This week was more or less a  love letter to Shields’ “Flanerie for Cyborgs” article as it resonated with me quite significantly. It  seemed to build to some degree on “A Cyborg Manifesto” in its exploration of some of the following:

  • Creation myths (stiff casts)
  • Cyborg as a broadened perception
  • Cyborg as situated

I enjoyed perhaps most, and I hesitate to over-intellectualize this, the metaphors employed to bridge my intellectual and emotional understanding of what a cyborg is, namely the flaneur. I was drawn to this notion of a sauntering through a space, itself an indication of a lack of concern or even urgency. This sauntering or lack of urgency itself illustrates a being detached or beyond the emotional constraints of the space. In other words, so far beyond as not to care. That image of a wanderer, strolling through the chasms and chaos of the city, intrigued me greatly. It hammered home the notion of a cyborg as an extended consciousness, an extended investigation both inward (biological, philosophical) as well as outward (power dynamics, imperialism, social constructs). This metaphor worked for me precisely as it was situated in a metaphorical space (city) and countered with notion (sauntering).

I also was drawn to this notion of discarding tired creation myths, narratives that serve to constrain the potential growth we have for unlimited, relentless expansion. The Lifestream this week also served to illuminate the thread of what I believe my final project will be, namely the investigation of augmented reality, mobile devices, and disciplinary learning. I think the flaneur will serve quite nicely as a metaphor for this approach to learning. The mobile device as the toolkit of the urban detective.


By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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