This neighborhood in my site is dedicated to various exploration in the intersection of the theory of culture, as understood in the anthropological tradition, and the theory of education, as understood--I believe--by philosophers. The two fields have had an uneasy relationship and yet much could be gained by bringing them together systematically as, perhaps, two aspects of the same fundamental human process.
In these projects, I continue to ponder matters that have always fascinated me, first when I became aware of "America" as an object, and then when I worked around schools and homes, exploring possibilities, and facing the often dismal effects of the hegemony of schooling. Human beings make worlds unimaginable until they become common sense. It has been the fundamental contribution of anthropology that it has emphasized, in different vocabularies, the arbitrary, the constructed, the wildly enabling and disabling, the "cultural" that human beings then have to live by as they get born, meet their neighbors, invade or are invaded, in exploration, trade, war, etc. Culture must, thus, involve continuing change, in all practices "of the body" (including all that is glossed as personality or identity), as well as in all practices of the common sense, including language, customs of everyday life, elaborated and institutionalized prescriptions, laws, etc. But this kind of change cannot simply be taken a product of extraordinary happenstance as if, everything else being equal, "things" would stand still. It must be taken as fundamental and a direct corrolary of the arbitrary, constructed, wildly enabling and disabling foundations of humanity.
If the human world is "always already again" wild and unimaginable, that is surprising exciting, fearsome and dangerous, it must excite the imagination, produce wonder, experimentation, seeking, deliberation with friends and foes, work, sometimes extremely dangerous work, to find out what can be done, and to attempt to get it done even as it is being taken apart. This work may partially involve "learning" but learning, by itself, is not enough for one can never stay long with what one has learned. Others (children, peers, adversaries) will always make this moot. What must be involved is "education" as, to paraphrase Cremin, Garfinkel, and Lave, "ongoing, systematic, deliberate, work at moving people across factual, indeed immortal, polities of practice."
This neighborhood mostly include (un-published, in process) "explorations" and other temporary musings, often in collaboration with colleagues around the United States. It builds on my earlier work on matters relating to "education," and takes it in another direction. Starting in the Fall 2009, I have convened a working group on "everyday education" and proposed a Center for Everyday Education.