I am currently basking in the light of a Dalmatian coastal city and thought I should post these slides lest I forget. I recently presented at the Networked Learning Conference in Zagreb, Croatia and it was stimulating. The full papers can be found here, (and mine here) but I posted my abstract below the presentation.
This was a fun piece for me to write and present as I have lived with the subject matter for the last ten years or so. Amira is a composite character but largely drawn from one person; the other characteristics come from the data of a number of research projects and a few idiosyncratic bits from myself, all expressing, feebly, the idea that mobility is a difficult business.
The capacity of individuals or systems to generate or learn how to generate a metastability, a state of navigating the largely unmanageable aspects of complexity, “cannot be reduced either to the actions of individual actors or to persisting social structures” (Urry, 2016: 59). Complexity largely resists proportionality or linearity; small changes can generate large structural consequences, and individuals will, intellectually or dispositionally, exert considerable resources towards navigating this metastability.
This paper explores complexity through Amira, an imagined composite of characteristics gleaned from the author’s research. Amira is a Nepalese woman studying in a postgraduate programme in Europe. The habitus of Bourdieu is repurposed as disposition; a tendency of an individual to act, react, or think in a particular way based on the social systems through which they move. Disposition is advanced in as a necessary addition to the theorizing of mobilities and mobile learning respectively, one that countenances Amira’s navigational practices and learning. It is a fluid process of engagement across multiple contexts, some being materially, deliberately, and dispositionally mobile. Ultimately, it is one that Amira must negotiate to maintain the mobility on which she depends.
Mobile technology is positioned as a critical factor in managing Amira’s mobility across her communities. Mobile learning, as an attendant learning position designed to bolster Amira’s capacity for managing her mobility, needs to account for the wider range of this activity: across multiple interactional contexts, amongst people and interactive technologies, encapsulating public and private processes; activity that moves between individual Amira’s) and structural (those “immanent to the material conditions of global interdependence”) systems.
Mobile learning, if it to be of use to Amira, needs to account for the wider range of this activity: across multiple interactional contexts, amongst people and interactive technologies, encapsulating public and private processes; activity that moves between micro (Amira’s) and macro (those “immanent to the material conditions of global interdependence”) systems. Mobile learning needs to be accounting for Amira’s capacity for material capacity, intellectual capacity, and, as this paper is attempting to suggest, a dispositional capacity. Disposition is advanced in this paper as a means of expanding her capacity to navigate the complexity of her own mobility, and as a means of expanding research practice towards identifying such complexity.