Gegenstand

[warning= this post is like a dance.... it twists and turns, until some some sort of understanding is achieved within these online confines...]

The end of lifelong learning: A post-human condition? RICHARD EDWARDS

”This article explores the significance of theories of the post-human for lifelong learning. Drawing upon the works of Karen Barad and Bruno Latour, it suggests that education has focused on the learning subject as a result of an a priori assumption of a separation of matter from meaning, the object from the subject. By contrast, a post-human intervention points to the constant material entanglement of the human and non-human in the enactment of the world, and thus the problematic status of subjects and objects as separate from one another.’

I am trying to follow this binary argument.The above seems to equate as follows:

  1. traditionally education =
  • matter / meaning
  • separate object / subject
  1. post-human intervention =
  • constant material entanglement of human and non-human
  • mix object-subject

Where are the matter, meaning, human and non-human positioned here…

Where does ‘representation’ come into this? if along Lyotard’s suggestion there is a collapse of representationalism,  this collapse suggests ‘shifting’ meanings, but surely not ‘without’ meaning.

and Edwards continues, ‘post-humanism refers to an enactment that deconstructs the separation of subjects and objects and, with that, the focus on the human subject as either a representative of an essentialised human nature or in a state of constant becoming. However, it is also the case that this deconstruction requires a subject.’

he then suggests (p 7)  the focus is on ontology (being) rather than representation (epistemology) – would this mean the focus is on the learner, rather than what is learnt?

and it is the learner’s position that is being post-humanised?

Confused. This article is getting my brain in a twist….

More so as the article itself seems to shift in emphasis. On the one hand there is the discussion of a binary tradition (ontology/epistemology) but then considers disrupting the meaning itself of this.

His key position is to move on  to consider meaning via ‘gatherings’, where meaning is not separate from matter, in a Heidegger sense (‘Gegenstand’)

‘… and specifically a gathering to deliberate on a matter under discussion, a contested matter. Here things are a mixing, an entanglement. They gather the human and non-human in their enactments. They are material and they matter.’

and, following on,

In the post-human, rather than the subject representing the object through sense data of, for instance, observation, we enter into the spatio-temporal practices of gathering and experimentation. Knowing is not separate from doing but emerges from the very matter-ings in which we engage. This relies on apparatuses, which ‘are not mere observing instruments but boundary-drawing practices – specific material (re)configurings of the world – which come to matter’ (Barad, 2007, p. 140, emphasis in original). To gather is also to draw boundaries, to include and exclude.

now that makes sense….I see this very much in line with my Love Sick story. (And following Gough’s article, as Edwards also points out )

And for Edwards the position is relating  to ‘matters of concern’:

I am suggesting that a post-human condition could position learning as a gathering of the human and non-human in responsible experimentation to establish matters of concern. However, it could also be that rather than gathering differently, we might have to do away with the notion of lifelong learning altogether. Here a post-human condition could position responsible experimentation as a gathering of the human and non-human to establish matters of concern. This provides a different educational purpose to much of that which is familiar. The difference lies in that it is not the human subjectwho learns through experimenting rather than representing, but the thing [Gegenstand?] that is gathered which is an enactment of human and non-human elements. There is a decentring of the knowing/learning human subject within educational practices.

[as my brain hurts again, I need to take a rest and will revisit later...This is my third attempt at making some sense of this...]

(I also think the Edwards paper can be linked to Dewey but this needs further investigation)

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