20 research outputs found

    Common education in schools. Gauging potentials for democratic transformation: a case study from Greece

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    This article examines how educational commons, in which teaching and learning are shaped by the entire educational community on terms of equal freedom, contribute to democratic empowerment and renewal. Intervening in the critical debate over public formal education and the scope it allows for radical democratization, discussion draws on a case study conducted in the self-organized school Solidarity School Mesopotamia in Moschato, Athens, Greece.The Solidarity School is an informal tutoring or supplementary tuition school which is attached to the formal high school curriculum. One of its main objectives is to support students for the courses they attend in public schools and to prepare them for public school and university entrance exams. This attachment foists constraints on education, however, the commons-based organization and the alter-political nature of the school put a crucial twist on educational practice. This generates considerable transformative effects which are reflected markedly in the ambiance of teaching and learning.The School promotes socio-economic and political equality not only by providing free tuition to students whose families may not be able to afford private supplementary teaching and might not be able thus to enter university or to learn foreign languages. The School nourishes also a culture of equal freedom, solidarity and civic engagement which refashions the hegemonic habitus of consumerist individualism, passivity and submission to socio-political hierarchies.The article argues thus that there is room for educational commons and democratic transformation even in structures which remain tailored to formal schooling but refigure educational hierarchies and modes of governance, infusing education with an alternative democratic ethos of solidarity, equal freedom and grassroots self-organization

    Community currencies as laboratories of institutional learning: emergence of governance through the mediation of social value

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    This paper is motivated by a long-standing curiosity about the role of scale in explanatory theories of socio-economic action. Introducing scale as an analytical variable implies the coexistence of individuals alongside institutions. We make the case that economic activity becomes more sustainable when it is ‘colonized’ by ‘social value’ whereby market activity is complemented with community and democratic values, by which we mean the opposite of the commodification of e.g. social networks analytics. We take the Sardex mutual credit system as an empirical context from which to begin exploring the extent to which such community-based economic practices offer a democratic and social alternative to, a questionable substitute for, or a functional supplement to the capitalist market, the welfare state, and public enterprises administered by state bureaucracies. We broach critically the emergence of institutional collective structures from the perspective of social constructivism, post- anarchist theory, economic anthropology, and post-capitalist studies of economic action. In particular, we focus on how Graeber’s ideas on the history of debt apply to these points. We propose a recursive constructive framework for socio-economic action whereby money as a social construction is itself a medium of economic construction and, as such, becomes an important lever subject to “design” inputs by socio-economic stakeholders engaged in the development of an inclusive and participatory governance process of institution construction

    Education as Commons, Children as Commoners: The Case Study of the Little Tree Community

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    This paper presents the emergent paradigm of the commons as an alternative value and action system in the field of education, and it critically draws out the implications of the commons for refiguring education and its potential contribution to democratic transformation. The paper delves into an independent pedagogical community, Little Tree, which is active in early childhood education and care, aiming to explore the ways in which children conduct themselves in accordance with the ethics and the logics of the commons and to show how they thereby unsettle the conventional meaning of citizenship. Proceeding from an enlarged notion of the political, the collective action of children and adults on social relations and subjectivities in their ordinary activities and intercourse in the Little Tree community are explored, and the dominant beliefs and ideas about the political ability of children are contested. This enlarged take on the political is crucial to empowering children and to enhancing their participation in public life. This pedagogical community is taken up as an instance of commoning education, that is, of configuring education as a common good, which is collectively governed by its community on terms of freedom, equality, active and creative participation

    The alter-politics of complementary currencies: the case of Sardex

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    This paper addresses the question whether complementary currencies can help us think and practice politics in new and different ways which contribute to democratic change and civic empowerment in our times. The space created by the Sardex complementary currency circuit in Sardinia (2009-to date) seems to leave enough room for the emergence of a collective micropolitical consciousness. At the same time, the design of a technological and financial infrastructure is also an alternative political, or “alter-political” choice. Both are alternative to hegemonic politics and to typical modes of mobilization and contestation. Thus, the Sardex circuit can best be understood as an alter-political combination of the bottom-up micropolitics of personal interactions within the circuit and of the politics of technology implicit in the top-down design of the technological and financial infrastructure underpinning the circuit. The Sardex experience suggests that a market that mediates the (local) real economy only and shuts out the financial economy can provide economic sustainability by supporting SMEs, supply a shield against the adverse effects of financial crises, and counteract the fetishization of money by disclosing daily its roots in social construction within a controlled environment of mutual responsibility, solidarity, and trust. We broached the Sardex currency and circuit in such terms in order to illustrate a significant and effective instance of alter-politics in our times and also to indicate, more specifically, community financial innovations which could be taken up and re-deployed to democratize or “commonify” local economies

