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Praxis Intervention P.Madhu
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Praxis InterventionP.Madhu

Introduction` `

Praxis Intervention is a methodological innovation. Why should one risk to innovate?

Fundamental Dichotomies suspected!I. Dichotomy of individual- society Duality (Giddens):challenging traditional dualisms of structure and agency ` In place of each of these dualisms as a single conceptual move, the theory of structuration substitutes the central notion of the duality of structure. By the duality of structure I mean ... Structure is both the medium and the outcome of the reproduction of practices. (Giddens 1979, Central Problems in Social Theory: Action, Structure and Contradiction in Social Analysis, London: Macmillan. p. 5)

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the duality of structure involves a movement from a dualistic rendering of structure as independent of agency to a duality in which it is integral to agency. every act of social production is simultaneously an act of reproduction. Structure and agency form two sides of the same coin. Structuration refers to the dynamic process whereby structures come into being and are reproduced recursively through social practices via the duality of structure.

Habitus (bourdieu) ` embodied feelings and thoughts connected to commonsense understandings of the world (what he called the doxa) and arising from particular social positions, including those of class, gender, nationality, and ethnicity ` habitus, was on one of the great questions of philosophy and sociology: how can an individual have freedom while captured in multiple constraints and determinisms?- Alain Touraine

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habitus is an internalized, embodied disposition toward the world. It comes into being through inculcation in early child-hood, which is not a process of deliberate, formal teaching and learning but, rather, one associated with immersion in a particular sociocultural milieuthe family and household.

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Habitus ensures the active presence of past experiences, which, deposited in each organism in the form of schemes of perception, thought and action, tend to guarantee the correctness of practices and their constancy over time, more reliably than all formal rules and explicit normshabitus makes possible the free production of all the thoughts, perceptions and actions inherent in the particular conditions of its productionand only those

Bourdieu quoted by Harker. R, 1992, Cultural capital, education and power in New Zealand: Anagenda for research, New Zealand Sociology, 7. 1, pp. 119.

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an acquired system of generative schemes objectively adjusted to the particular conditions in which it is constituted

(Bourdieu,P. (1977). Outline of a Theory of Practice (NICE, R. Trans.)Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 95

Habitus is best understood as the operational site of the dual sense of structure: ` The notion of habitusis relational in that it designates a mediation between objective structures and practices. First and foremost, habitus has the function of overcoming the alternative between consciousness and unconsciousness Social reality exists, so to speak, twice, in things and in minds, in fields and in habitus, outside and inside agents. And when habitus encounters a social world of which it is the product, it finds itself as a fish in water, it does not feel the weight of the water and takes the world about itself for granted. Bourdieu in interview with Wacquant, in Bourdieu, P (1989). Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago press. p. 43

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Deleuze remarks, individuations are necessarily collectives actualised individually, and collectives are interacting individuations irreducible to pure collectives Individual for Deleuze is not a person but an event in a setting - a location where thoughts take place an interpersonal transcendental field of becoming.

Deleuze 1990:The Logic of Sense (Mark Lester & Charles Stivale, Trans.). New York: Columbia University Press p.99.

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The field (misrecognized as individual) in its dynamism, its potency and rupture, is recognized by the constructs of praxis, habitus, practice, habitat, subject, event, social space, reflexivity, gesture and the like

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The bundle of interrelated terms: practice, praxis, action, interaction, activity, experience, performance replace a closely related bundle of terms focuses on the doer of all that doing: agent, actor, person, self, individual, subject.

