Troubling Authority and Material Bodies
Creating Sympoietic Pedagogies for Working with Children and Practitioners
Keywords:Authority, Democracy, Diffraction, Negotiation, Sympoiesis, Posthumanism
Discourses and relations of child/adult and early education are super-permeated with ideas and practices of authority and boundary-making. In early years’ practices, deeply important beliefs and assumptions about who or what has authority and who or what should create the boundaries of everyday activity often go unquestioned. This produces different kinds of epistemic injustice in respect of children and those who work with them, as well as through the materialities of early childhood and training settings, including higher education. These systems of authority both express and produce wider patterns of living associated with the wider society, including democracies.
Posthumanism inspires questions about not only ways of knowing, but also about the privileging of dis/embodied knowing over feeling, intuiting, sensing, making, and moving. This paper thinks from the diffractive position that knowing is a direct material and moving engagement to explore possibilities for sympoietic pedagogies of enquiry-making-with (Haraway, 2016), and examines how these generate new ideas about early childhood practices and what professional knowledge might become. We illustrate this diffractive curriculum and pedagogy through an example from teacher education in South Africa to make important connections between authority, pedagogy, and an enlarged framework for democratic education; in this work, we explore sympoietic approaches to negotiation.
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