    Populism, anti-populism and crisis

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    This article focuses on two issues involved in the formation and political trajectory of populist representations within political antagonism. First, it explores the role of crisis in the articulation of populist discourse. This problematic is far from new within theories of populism but has recently taken a new turn. We thus purport to reconsider the way populism and crisis are related, mapping the different modalities this relation can take and advancing further their theorization from the point of view of a discursive theory of the political, drawing primarily on the Essex School perspective initially developed by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Second, this will involve focusing on the antagonistic language games developed around populist representations, something that has not attracted equal attention. Highlighting the need to study anti-populism together with populism, focusing on their mutual constitution, we will test the ensuing theoretical framework in an analysis of SYRIZA, a recent and, as a result, under-researched example of egalitarian, inclusionary populism emerging within the European crisis landscape

    Ambiances of the new in contemporary politics: resisting the post-political

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    Part of topic : Ambiance, atmosphere, climate: theory, politics and criticismInternational audienceHow can we rethink social transformation in the conditions of post-political neoliberal governmentality? James C. Scott has traced political breakthroughs back to the ‘hidden transcripts’ which are nourished in partly autonomous zones of everyday conflict and struggle. Richard Day captures a mode of social reconstruction which is detached from revolutionary events and is attached to the creation of alternatives in present tense. Today, such ‘ambiances of the new’ are crafted by social movements which pursue a ‘horizontalist’ activism seeking to foster plurality and openness. They cultivate thus particular ethics, affects, habits, mentalities, modes of organisation and spaces, which enable more democratic forms of collective action and help to put together large collective fronts in the interests of the many

    Dismantle the University! The state of exception and neoliberal visions under Greek debt peonage

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    In the fall of 2013, Greek universities are on the verge of a terminal collapse. As the production of critical academic discourse and opposition to the neoliberal orthodoxies and the prevailing policies in Greece continues unabated, it is little wonder that a predominantly conservative, rightwing government would seize the opportunity of the debt crisis and the obligations to Greece’s lenders to give vent to its long-felt resentment and to teach the disobedient universities a disciplinary lesson.</p

    Freedom and subjectivity in Marx, liberalism and the work of Cornelius Castoriadis

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    This D.Phil, dissertation looks into different conceptions of freedom in contemporary and earlier modern philosophy. It concentrates on the accounts of K. Marx, I. Kant, J. S. Mill, I. Berlin and C. Castoriadis, and focuses on their portrait of the agent of freedom. From this standpoint, the thesis singles out three strands of thought: an essentialist paradigm of freedom, traditional liberal alternatives, and a contemporary anti-essentialist school. The main objective is to elaborate and vindicate the antiessentialist approach as exemplified by the work of C. Castoriadis. The central argument is that contemporary anti-essentialist thought has outlined a compelling idea of freedom, which overcomes the defects of earlier conceptions.The essentialist paradigm, as represented by K. Marx and I. Kant, imputes specific universal features to the subject of freedom, which fix permanently the chief object, the basic norms or the fundamental conditions of freedom. Individuals are bound thus to definite forms of life, to the effect that choice and autonomy are significantly restricted. Negative liberty and J. S. Mill's notion are less attached to generic models of life, but they fail to provide an adequate corrective to essentialist freedom. Negative liberty does not grapple with the manifold constraints on freedom that operate from within the self, while J. S. Mill's ideal ties the self to the realisation of specific talents and inclinations. The anti-essentialist view challenges the commitment to an abiding essence of the self and brings out the power of individuals to create themselves and their world in new ways. Freedom is recast as a critical, creative and open-ended process of self-formation through choices which draw on an indefinite range of different possibilities. The thesis examines this construal of freedom in the work of C. Castoriadis, and goes on to explore the anti-essentialist paradigm more widely.With respect to its method, the dissertation has two key features: it proceeds through a closed reading of specific authors and it delves into epistemological and ontological questions (theories of society and the self) that bear profoundly on the conceptualisation of freedom.</p

    Razón agonística y crítica post-fundacional en Castoriadis y Foucault

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    La renovación del pensamiento crítico en la teoría política y social ha desencadenado numerosos debates que a menudo han sido polarizados en términos de una división entre corrientes de pensamiento universalistas u objetivistas y contextualistas o relativistas. Esta dicotomía capta las diferencias relevantes, pero pierde de vista otras perspectivas de la razón crítica, tales como aquellas iniciadas por Michael Foucault y Cornelius Castoriadis. Luego de un estudio de la razón agonística y sus virtudes en ambos pensadores, la primer parte del ensayo discrepará con la idea foucaultiana de la crítica y pondrá de relieve las fortalezas distintivas de Castoriadis a los fines de demostrar una práctica de la reflexión radical más robusta en contra de fundamentos fuertes. En la segunda parte del argumento voy a discutir contra las irritantes aporías que le confieren su justificación y alcance. El argumento probará que las soluciones generalmente ofrecidas resultan poco prometedoras y esbozará respuestas alternativas que rediman el espíritu híper-crítico de la razón agonística, aunque podría resonar también en otras tradiciones de pensamiento

    Freedom and subjectivity in Marx, liberalism and the work of Cornelius Castoriadis

    No full text
    With respect to its method, the dissertation has two key features: it proceeds through a closed reading of specific authors and it delves into epistemological and ontological questions (theories of society and the self) that bear profoundly on the conceptualisation of freedom.EThOS - Electronic Theses Online ServiceGBUnited Kingdo
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