II.The dichotomy of theory - practice` ` ` ` `

Is theory prior to or arising from analysis of the world? Pragmatic understanding vs Dogmatic framing social theory is not similar to theory in phyics evaluating hypotheses vs understanding a particular social phenomena generalizable praxeology that accounts for individual, subjective thought and action

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Reflexive objectivity instead of reducing social phenomenon into undynamic thing. The principal defect of all materialism up to now including that of Feuerbachis that the external object, reality, the sensible world, is grasped in the form of an object or an intuition; but not as concrete human activity, as practice, in a subjective way. This is why the active aspect was developed by idealism, in opposition to materialismbut only in an abstract way, since idealism naturally does not know real concrete activity as such. (Marx in Theses on Feuerbach)

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a science of dialectical relations between objective structuresand the subjective dispositions within which these structures are actualised and which tend to reproduce them Bourdieu Bourdieu calls this science the dialectic of the internalisation of externality and the externalisation of internality

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go beyond the opus operatum (structured structure) to emphasize the importance of the modus operandi (the productive activity of consciousness) Problematise practice, the dynamic of which is probably better captured by the word praxis, is a cognitive operation.

III. Researcher-Researched dichotomy`

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The researcher is no longer a privileged scholar equipped with infallible scientific knowledge or methods. The researched are no more considered inert objects privileged only to fill questioners or respond to the queries of the researcher.With the loss of privilege, the researcher is seen as an active variable in the research design Researcher bias is not absolved by range of researches from positivist research to hermeneutic/ phenomenological research Otherising the researched does little justice to groups of people who are very differently situated from ones self in terms of experience, suffering or culture.

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Bourdieu recognized, the logic of practice in a social field can hardly be amenable to any a priori theoretical reduction. However, he held that practice and its logic are systematically representable ex post. For him, the systematisation should necessarily come ex post, as fruitful analogies emerge little by little, as the useful properties of the concept are successfully tried and tested (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992:161)

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Increasingly, research becomes a reflexive endeavour where the researched is the researcher herself with her field of research. Objectivity of the research is measured by how the researcher turn her critical faculty back on herself and examine her research gaze. For Bourdieu, such an endeavour is participant objectivation: objectifying the act of objectification

IV. Social Research, Social Action Dichotomy` ` ` ` `

Action turn in social research Communicative action research Action research and Research Action Exploring potency vs describing or predicting Convergence Vs Divergence

Praxis Intervention Research (PIR)` `

The PIR aims at turning the social as it happens from complacent stability to creative rupture It problematises the praxis potential through focusing on praxis and habitus-praxis it overcomes the individual-society dichotomy

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Though the idea of praxis intervention is laden with theoretical assumptions such as praxis potential, habitus-praxis, event, rupture and so on, it does not force any theoreticist theory on the field-data The PIR through turning the researcher into the researched and the researched into the researcher challenges the conventional dichotomy of researcherresearched

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it fuses action research with social research (research action) Praxis intervention intervenes the generative systems of internal disposition of the researcher and the researched by invoking their respective praxis potential. It is a phased collective research endeavour designed for habitus cleft

PIR-ProblamatizationProblematizes: ` Human praxis potential ` Discipline ` Practice (especially community work) ` Social Theory ` Methodology

Methodology`

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The thesis as a whole is a methodological critique on the possibility/impossibility of learning cultures far away and different from our own. It was also a critique on the morality of making a social group an object for analysis as we do with physical objects.

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Instead me studying a group of people I tried to help a sections of people (adivasis, equivalent to aboriginals) research on themselves on the areas of their choice (health, land relations, 'development', religions, myths, farming, agriculture, eco-system changes, exploring into their own mindsets (habitues), generation gaps, politics, rituals, gender relations- transitions, impact of modern education...)

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praxis is the living territory of sense making It is the field of sensation inheres in what comes before the act of naming It is the grasping that takes place before words. Sensation vibrates at the threshold of the given experience.

Praxis Challenges Existing and forthcoming states of minds.

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The human species potential of sensuousness, the non-fixity of meanings and the diversity of indexicalities available [Wittgenstein 1976: section 154; Garfinkel 1984] together make humans into praxis beings rather than just leaving them to be sedimented habitus. It is only with the praxis potential that one can hope for the unsettlement of the social misrecognitions and the subsequent internality through a reflexive probing. Unsettling or suspending the habitus with the praxis potential is what we term the habitus praxis.

