Pedagogies of doing good: Problematisations, ?· Pedagogies of doing good: Problematisations, authorities,…

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  • Australian Journal of Adult Learning Volume 52, Number 3, November 2012

    Pedagogies of doing good: Problematisations, authorities, technologies and teleologies in food

    activism

    Rick Flowers and Elaine SwanUniversity of Technology, Sydney

    In this paper, we apply a framework from Nikolas Rose to analyse the politics of doing good in food activist education, what we call food pedagogies. We argue that a detailed exploration of food pedagogies has been neglected in adult education and in the growing field of food studies, in spite of the rapidly proliferating forms and site of food education, advice and learning in Australia and other countries. In contrast to other frameworks in adult education which focus on classifying approaches as behaviourist, humanist, progressive and radical, we deploy problematisations, technologies, authorities and teleologies. These latter pathways move away from an abstract idea of power as property and as coercive (Gore 1993) to an examination of power as technique and as productive. Drawing on qualitative data with three different types of food activist educators a biodynamic educator, a health promotion managers and two farmer-activists, we show Roses framework

  • Rick Flowers and Elaine Swan 533

    opens up our ideas about what can be seen as pedagogical to include the non-human and how adult educators authorise their claims to be doing good. We conclude by arguing that the differences in how each of these activists see food and health should not simply be seen as a difference in opinion but a difference in what Annemarie Mol (1999) calls ontological politics. In so doing, the paper contributes new findings and theorising on pedagogies to food studies, and a new analytic framework for analysing adult education approaches and in particular their claims to be doing good.

    The politics of knowledge and relations between teachers and learners are foundational concerns of adult education scholars (Foley2000;Cervero&Wilson2000;Alfred2001;Vella1994).Incriticalfoodreform,theracialised,classedandgenderedmoralitiesoffoodknowledgearefoundationalconcerns(Guthman2004,2008;Slocum2011;Kimura2011;Ken2010;Lupton1998).Inthispaper,weanalysehowtheseintersectinfoodactivistpedagogies,itselfanunder-researchedtopicinadultlearningandfoodstudiesaswehavearguedelsewhere(FlowersandSwan2011;seealsoCook2009).DrawingonaFoucauldianframeworkculledfromBritishsociologistNikolasRose(1996),weanalysetheaccountsofthreetypesoffoodactivists:abio-dynamicagriculturaleducator,ahealtheducator,andtwofarmer-activists,takenfromafull-dayroundtableweconvenedforfoodactivistsinvolvedineducationalworkforethicalandsustainable food.

    Wehavetwomainaims:first,toofferananalysisoftheprojectofdoinggoodinfoodpedagogiesthroughusingRosesframework.Bydoinggood,wemeanthewaysinwhicheducatorsandinthiscasefoodactivisteducatorsauthorisewhattheydoasaformofethics;andsecondly,tocomparetheframeworktotypologiesofadult education which describe politics of knowledge and relations betweenteachersandlearners(Merriam,Cafferella&Baumgartner

  • 534 Pedagogies of doing good

    2007;Newman1993,2006;Fenwick2006;Boud&Griffin1987).Infocusingondoinggood,weintendtoexaminethewaysinwhichfoodeducatorslegitimatetheirinterventions,andthepoliticsoftheseclaims(seeGuthman2008onhowwhiteundergraduatestudentstrytodogoodbybringinggoodfoodtoothers).Thisisanimportanttopicforfoodstudiesauthorswhoquestionthemoralityinfoodadvicebutupuntilnowhavefocusedlessonpedagogiesperse(Mol2010;Jackson2009;Coveney,thisissue;PikeandLeahy,thisissue).InthepaperwearguethatRosesframeworkisafruitfulformofanalysisforeducatorsasitopensupthevistaofwhatcanbeunderstoodaspedagogical;expandsourunderstandingofthetypesofknowledgethatadulteducatorsmobiliseintheirwork;andfinally,offersawaytoexaminethepoliticsofdoinggood.

    Ofcourse,theworkofMichelFoucaulthasbeenusedextensivelyinanalysingadulteducationinthepasttwentyyears(Fejes&Nicholl2007;Fejes2008;Garrick&Solomon2001;Reich2008;Chappell,Rhodes,Solomon,Tennant&Yates2003;McLean2012;Tennant1998;English2006;Swan2009,2008;Gore1993).Asadulteducationtheorist,ScottMcLean(2012)writes,NikolasRosesresearchislessrecognisedanddeployedinadulteducation,inspiteofhavinginfluencedanumberofrelatedfields.BothFoucaultandRoseofferadulteducatorsaconceptualisationoftheoperationofpower,quitedistinctfromGramsciandMarxandothertheoriesofpowerusedinsomeformsofadulteducationliterature.Itisdistinctonanumberofcounts.First,implicitinsometypologiesofadulteducation(seetable1)isaconstructionofpowerasapossession,asee-sawmodelinwhichteachershaveitorlearnershaveit.Thisleadsadulteducatorstoemphasisehowpowershouldbedistributedtolearners,aconceptofpower-as-property(Gore1993:73;Chappelletal.2003).ButforFoucaultandRose,powerisexercisedratherthanowned.Thismeans:

  • Rick Flowers and Elaine Swan 535

    thatpowerisnotthepossessionofsomepeoplewhowielditoverothersdominatingandconstrainingthembutthatitisrelationalandproductive.Withoutpower,nothingisachieved.Butifpowerisnottobefoundinsomebodyshands,orinthisorthatsocialactorspossession,thenwhatisitandhowdoesitmanifestitself(Fox2000:860)?

