Language in a world of plurality : the tree, the bot and the octopus teacher
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
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Oulu : M.-A. Catana,
Language has been considered proof of human exceptionalism in the Western European culture since the Enlightenment era. As a result, a rigid hierarchy placing human on the top emerged. Due to human’s capacity to rationalize thought and materialize it using language as a tool, it entitled itself to possess and dispose of anything deemed as less- or non-human.
Once the fixed idea of language is destabilized, its accuracy as a tool fit enough to represent the world and human thought comes into question. Once language, a pillar of Humanism, is damaged, the collapse of human exceptionalism is imminent.
Post-humanism and ontological pluralism are offering the grounds for exploring a paradigm without the hierarchy. A flattened reality in which the relationships between ways of being are far more complex than mere hierarchies, food chains, or concentric circles. They are entangled, mangled. They are plugging-in and unplugging in an assemblage.
For inquiring into an assemblage, tools such as qualitative methodologies, representational logic and data become useless. Meanwhile, post-qualitative inquiries do not pretend to ascend the ultimate, pure knowledge or truth but simply offer a brief, incomplete glimpse into the assemblage.
The results of such destabilizations consist of more care and attention being offered to negotiating language and languaging, empty spaces and howls, communication outside the higher senses of sight and hearing. In education, it translates into alternative teachers and teachings. The learners are entangled into an assemblage with which they are inter-acting by forming relationships. They are learning to co-live with rather than to make sense of the ways of being.
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