Tag Archives: politics

Call for Papers: NETWORKED REALMS AND HOPED-FOR FUTURES: a trans-generational dialogue

a trans-generational dialogue

During the past decades, people from all walks of life – educators, information scientists, geeks, writers, film makers etc. – envisioned various futures for the relationships between education and technologies. Step by step, the logic of technological and social development has cherry-picked the most viable options and dumped others deep into the waste bin of history. Yesterday, our present was just one of many possible futures – today, it is our only reality.

This Special Issue of the journal E-Learning and Digital Media (www.wwwords.co.uk/ELEA) invites authors to step back from the never-ending quest for new concepts and ideas and to revisit past insights into the relationships between education and technologies – including, but not limited to, the formal process of schooling. Based on analyses of historical ideas, we invite authors to reflect on the relationships between past, present and future.

What is viable today might not have been viable yesterday: history of human thought is packed with excellent ideas that once failed to make an impact because of wrong placement, timing or simply bad luck. Therefore, we are particularly interested in identification and examination of ignored/abandoned/neglected/forgotten concepts and ideas that might shed new light to our current reality and/or (re)open new and/or abandoned strands of research.
Working at the intersection of technology, psychology, sociology, history, politics, philosophy, arts, and science fiction, we welcome contributions from wide range of disciplines and inter-, trans- and anti-disciplinary research methodologies.

All contributions should be original and should not be under consideration elsewhere. Authors should be aware that they are writing for an international audience and should use appropriate language. Manuscripts should not exceed 8000 words. For further information and authors’ guidelines please see www.wwwords.co.uk/elea/howtocontribute.asp

All papers will be peer-reviewed, and evaluated according to their significance, originality, content, style, clarity and relevance to the journal.

Please submit your initial abstract (300-400 words) by email to the Guest Editors.

Petar Jandrić, Department of Informatics & Computing, Polytechnic of Zagreb, Croatia (pjandric@tvz.hr)
Christine Sinclair, Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, UK (christine.sinclair@ed.ac.uk)
Hamish Macleod, Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, UK (h.a.macleod@ed.ac.uk)

15 February 2014 – Deadline for abstracts to guest editors
1 May 2014 – Deadline for submissions/full papers
1 July 2014 – Deadline for feedback from reviewers
1 October 2014 – Final deadline for amended papers
Publication date – in 2015, to be decided

The political compass and the vanishing political spectrum

The “political spectrum” is a long time topic in high school social studies classes and the parlance of “left-wing/right-wing” is firmly embedded in the minds of most North Americans. However, the left-right dichotomy that is typically used to categorize political views in the media and elsewhere does more obfuscate than illuminate differences in political thought.

In the USA the political spectrum has shrunk to the point that there is effectively no difference between Democrats and Republicans on economics, while there are a few, but only a few, notable differences on social issues. So if you watch Fox News, CNN, etc. you’ll see teleprompter reading pundits making mountains of mole hills when it comes to who’s on the left and who’s on the right—Alan Colms on the left? (At least we don’t have to endure Hannity and Colms any more on FoxNews, although Colms continues to pose on Fox radio).

The terms “Right-wing” and “Left-wing” as applied to politics originated with the French government assemblies in the 18th Century, where the aristocrats sat to the right of the speaker and commoners (the bourgeoisie) to the left.

The oversimplication of political thought to a single scale of left/right is what allows some Americans to actually call Obama a socialist. These folks are sincere in their beliefs about Obama, but the ancient Greeks would have called them called idiots (ἰδιώτης or idiōtēs)—seen as having bad judgment in public and political matters.

Typically jejune public (and pundit) opinions about what constitutes the left and the right makes it difficult for folks to make sense of political positions that fall out of the narrow mainstream—Noam Chomsky and Ron Paul are examples of well known political figures who cannot be accurately characterized on the left/right political binary.

What’s at issue here is not just the accuracy with which we categorize political figures or political views. The left/right binary has the practical effect of forcing political discourse into artificial categories—every political disagreement becomes a two-sided argument, which is the typical cable news or local newspaper paradigm for political news coverage. This strategy works quite well in capitalist democracies, which cultivate the appearance of dissent, choice, and difference on political and social issues, while manufacturing consent amongst the public for policies designed to preserve the interests economic and political elites. The economic bailouts of recent months are a good example of this.

But the left/right binary also alienates, marginalizes, and confuses many people who fail to see a place for their own political views in the “objective” framework of what consitutes politics, so they do not participate (and I’m not talking about voting or elections, but the failure to image themselves as having political agency in the broadest sense of the concept).

Despite a wide variety of models that can provide multidimensional images of political positions, discourse about the political spectrum in the media and many classrooms remains shallow and unidimensional.

While models (and quizzes) like The Political Spectrum, Pournelle Chart, the Nolan Chart, etc. have their limitations, they can be useful pedagogical tools for teachers who want to encourage their students to think about politics beyond the oversimplified right/left divisions that dominate mainstream media (and this provides students with a good starting point for thinking critically about the MSM and the interests they serve).

A message from Staughton Lynd

I encourage you to get your library to purchase the new memoir by Staughton and Alice Lynd. EWR

Greetings.  Alice and I have written a joint autobiography entitled Stepping Stones: Memoir of a Life Together.  We need your help in getting the book into the hands of the young people for whom it is most intended.

The book begins with a lovely Foreword by our longtime colleague, Tom Hayden.  Then come chapters, some written by us both, some by one of us, some by the other.  The chapters are grouped in the following sections:

Beginnings (our families, Staughton as a “premature New Leftist” and Alice on “Music and Dance and Discovering Childhood,” how we met and fell in love);

Community (our three years in the Macedonia Cooperative Community in the hills of Georgia);

The Sixties (among other matters, Mississippi Freedom Summer, a trip to Hanoi, Alice’s work in draft counseling and how it planted in our minds the idea of the “two experts” — the professionally trained person and the counselee, client or fellow struggler — who work together);

Accompaniment (how we found our way beyond the Sixties by doing oral history and then law together, with chapters on Nicaragua and Palestine);

The Worst of the Worst (representing and learning from prisoners);

Afterwords (a poem, retrospectives, Alice’s wishes for our daughter Martha’s marriage).

We had some difficulty finding a publisher.  At length we signed a contract with Lexington Books.  Lexington has produced an attractive hardback edition.  On the front cover there is a photograph of the two of us on the day we married (looking very young) and on the back cover a picture taken at our 50th wedding anniversary.

The problem is that this hardback edition is intended for academic libraries and costs $70.  Perhaps in part because of the current recession, we have been told that a paperback edition will be forthcoming only if orders from libraries are substantial.

This is where you can help.  It could make all the difference in getting this book into the hands of those who will carry on from all of us if you could:

* Ask whatever libraries you are connected with — law libraries, college or university libraries, public libraries — to acquire Stepping Stones.  The address of Lexington Books is:

Lexington Books
4501 Forbes Boulevard
Suite 200
Lanham MD 20706, www.lexingtonbooks.com.

There is a customer service number if desired:  800-462-6420.

* If you are told that the library would purchase a paperback edition but cannot afford an expensive hardback copy at this time, we hope you will write to Lexington Books and tell them that.

Let’s look at the bright side.  If your library orders a copy, you can read the durned book for free.  And if enough libraries order copies it will hopefully trigger paperback production, and together we can pass on to our successors what one Zapatista has called the hope of creating “another everything.”

With thanks, love, and comradeship,

Staughton Lynd for S&A