Kathy sent this link to the game, Nomic, the point of which is to change the rules. Maybe I’ll get to play it this summer? I think it could be fascinating to observe/participate in a setting in which one cannot rely on the rules staying the same. Could be quite the mind-f*ck, eh?
Of course, I’m all about changing the rules. 🙂 No wonder I stress folks out so much, sometimes. But I like certain rules to stay the same too – so the art of change, perhaps, is flexing with the flow of each other’s static and fluid rule systems?
It can definitely generate grumpiness in me if something I expected doesn’t pan out as I anticipated. And, since life does have its unpredictabilities….keeping everything else as even as possible does kinda make sense. Except when it doesn’t. 😉
So, DK’s getting ready to rend my funding proposal into tiny shreds. Actually, he asked me a dozen questions and I already know many things wrong with it. I’ll be thrilled if he identifies anything “right” with it! Just talking about it was helpful. Somehow, the questions he asked got me thinking about the proposal and what I want to accomplish just differently enough that some pieces have been clicking into place.
Discourse analysis instead of ethnography. It’s a preliminary study and I can’t do an ethnography justice. But I can do a discourse analysis justice, and the goal is to produce a wedge into the language policy debates for interpreting practitioners. Not as in a representative here or there, but as in a compilation of expertise gleaned from the discourses of communities of practice (it might be a stretch to invoke the theoretical construct, I’ll have to check, but I do mean the discourses of practitioners, and within two distinct “communities”).
If I do it well (I have no doubt there are incredible diagnostic and descriptive themes, possibly prescriptive ones as well that may be intriguing), then I can argue to return for a proper ethnography.
Another revelation, is that people read me as seeking to impose a prescription and I’ve resisted this but I think its right. The thing is, I don’t have any prescriptions – do this and that will come out such and so. My “prescription” is simply engagement. Talk. Deeply and seriously, with attention, reflexivity, and vulnerability (i.e., risk-taking), and something will come out of it. Who knows what? Maybe a worse “solution”, maybe a better one. Maybe something transformative, or something downright distressing in its effect. Change for change’s sake? No. Change for the sake of striving to stay on the growing edge of living.
The zeitgeist of our time, it seems to me, is not to fall prey to the zeitgeist. And maybe its not everyone in “our time”, just the old fogies. The “kids” I teach (!) have embraced the times and are forging full steam ahead. So are the young uns whose livejournals I’ve been checking out recently. Maybe it’s me, feeling my age, or maybe it’s them, feeling theirs? 🙂
Speaking of my students, they flurried away with blogposts all evening. We just might yet pull out of the counterdependent tailspin and re-cohere as a class. We might not. 🙂 I see signs of both possibilities. The real challenge, for me, now, is to stay out of the way – I don’t mean don’t exercise my authority as necessary, but not to use my authority position to try and influence them too much. Meanwhile, maintain structure, expectations, and capture (“act into” – Vernon’s really gotten in deep!) moments of opportunity when they emerge.