate them in their learning and encourage me in my teaching?'  while working in the boundaries between an academic culture that tends to eliminate love as an academic standard of judgment, and a professional culture of living educational theories that includes a dynamic loving energy as a living standard of judgment. (http://www.jackwhitehead.com/tuesdayma/formbyEE300907.htm )

 

You can see how Joy Mounter has answered her question, Can children carry out action research about learning, creating their own learning theory? while working in the boundaries of cultures in resistance. The resistances are between an academic culture than tends to eliminate the embodied knowledges of professional educators as worthy of forming academic knowledge, and a professional culture that elevates this distinct academic approach to the education of professional practitioners, in their living educational theories, as a form of knowledge of great value for the future of humanity.

(http://www.jackwhitehead.com/tuesdayma/joymounterull.htm )

 

Whilst working with doctoral researchers, I have learnt much from each enquiry.  Recent submissions include those of Eden Charles (2007), Je Kan Adler-Collins (2007),  Yaqub Murray (2007), Jane Spiro, Jocelyn Jones and Joan Walton. You will find the theses of Charles (2007) and Adler-Collins (2007) at http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/living.shtml together with most of the living theory theses I have supervised, as well as living theory theses supervised by others. 

 

From my supervisions I have learnt that cultures in resistance include energised boundaries that are seeking to sustain privileges based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and class. They also include energised boundaries that are seeking to enhance social justice, love and knowledge.  Thanks to the influence of Yaqub Murray (2007) my awareness includes a consideration of the significance of 'whiteness' as a historical and cultural power that sustains the privilege of white people, as in the white supremicist philosophy of the British National Party. I have considered the possibility that integrating a concept of 'whiteness', a 'white racial identity' and 'white race talk',  in a living educational theory might be a powerful motivating influence in a social and educational movement towards greater social justice. I have considered Ladson-Billings’ (2006) argument for the concept of an ‘Education Debt’. In relation to a 'white racial identity' my own preference is to emphasise the significance of Ubuntu (Charles, 2007) as way of being that had its genesis in Africa and that includes values that have traditionally been associated with cultures that have been described as white or black. With immigration and mixed race marriages and children, more cosmopolitan (Murray, 2007) cultures are emerging. These could benefit from Charles' understanding of moving beyond decolonisation through societal reidentification and guiltless recognition. Charles' Abstract for his thesis emerged from more than 7 years of sustained enquiry on: How Can I Bring Ubuntu As A Living Standard of Judgement Into The Academy? Moving Beyond Decolonisation Through Societal Reidentification And Guiltless Recognition http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/edenphd.shtml

 

The most recent living theory doctoral thesis to be considered for legitimation at the University of Bath is that of Je Kan Adler-Collins (2007). It is particularly relevant to this conference on cultures in resistance, as Adler-Collins explored boundaries in resistance in his enquiry:

Developing an inclusional pedagogy of the unique: How do I clarify, live and explain my educational influences in my learning as I pedagogise my healing nurse curriculum in a Japanese University?  http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/jekan.shtml

With the evidence I have presented above I believe that I am justified in claiming that this living educational theory approach is having a transformatory influence in enhancing the flow of life-affirming energy with values and understandings that I believe carry hope for the future of humanity. I offer it as worthy of being recognised as an outstanding contribution to educational knowledge. I do not feel that I am saying this with any sense of ego. It is just that in sustaining a 34 year research programme into the nature of educational theory, and looking back on this productive life, I am hoping that you can appreciate and acknowledge the contribution to educational knowledge as being worthy at least of recognition in promotion from a Lecturer to a Reader!  In generating such living theories the explanations of educational influences in learning have included creative and energising responses to cultures of reproduction (Rawal, 2006; Charles, 2007; Adler-Collins, 2007) that are resisting these flows of energy, values and understandings.

 

For my conference presentations, the proposals are usually submitted several months before the event. I always like to check that my presentations are experienced as an appropriate answer to my question. So, I hope that offered you an adequate answer to the question:

How are living educational theories being produced and legitimated in the boundaries of cultures in resistance?

 

Thank you for the opportunity to share the ideas.

References

 

Adler-Collins, J. (2007) Developing an inclusional pedagogy of the unique:  How do I clarify, live and explain my educational influences in my learning as I pedagogise my healing nurse curriculum in a Japanese University?  Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 28 January 2008 from http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/jekan.shtml

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Charles, E. (2007) How can I bring Ubuntu as a living standards of judgment into the Academy? Moving Beyond Decolonisiation Through Societal Reidentification And Guiltless Recognition. Ph.D. University of Bath. Retrieved 15 August 2007 from http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/edenphd.shtml

Cho, D. (2005) Lessons Of Love: Psychoanalysis And Teacher-Student Love.  Educational Theory, Vol. 55, No.1, 79-95.

Cunningham, B. (1999) How do I come to know my spirituality as I create my own living educational theory? Ph.D. Thesis, University of Bath. Retrieved 19 February 2004 from http://www.actionresearch.net/ben.shtml

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Formby, C. (2008) How am I integrating my educational theorizing firstly with the educational responsibility I express in my educational relationships with the children in my class, but also with the educational responsibility I feel towards those in the wider school community? Draft educational enquiry masters unit. Retrieved 17 March 2008 from http://www.jackwhitehead.com/tuesdayma/cfee3draft.htm

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Fromm, E. (1956) The Sane Society, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Fromm, E. (1957) The Art of Loving, 1995 edn. London: Thorsons.

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Fromm, E. (1979) To Have or to Be, London: Abacus. Gadamer, H. G. (1975)   Truth and Method, London; Sheed and Ward.

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