søndag 30. mai 2010

Posthumanism and the nature-nurture debate

”A new pedagogy – and therapy - of time and place is beginning to take shape” (Birkeland 2005: 59). This new pedagogy of place is concrete and subjective, with an origin, a history and geography of lived life. It is a new pedagogy for human beings for resituating our selves (”nurture”) in ecological terms and the non-human (”nature”) in ethical terms. It means to stop treating the nature-nurture debate as an either-or question and instead ask how human beings are becoming alongside many other species and life-modes.

Is it too much for hope for? Well, it depends on whether we avoid a gynocentric view of society, or an uterine social space, which Henri Lefebre (1991) calls it, and how the transition from modernity´s abstract space to a utopian, differential space develops. There is a potential connected to a restoration of meaning in space and the feminine principle that started with the women´s movement some decades ago. A reawakening of the female principle seems, however, today to take the form of a symbolic revenge that only reverses the problem, by creating just another form of repression. Sadly, what I see is that it is possible for women to harass men publicly and still be judged politically correct. (It is impossible for men to do the same against women without being blamed sexists and male chauvinist pigs). And, it is politically correct to insist on the social construction of gender. (It is a corresponding taboo to talk about the natural becoming of sexed bodies). Yes, I am referring to the nature-nuture debate in Norway this winter, and the enigmatic absence of wise woman talk. Please, where are the posthumanists and the ecohumanists among feminists and social scientists in Norway? Read Donna Haraway´s book "When Species Meet" and let us have a more constructive debate.

søndag 9. mai 2010

Writing chora

The ideas that I present here take outset in my book "Making Place, Making Self", where the concept of place is rewritten in non-dualist and non-androcentric ways (Birkeland 2005). By working with biographical interviews with individual holiday makers to the Northern parts of Norway, and the North Cape, I have sought understandings of the meaning of place and how place is created in both external and internal worlds of individual human beings. Such understandings can work as a foundation for developing sustainable concepts of subjectivity and self, and for forming sustainable relationships to place and to nature for humans.

When I use the word sustainable here, I am treating it in a very loose sense. I am not using it in an instrumental sense of the word but evoking a flow of maternal thinking – thinking about things and people in a way where everything is related to everything and that everything affects everything. Re-inscribing place with new meaning needs place-writing. This is what geographers do, place-writing - chorography. But instead of relating to – and writing - place and nature through treating place and nature as object, I suggest we relate to – and write – place and nature as subject, treating place and nature as a she, as fore-mother, and affirm the dependency to her as the seat for our becoming. This project is not chorography, but choragraphy, writing chora.