NOTES on a Youtube vid: Sennett on co-operation

How can we design spaces in the city which encourage strangers to cooperate? (How does this relate to social interactions in the processes of digital making in schools?)

Sennett’s address to Harvard univ Graduate School of Design on Feb 28th 2012:

Cooperation and encounter with difference.

Borders / edges / as a site for more intense forms of life.

2 forms of cooperative exchange:

DIALOGIC form of exchange/listening skill – Bakhtin – Look as for, or things they’re afraid to surface. Skill of exchange focussing on responsiveness to the covert. not the overt.
t intent beneath the words. Don’t take lang at face value. Mean to say but don’t have words
doesn’t seek for closure, seeks different kind of interaction = language of cooperation –  empathetic (cool), subjunctive, the hidden, unresolved as a process. Eschew closure. Relations with material craftwork – problem-finding. More useable as a tool for complex communication. Wonder/curiosity in the address to the other… interested in what’s going on with the other person, stay with them, becomes engaged in something other than yourself.

Arendt privileged colder domain of empathy & curiosity towards the other.

eg. Brits are good at it … “Perhaps… ” &  “I would have thought that…”

Opens up space of ambiguity where there can be interaction. Privileging ambiguity. Withdrawing from domination and leaving a space free. Application of minimum force. Craftwork: mobilises empathy, deployment of objectivity in the sense of the address to the other.

DIALECTIC form of exchange = power relation interplay. Hegelian dialectic, servant responds in a way that dislocates dominant speech of master: thesis/antithesis. Habermasian idea of communicative interaction, resistance and overcoming resistance, problem-solving.
Language of debate: declarative, closure, sympathetic identicifcation (hot), bounded narrative with a denouement. Needs to be as persuasive as poss. Mobilises enlightenment but also channels aggression. Fetish of assertion… expresses will. Declaration is a mode of domination, bending the other to one’s will. Sympathy means imposition of magisterial self – there’s nothing that you can’t identify with, mode of control, nothing that you can’t react to…pity and condescension, emphasis is on me understanding you, nothing foreign about to you. Hannah Arendt says sympathy is a bad address to the other, it deploys subjectivity.

“Demanding cooperation is better served by dialogic, subjunctive, empathic social exchange than it is by dialectical, declarative, sympathetic exchange” @ 37:00 mins

The 2 forms of exchange relate also to Boundary (dialectic) and Border (dialogic – compare membrane – resistance and porosity) conditions. Compare pedagogical practices that emulate boundary and border conditions. Boundaries inhibit exchange. Edge conditions are often a hive of intense exchange, change, learning and evolution.

Compare the Third Space of educ. practice. Edge between home and school. We’re good at forming boundaries but should encourage more border conditions; not totally open, free flow access. There’s a need to incorporate some resistance to encourage exchange.

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