Italian pedagogy seems to be inspired by an anthropocentric perspective. It is grounded in the notion of human self-determination and it overlooks the role of nonhuman in the learner’s development; furthermore, nonhumans (both animals and machines) are usually considered as something to be used: they are instruments. Given that, it is no surprise that only few authors belonging to the Italian educational debate explicitly address posthuman, even though other human sciences and philosophy are becoming more and more interested in it. This paper takes a posthuman stance in the study of the learning process in order to show how this new comprehension of the relations between human and nonhuman modifies our understanding of education. Since posthuman is a hermeneutic of technique and a philosophy of the Otherness, it challenges the humanistic categories that are traditionally used to interpret our current historical and cultural condition. As a result, we gain a new and different understanding of the nowadays occurring scientific and technological changes: we gain new insights about the environment in which the learning process takes place. Posthuman also modify our idea of the human being, together with that of the learner. As a consequence, teaching is forced to change: it should now embrace new ethics, contents, procedures, disciplines, and curriculum in order to foster the emergence of a systemic and ecological thinking. From an epistemological point of view, the awareness of human/nonhuman interdependence affects the way we define the learning process: new perspectives are blooming, and they are taking this relation into account. We will focus on the work of the Italian educationalist Riccardo Massa and – thanks to Fenwick – on the use of Latour’s Actor-Network Theory in educational research. The two approaches will be presented and compared. Massa’s notion of ‘educational dispositif’ will be considered. It is based on Foucault’s micro-physic of power and it depicts the learning process as a practice based on the interplay of space, time, body and symbols. Human is just an element of the educational dispositif and not the most important one. Given that, the learning process is not fully under human control. Fenwick stresses the importance of Actor-Network Theory for educational research. Following Latour, teaching and learning are understood as assemblages. They are enacted through networks of human and nonhuman actants. Agency is given to both humans and nonhumans. They are grounded in materialism, but not in a naïve one: their account of the learning process include social, cultural, cognitive, affective dimensions. They also consider the interactions between humans and the physical environment. For all these reasons, Actor-Network Theory and Massa’s theory can be used to study the learning process from a posthuman point of view. These are just two among many posthuman approaches to educational research. They can contribute to enrich the current Italian educational debate, pushing it to reconsider its faith in humanism.

Ferrante, A., Sartori, D. (2013). Toward a sociomaterialistic turn in Italian educational debate: Riccardo Massa and Actor-Network Theory. Intervento presentato a: International Conference Beyond Humanism Series “The Posthuman: Differences, Embodiments, Performativity”, Università di Roma 3.

Toward a sociomaterialistic turn in Italian educational debate: Riccardo Massa and Actor-Network Theory

FERRANTE, ALESSANDRO PETER;
2013

Abstract

Italian pedagogy seems to be inspired by an anthropocentric perspective. It is grounded in the notion of human self-determination and it overlooks the role of nonhuman in the learner’s development; furthermore, nonhumans (both animals and machines) are usually considered as something to be used: they are instruments. Given that, it is no surprise that only few authors belonging to the Italian educational debate explicitly address posthuman, even though other human sciences and philosophy are becoming more and more interested in it. This paper takes a posthuman stance in the study of the learning process in order to show how this new comprehension of the relations between human and nonhuman modifies our understanding of education. Since posthuman is a hermeneutic of technique and a philosophy of the Otherness, it challenges the humanistic categories that are traditionally used to interpret our current historical and cultural condition. As a result, we gain a new and different understanding of the nowadays occurring scientific and technological changes: we gain new insights about the environment in which the learning process takes place. Posthuman also modify our idea of the human being, together with that of the learner. As a consequence, teaching is forced to change: it should now embrace new ethics, contents, procedures, disciplines, and curriculum in order to foster the emergence of a systemic and ecological thinking. From an epistemological point of view, the awareness of human/nonhuman interdependence affects the way we define the learning process: new perspectives are blooming, and they are taking this relation into account. We will focus on the work of the Italian educationalist Riccardo Massa and – thanks to Fenwick – on the use of Latour’s Actor-Network Theory in educational research. The two approaches will be presented and compared. Massa’s notion of ‘educational dispositif’ will be considered. It is based on Foucault’s micro-physic of power and it depicts the learning process as a practice based on the interplay of space, time, body and symbols. Human is just an element of the educational dispositif and not the most important one. Given that, the learning process is not fully under human control. Fenwick stresses the importance of Actor-Network Theory for educational research. Following Latour, teaching and learning are understood as assemblages. They are enacted through networks of human and nonhuman actants. Agency is given to both humans and nonhumans. They are grounded in materialism, but not in a naïve one: their account of the learning process include social, cultural, cognitive, affective dimensions. They also consider the interactions between humans and the physical environment. For all these reasons, Actor-Network Theory and Massa’s theory can be used to study the learning process from a posthuman point of view. These are just two among many posthuman approaches to educational research. They can contribute to enrich the current Italian educational debate, pushing it to reconsider its faith in humanism.
Si
relazione (orale)
Pedagogy; education; learning; posthuman; posthumanism; humanism; anthropocentrism; Riccardo Massa; dispositif; Michel Foucault; Actor-Network Theory; Bruno Latour, Tara Fenwick; nonhuman; agency
English
International Conference Beyond Humanism Series “The Posthuman: Differences, Embodiments, Performativity”
Ferrante, A., Sartori, D. (2013). Toward a sociomaterialistic turn in Italian educational debate: Riccardo Massa and Actor-Network Theory. Intervento presentato a: International Conference Beyond Humanism Series “The Posthuman: Differences, Embodiments, Performativity”, Università di Roma 3.
Ferrante, A; Sartori, D
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/134687
Citazioni
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
Social impact