Found the "uncorrected page proofs" for this book in a free-box from the local public radio station at a renewable energy fair of all places. The more...moreFound the "uncorrected page proofs" for this book in a free-box from the local public radio station at a renewable energy fair of all places. The more you get into it, the more engrossing it gets. Some of the anecdotes seem thrown in for gross-out effect, the descriptions of the entomologists and anthropologists maybe pulling a bit too hard, but overall a great view into this actually rather fascinating arena. Text also serves as great fodder for book art / collage projects. Especially the juicy parts about maggots and bloated, dismembered bodies...(less)
De Soto has a point, namely that the biggest reason for the continued laggardness of people in developing countries to "catch up" with those in the de...moreDe Soto has a point, namely that the biggest reason for the continued laggardness of people in developing countries to "catch up" with those in the developed world lies in the convoluted local legal structures that favor those with the power, money, influence, and the wherewithal to navigate their way through the system. As in it is cheaper and easier to just stay outside of the legal system altogether and cobble together an implicit, grassroots alternative to it. Hence the overwhelming majority of economic activity that lies in the "informal sector," retaining people's assets in a form that doesn't lend itself to the multi-faceted liquidity engendered almost as an epiphenomenon by the legal system of personal property rights that we take so much for granted.
What is frustrating is his willfully obdurate assertion that after the failure of state socialism, "capitalism is the only game around," especially when the full-throttle exploitation of the very liquidity that he touts as the way out of the poverty hole in which the majority of people in the developing world are stuck forms the core of what has led to the current financial crisis. It would be greatly interesting to see what he would have to say about the current state of affairs, given the book was published back in 2000.(less)
Read with the 4th Assessment Report put out last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the most up-to-date, in-depth overview of t...moreRead with the 4th Assessment Report put out last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the most up-to-date, in-depth overview of the greatest challenge we are having to have had the opportunity to face. Essential reading. If you aren't completely scared out of your wits by the end of it, there will be no room for accommodating you in the world-state we are ever swiftly hurtling into.(less)
The Introduction to Education for Critical Consciousness starts right out with a little something about Freire's dialectical ability to move beyond hi...moreThe Introduction to Education for Critical Consciousness starts right out with a little something about Freire's dialectical ability to move beyond his own superceded, potentially naive work without totally denigrating it, and I believe that is just about the best descriptor I can gather for this aggregation of two of his earlier essays.
The first, Education as the Practice of Freedom, gives a broad exposition of the social dynamics in which Freire's own work was embedded - of Brazil's historical superimposition of European strucures and the requisite massification - before diving into the particulars of his own methodology with the initially "semi-intransitively conscious" peasants of early-mid-60's Brazil.
The second, Extension or Communication, while spending much energy in a Jared Diamond-esque chewing of the theoretical cud on the inherent difference between coercive, propagandistic, purely technocratic rural extension, and an education that enables both educator-educatee and educatee-educator Subjects to examine the social relations that result in the latter's own cultural milieu, does serve as the core of his thinking, and can be seen very much as the precursor to Pedagogy of the Oppressed, as well as being embodied in all subsequent Participary approaches to the project cycle, in development parlance.
Basically, education with, not for. All development is modernization, but all modernization is not development. Dialogue, not "communiques." Solidarity, not charity.
While I don't normally tend to dip into the business management side of the book spectrum, this book, upon flipping through its pages, drew me right i...moreWhile I don't normally tend to dip into the business management side of the book spectrum, this book, upon flipping through its pages, drew me right in.
And laid in plain, explicatory language the crossover from the "new science," chaos, self-organization, dissipative structures, ecological feedback loops, etc., to the realm of social organizational management that I've been trying to envision myself. Faint but present echoes of the Marxist critique of the modern capitalist imperative in ignoring the integral needs of the whole human.. but coming from the side of indeterminacy and the reality of adapting to constant change.
And while Wheatley spends a lot of page-time trying to defend her hypothesis that the findings of the new science (quantum indeterminability, emphasis on process over product, the importance of relationship and free flow of information, etc.) can seriously be applied to how we think about getting our work done, I for one don't doubt the validity of it at all - especially having seen how these principles she's talking about take form on their own organic terms, and the tremendous energies and effectiveness that result when you stop trying to cram an entire person into their little boxes on the organizational chart.
What's interesting to me is the real possibility it raises of somehow shoehorning The Rhizome into the present bureaucratic non-profit paradigm, and how we can retool it to be more responsive to the actual needs on the ground, rather than some organizational imperative to preserve the current structure...(less)
Written in '94 I believe, does feel a bit dated, but still entirely relevant. The really exciting part was the last section of four, which deals with a...moreWritten in '94 I believe, does feel a bit dated, but still entirely relevant. The really exciting part was the last section of four, which deals with actual initiatives one can take on the local level, rather than the same old bad-old-Bretton-Woods-institutions lecture, which the book has quite the redundantly excessive share of. Would even go almost as far as to suggest ripping that last section out and tossing the rest (into the compost pile, of course).(less)
Ended up skipping most of the Book One, going on about obligations, and the large section in the middle of Book Two about France and its history up to...moreEnded up skipping most of the Book One, going on about obligations, and the large section in the middle of Book Two about France and its history up to WWII. What was really worthwhile was the vision she had of the society towards which she saw it was preferable to work, once France and the Continent emerged from the War. Relevant even now.
Typical Campbell, the book is adapted from a series of talks he gave at the Cooper Union Forum between 1958 and 1971... equal parts penetrating analys...moreTypical Campbell, the book is adapted from a series of talks he gave at the Cooper Union Forum between 1958 and 1971... equal parts penetrating analysis and sweeping generalization, grandiloquently naive structuralist explication and gleefully corroborative ethnic bricolage, basic comparative-religious historicity and soaringly majestic metaphysical/spiritual tract, equally embracing of the archaic revival, but at the same time affirmative of the promises and possibilities inherent in our future accomplishments, whatever that may mean.
No matter what you may think of his specific analyses and the potential shortcuts/conflations he takes to make them work, the strength of his innate belief in the power of the human spirit can't not serve in some capacity as the necessary beam of hope in our increasingly dark and anxious time(s).(less)