Thursday, April 13, 2006



One good thing about conferences like AERA is the way that presentations – both the good and the not so good ones – can create a sort of collage of ideas. For me this last week, it’s been the theme of ways of resisting dominant discourses, from Allan Luke’s reflections on engaging with policy-makers (a sort of entryism) through to Colin Lankshear’s idea of tactics for ‘messing with the space’ (more like situationist-anarchism). The theme became manifest in other ways too – with Kurt Squires’ serious examination of different discourses around Grand Theft Auto and Debbie Rowe’s close analysis of ideologies and routines in early writing.

I rounded my conference off with a few beers in the good company of Colin, Michele and Michael. Among other things we talked about the uses and misuses of theory. It must have been a good discussion because I had a hard time remembering where my hotel was! It was great to be with the Travel Notes people, to meet up again with Sarah and to start up discussions that still have some way to run. Like with Julia Gillen – are there dangers in using the term “social software” as a category? And with Kate (and Jennifer) – is blogging a community of practice, an affinity space or neither? Some of these debates may well get rehearsed over on Blogtrax in the near future.

Because of technical problems I’ve not kept the sort of ongoing conference record that Kate has – but I have pictures which I’ll probably be running out-of-synch with my posts over the next few days. Time bends, or so it seems.


Joolz said...

Does it depend on whose blog you are talking about? Just as some companies and some schools etc have organisations that run like a C of P, not all of them will do.
I reckon that Cs of P / affinity spaces are not all good either; in fact I always thought that the insurance company that Wenger described was distinctly dodgy, with no one really understanding the big picture.

But my point is that there are many different ways of connecting (or not) and I like the idea of constellations.

Guy Merchant said...

Well, I'd rather see the blogosphere as a vast social network within which there may be some more or less bounded communities of p...elsewhere there maybe affinity spaces (perhaps the one focused on a shared set of identities and the other focused on tasks). Kate was arguing that because she was apprenticed to a set of practices, bloggers therefore constituted a community of practice. There are, however, nearly as many blogging practices as there are bloggers.

Dazed, confused and definitely jet-lagged, I think I'm agreeing with you (lovely, though to have a discussion that roams across space, time and dispersed networks)!

Guy Merchant said...

I've pushed this a little bit further on Blogtrax with a more extended ramble on social software, joining together this, and the SF discussions with JR, KP and JG!!! Join in there?

Kate said...

Once again, I missed all the good sessions.