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Floating Classrooms: A Model For Mobile Teaching

The nature of the Floating Classroom project is to develop the affordances around going into communities and opening up spaces which are equipped to cultivate threads of interest which reside in those communities. This means having everything that a classroom might normally have in a higher education context, except on a mobile basis.

Like UNICEF created their ‘School in a Box‘ scheme, providing the basic fundamental tools to communities to set up a classroom, the idea here is to have a ‘floating classroom’ where we apply learning taken from human development work. Specifically, Ernesto Sirolli and participatory action research, where the community are listened to and their learning trajectory is decided by their own interests and the issues which they face in their day to day lives. Read more

Disappearing Social Spaces and The Third Place

Before the core settings of an informal public life can be restored to the urban landscape and re-established in daily life, it will be necessary to articulate their nature and benefit. The core settings of the informal public life must be analyzed and discussed in terms comprehensible to these rational and individualistic outlooks dominant in thought. We must dissect, talk in terms of specific payoffs, and reduce special experience to common labels. We must urgently begin to defend these Great Good Places – as Professor Ray Oldenburg calls them – against the unbelieving and the antagonistic, and do so in terms which are clear to all.

Oldenburg introduced the term “the third place” to describe articulately “the core settings of informal public life”. The third place is a generic designation for a great variety of public places that host the regular, voluntary, informal and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work. Read more

The Differences Arise In Group Psychology

The behaviour of the group is enigmatic. A group acts in our minds as a corporate person in as much as we imagine what the norm is and normalize behaviour to what this imagined person embodies. This gives rise to worrying outcomes in many situations. Throughout history, the madness of crowds has been known to overtake the individual responsibility of thinking and acting according to personal responsibility.

Most famously, Adolf Hitler dehumanized the Jews by creating an ‘in-group’ and other ‘out-groups’. The creation of a political myth of the Aryan race placed at the top of a hierarchy, thus denigrating and belittling any type of other so that the idea of just power coursed through the minds of the people urged to take power to unspeakable cost. The atrocities came about for many clever manipulations, but central to this was the development of the idea of a distinct group. Read more

Social Capital and Pierre Bourdieu: A Digest

Pierre Bourdieu is a sociologist who’s interest focused on social class and stratification along with inequality. His perspectives evolved through trying to develop a cultural anthropology of social reproduction. In the 1960s he described the dynamics of structured sets of values and ways of thinking as forming ‘the habitus’. This alludes to the space between the subjective agency and objective position.

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Social Capital and Education: A Digest

What the concept of social capital has brought to the debate is, at bottom, an interest in the pay offs that arise from our relationships. The idea that social capital returns tangible benefits to its holders is obviously open to testing against evidence.

Social capital has had a wide range of application, and inevitably the level of research evidence is variable. To summarise the findings of a wide variety of research, it seems that in general, social capital broadly does what the theorists have claimed: to put it crudely, people who are able to draw on others for support are healthier than those who cannot; they are also happier and wealthier; their children do better at school, and their communities suffer less from anti-social behaviour.

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The World Bank and Social Capital by Juan Guerra

Hi, my name is Juan. Many years ago, I fundraised my way into university. I could have missed out because of money and that sparked a fire in me: I decided to dedicate my career to making poverty optional.

And so, as a young student, I started researching what tools could be used to tackle poverty. A powerful one I came across is social capital. I knew exactly how this could work, because it was what I used to get to university in the first place. I was never very academic, so please forgive the sloppiness of my writing, but this is a paper I wrote when I was 21. Read more

Conference: Developing Social Capital; From Promises to Knowledge Exchange

This paper was written and presented by Alex Dunedin and Susan Brown at the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC) Annual Conference 2012.  The theme of the conference was ‘Promises: Crisis and Socio-Cultural Change’.  It was held at Manchester University.

We were invited to present the Ragged project at their 8th annual conference and contribute to the dialogue as an informal education project which seeks to bring about positive social change.  The theme of it was ‘Promises: Crisis and Socio-Cultural Change’….

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