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Praxis is always creative because it is ungrounded (Agamben 1999:83). The ungrounded praxis, challenges the grounded misrecognitions and presuppositions that has contributed the marginalities of communities and classes

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Habitus-praxis occurs with the instances of epistemic failures that crack the complacency of the internal order. Habitus-praxis constitutes the micro-moments of what Agamben calls, the coming politics, to be found within the hiatuses

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The event of habitus-praxis is the order of the transbeing: at once held within the principle of habitus and in rupture with this principle. Habitus though is an internal reproduction schema, it is also an intensive throspace. Intensive thro-spaces are asymmetrical.They flow from actual to virtual and vice versa

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Praxis is the void of the internal disposition, the habitus. It acts as the potential energy that blows-up habitus. The blow perturbs habitus into habituspraxis thereby actualizing the potential of habitus and praxis. Habitus-praxis is the event that upsets habitus. As Agamben pointed out, praxis is the / between the signified/signifier which opens a world and over which language holds itself

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Habitus-praxis is an event. Events surge forth while they are the least expected. The event of habituspraxis, like any other events is evanescent therefore fast vanishing. They are the dissenting moments by which one overcomes at least an untruth of the habitus set.

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At rare moments habitus-praxis happens without anyone consciously triggering it. These rare moments are authentic moments in which one becomes a subject (Badiou) By virtue of dissenting untruths through the singularity of events the moments are called truth moments. For Badiou, they are the moments of truth and moments of the subject

Place of Praxis intervention in the caring profession

The Scale of Caring in Social Work

Persons In Need of Total Care Persons who can be helped care themselves

Persons who can take care of themselves

PI may not be appropriate

PI may not be required

Praxis Intervention is relevant

The Praxis Intervention Project`

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The Praxis intervention project was aimed at altering the discriminatory mentalities and their structural extensions (social mindscapes) through habitus praxis Whereas the present research analyses the practice from a distant point of view.

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Though the idea of praxis intervention is laden with theoretical assumptions such as praxis potential, habitus-praxis, event, rupture and so on, it does not force any theoreticist theory on the field-data The PIR through turning the researcher into the researched and the researched into the researcher challenges the conventional dichotomy of researcherresearched.

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it fuses action research with social research Praxis intervention intervenes the generative systems of internal disposition of the researcher and the researched by invoking their respective praxis potential. The PI-Research is an action research as well as its reverse: a research action.

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The truth of habitus-praxis is an interruption on untruth being passed on and on. In other words, a truth is always the undoing of time. The time undone in the habitus could have its tremor across field and structure

PARTICIPANT PROFILE

ELECTED NOMINATED

PARTICIPANT PROFILE

MEN WOMEN

PARTICIPANT PROFILE

TOTAL HAMLETS HAMLETS PARTICIPATED

PARTICIPANT FIELD WORK

II PHASE IV PHASE VI PHASE

TEXTUAL DATA GENERATED OUT OF THE OROJECT140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 1 CHARTS JOURNALS FEEDBACK SHEETS CASSETS WORKSHOP MINUITES

PI

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S o n g s , D a n c e s ,... S e lf R e f le x iv it y o r r e c t io n

S e lf R e f le x io n s

o u r s , V is it s D e b a t e s E v e n in g e x e r c is e s la s s r o o m F ilm s r e s e n t a t io n s E x p e r ie n c e s h a r in g P a r t ic ip a n t O b je c t iv a t io n G am s Fi l I o rk tr c ti

P a r t ic ip a n t O b je c t iv a t io n E x p e r ie n c e h a r in g

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A n a ly s in g F ie ld

F ig u r e 1 . P r a x is I n t e r v e n t io n

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t e p s F o llo w e d .

