29 SES 08, Alternative Pedagogies and Questionings in Arts Education
Wicksröm (2014) in his presentation on “Deconstucting constructive alignment” in the ICED conference brought to the fore how in the international area of educational development, “a few theoretical concepts are considered and treated as a kind of normative structure for how educational processes should be understood”. As he stated in the session abstract, “An apparent consensus on the basic concepts is hindering creative educational development, if we do not only want to harmonize and standardize education.”
This paper explores creative educational development by asking what it might be or become. It is based on an educational development process within the disciplines of arts in higher education. The exploration is framed by Deleuze’s (1994) philosophy of difference, which allows a movement beyond the boundaries that disciplines and their pedagogies have often been distributed into. The paper concludes by re-imagining potentialities and expanding difference and creation within processes of educational development.
In the widely used classification of disciplines and their differences, the notion of difference has been understood from a rather unproblematized perspective: Difference is approached through opposites and conceptualized as discrete and distinct, which separates one from the other (Davies, 2009). Understanding difference from a Deleuzian perspective disrupts and unsettles categories of representation and allows us to search for fluidity, diversity and potentialities in disciplines and (their) pedagogies.
Gilles Deleuze has often been said to be a “philosopher of difference” (Stagoll, 2010, p. 74). The concept is central to his extensive thinking and philosophy, which, however, goes beyond and through the concept to questioning life. Thus, his (positive) philosophy of difference strives toward multiplicities and possibilities in life and world rather than the (negative) categorical difference, which makes a separation or distinction between things (Deleuze, 1994; Colebrook, 2002,). In this respect, as noted by Williams (2003) Deleuze’s philosophy has had a “growing influence on the practical ways in which we study and react critically to the many disciplines, systems and habits of thought that dominate our lives.” (p. 3). In other words, “we might live differently if we conceived the world differently” (St. Pierre, 2004, p. 290). In these lines of thinking I might continue, that if we understood the concept of difference differently it might open up new ways of conceiving the disciplines and (their) pedagogies, beyond the common categories and definitions they have been distributed into.
And so, instead of conceptualizing difference as discrete and distinct, which separates one from the other Deleuze offers us to think of another kind of difference. He writes (Deleuze, 1994):
“[…] every time we find ourselves confronted or bound by a limitation or an opposition, we should ask what such a situation presupposes. It presupposes a swarm of differences, a pluralism of free, wild or untamed differences; a properly differential and original space and time; all of which persist alongside the simplifications of limitation and opposition. “ (p. 50)
In his extensive introduction to Deleuze’s major work on Difference and Repetition Williams (2003) goes on to discuss that for Deleuze “real difference is a matter of how things become different, how they evolve and continue to evolve beyond the boundaries of the sets they have been distributed into” (p. 60).Following these lines of thinking the disciplines and their pedagogies are not closed or established categories, but open and porous, formed by constant creative force of becoming in encounters with others. The differenciation in pedagogy, then, invites us to engage in encounters that might open up possibilities for understanding disciplines and their pedagogies through multiplicities instead of compartmentalizing them (only) through the concepts deriving from established disciplinary categories.
Baugh, B. (2010). Experimentation. In A. Parr (Ed.), The Deleuze Dictionary. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, 93-95. Colebrook, C. (2002). Understanding Deleuze. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin. Davies, B. 2009. Difference and differenciation. In Davies, B. & Gannon, S. (eds). Pedagogical encounters. New York: Peter Lang. Deleuze, G. (1994). Difference and repetition. New York: Columbia University Press. Deleuze, D. & Parnet, C. (2006). Dialogues II. London: Continuum. Hultman, K. & Lenz-Taguchi, H. (2010). Challenging anthropocentric analysis of visual data: a relational materialist methodological approach to educational research, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 23 (5), 525-542. Kreber, C. (ed.) (2009). The University and its Disciplines. Teaching and Learning Within and Beyond Disciplinary Boundaries. New York: Routledge. Kreber, C. & Castleden, H. (2009). Reflection on Teaching and epistemological structure. Reflective and critically reflective processes of academic teachers in pure/soft and pure/hard fields. Higher Education, 57 (4), 509-531. Lee, A., Manathunga, C. & Kandlbinder, P. (2010). Shaping a culture: oral histories of academic development in Australian universities. Higher Education Research & Development, 29 (3), 307-318. Manathunga, C. (2006). Doing Educational Development Ambivalently: Applying post-colonial metaphors to educational development? International Journal for Academic Development, 11 (1), 19-29. Manathunga, C. & Brew, A. (2012). Beyond Tribes and Territories, New Metaphors for New Times. In . In Trowler, P., Saunders, M., Bamber, V. (eds). Tribes and Territories in the 21st Century. Rethinking the significance of disciplines in higher education. London: Routledge, 44-56. May, T. (2005). Gilles Deleuze: An Introduction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Neumann, R. (2001). Disciplinary Differences and University Teaching. Studies in Higher Education. 26 (2), 135-146. Neumann, R.; Parry, .S; Becher, T. (2002). Teaching and Learning in their Disciplinary Contexts: a conceptual analysis. Studies in Higher Education. 27 (4), 405-417. Nevgi, A. and Lindblom-Ylänne, S. (2005). Mihin yliopistopedagogiikkaa tarvitaan? [What is university pedagogy for?] In R. Jakku-Sihvonen (ed.) Uudenlaisia maistereita. Keuruu: PS-kustannus, 73-85. Rogoff, I. (2006). Academy as Potentiality. In Nollert, A. et al. (eds.). A.C.A.D.E.M.Y. Visual Essays. Revolver: Berlin, 13-20. St. Pierre, E.A. (2004). Deleuzian Concepts for Education: The subject undone. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 36 (3), 283-296. Trowler, P. (2014). Depicting and researching disciplines: strong and moderate essentialist approaches. Studies in Higher Education, 39 (10), 1720-1731. Wickström, J. (2014). Deconstructing Constructive Alignment. Paper presentation at the International Consortium of Educational Development –conference: Educational Development in a Changing World. 16-18 June. Stockholm, Sweden.
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