PHASE I- CLASSROOM`

Phase-I- (28th May to 1st June 2002) Social Construction of the adivasi social reality; History of the adivasi struggles; Development interventions with/for the adivasis; Special Legal rights of the adivasis; Environmental problems and the adivasi livelihood; Exploring local history; Praxis intervention with the adivasis in their hamlet the idea and method; fieldwork guidance.

PHASE II FIELDWORK`

Phase-II. (2nd June to 30th June 2002) Exploring land use patterns walking with the owners of the land in their respective lands, observing the crops cultivated there, and probing into its use in the past; the agriculture practices adopted; plant protection and manuring methods, irrigation practices, etc, exploring life history of at least three members of a hamlet of which at least one being a woman; collecting the history of consumptions; probing into their labour status and so on.

PHASE III, CLASSROOM`

Phase-III. (1st July to 5th July 2002) Sharing Fieldwork experiences on: land utilisation patterns and its history; Landownership pattern and its history; exploring Myths; Exploring history of the hamlets; critical analysis of everyday life of the adivasis men and women; exploring personal histories based on the data collected from the field; Comparing the collective life of the adivasis in the past with the governmental/Non-governmental organisations/ development projects induced collectives; on the social action and fieldwork planning for the succeeding fieldwork phase.

PHASE- IV, FIELDWORK`

Phase-IV. (6th July to 2nd Sept. 2002) Continuing the explorations in the earlier phase of the fieldwork with new questions posed from the classroom discussions; exploring the history of ecological environment; exploring the health status of the people; Exploration of water availability and its quality; enquiring into the education of the children; walking in group into the forests and observe; engage in active dialogue with the people and discussing their fieldwork observations and classroom discussions; finding a handful of volunteers to act on the problems they have identified.

PHASE V, CLASSROOM`

Phase V. (3rd Sept. to 7th Sept. 2002) Sharing Fieldwork experiences on the following: Problems affecting health; Environmental problems; Gender relations in everyday life; labour relations assessment of development programmes; assessment of decentralisation initiative of the State Government; review of actions initiated and lessons learnt and fieldwork planning for the succeeding fieldwork phase.

PHASE VII, CLASSROOM`

PhaseVII. (5th Nov. to 10th Nov 2002) Sharing Fieldwork experiences on the following: Further understandings on local history, ecology and the problems of women, education, health, hygiene, nutrition, agricultural practices, entrepreneurship, the present economic and social status as it is experienced in the day-to-day life; Discussion on actions undertaken, possible associations with decentralisation programmes, evaluating the praxis intervention practice, planning for future action. There was a practical session on using computers and a discussion on information technology.

From our experience it can be said that the praxis intervention is an action research as well as its reverse: a research action. It is a research action as it involves the interpretation of ones own life-world; it is an action research as it involves research into action i.e., research leading to action: knowledgeable action. The fieldwork has instantiated both. The research action and the action research in praxis intervention help the participants in take care of themselves.The praxis intervention action instantiated here is not a full-fledged case of praxis intervention but only a test case.

Critiquing Social work` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `

History of social work Present perspectives in social work Social Work- social theory link Its repressive capability Managerialization of social work Tool kit approaches Irrelevance of meta theorization Need for trans-disciplinary, trans-positive theory and intervention skill Praxis intervention as an alternative Limitations of Praxis Intervention

Innovations` ` ` ` ` ` ` `

Could partly overcome treating respondents data items. Attempted to probe into the reality of human praxis independent of our thinking about it Could integrate emic and etic methods Researcher & researched roles are often reversed Participant objectivation is Integrated with research practice Innovate a new social work method Opens a new space for social work theorizing Boundaries between academic research and social action, between academic theorizing and contemplation, practice and theory, social work and social science is blurred and new interspaces are identified

Limitations` `

writing pre-concludes the ongoing praxis. Similarly theorizing too freezes contemplative process and gives a directionality which is not always fruitful!


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