    Powerisexercisedthrougheverydaymundaneactivitiesandprocesses:whatFoucaultcallstechnologies:hybridassemblagesofdiverseformsofknowledgesuchasadvice,techniques,judgments,experts,texts,andsanctions.Technologiesarehighlyconcrete,specificformsknowledge-in-practicenotgeneralisedapproaches.Throughthesemundane,micro,evenminorandpettyformsofexpertise,authoritiessuchasthestateattempttogovernthroughcapacitating,notconstrainingus.Thisworksinquiteunsystematic,dispersed,contradictoryandlocalisedwaysacrossinnumerableandunexpectedsites(Miller&Rose1996:12;Miller&Rose2008;McNay1992).

    Thisreformulationofpowerisimportantfortheorisingadulteducation.Adulteducationisoftenconceivedbyscholarsandactivistsasasiteforenablinglearnerstoliberatethemselvesthroughgainingnewknowledgeorbecomingconsciousofexistingbutundervaluedformsofknowledge.ButanotherpointofdistinctionisthatforFoucault,therecanbenoseparationofpowerandknowledge,thusheusesthetermpower/knowledge.Powerworksthroughallformsofknowledge:forexample,bottom-upandtop-down,scientificandlay,andparticularlyforFoucault,self-knowledge(McHoul&Grace1993).There is no point of origin such as an institution like the state or an elitecabal.Andthereisnowaytobeoutsideofpoweroroutsideofknowledge,evensocalledliberatoryknowledgesuchasconsciousnessraisingorself-reflection.

    Thirdly,poweris,inaddition,notseensimplyasacoerciveforce.Itisalsoproductiveinthesensethatwecandoandbethingsasa

  • 536 Pedagogies of doing good

    resultoftheoperationofpower.Partofitsproductivenessisthewayitoperatesthroughnotionsofseduction,freedomanddesireratherthanprohibition,coercionandpunishment.Rosearguesthat,althoughtheselatterformsofpowerarestillinoperationtheyaresecondarytotheideaofourbeinggovernedbytheideaoffreedom.Thus,hewritesthatinstrivingtoliveourautonomouslives,todiscoverwhowereallyare,torealizeourpotentialsandshapeourlifestyles,webecomeboundinnewwaysintothepedagogiesofexpertise(1999citedinMcLean2012).Animportantpartoftheoperationofpowerthenisthatweimaginewearedoinggoodtoourselves:gettingthegoodlifeofhealth,wealthorhappiness.Wheneducatorsworkwithsuchpedagogiesofexpertise,theytooconstructthemselvesasdoinggoodinhelpingpeoplegetthegoodlife.

    Inthisspecialissue,JohnCoveney,JoPikeandDeannaLeahyprovideusefulFoucauldiananalysesofnutritionandschoollunches,respectively.Ourworkdiffersinthreekeyways:first,wearekeentoofferaframeworkwhichcouldbeusedtointerrogatedoinggoodacrossothersitesofadulteducation;secondly,ifweacceptthatpedagogiesworkthroughhybridassemblagesweareinterestedtoexaminewaysinwhichfoodactivistsmobilisediverseformsofadvice,techniques,judgments,experts,texts,andsanctionsandwhatthismaymeanpolitically.Wehavearguedelsewherethatactivistsinfoodsocialmovementsdrawonapanoplyofknowledges:codifiedandinformal;theoreticalandexperiential;layandexpert;embodiedandcognitive;gendered,racialisedandclassed(Flowers&Swan2011;seealsoAllenetal.2003forresearchontheplacebasednatureoffoodactivismknowledges).Muchofwhatisgoingoninfoodsocialmovementsis:

    strugglesoverknowledgesystemsThemostcursorylookattodaysfoodadvertisementsshowsthatallfoodisembeddedinacontesteddiscourseofknowledgeclaims(Goodman&DuPuis2002:18).

  • Rick Flowers and Elaine Swan 537

    Asweemphasiseelsewherethepoliticsofknowing-whatisknown,whoproducesitandwhoisintheknow-arecriticaltofoodpedagogies(FlowersandSwan2011).Thistypeofpoliticslinkstoourthirdaimwhichistoexaminetheauthorisationofdoinggoodandtheirrelationstogender,raceandclass.Strugglesoverknowledgearealsostrugglesaboutthelegitimacyforauthority.Rosesframeworkencouragesustoanalysethepoliticsofdoinggoodasaformoflegitimacy.Contrarytosomeadulteducationtheorists,thismeanswecastacriticalgazeattheclaimstodoinggoodmadebyactivistsaswemightattheclaimsmadebyinstitutionalexpertstoofferusnewwaystothinkaboutadulteducationandfoodactivism.Todothiswebeginwithasummaryofatypicaladulteducationapproachesframework,followedbyanintroductiontotheworkofNikolasRose;weintroduceRosesframeworkofproblematisations,technologies,authoritiesandteleologiesinsomedetailsothatthiscouldbeappliedtofutureadulteducationinitiatives.Afterintroducingthethreetypesoffoodactivisteducator,werelateeachoftheelementsofRosesframeworktoillustratequotesandthemesfromtheactivistsandweconcludebyaskingwhatthismeansforunderstandingtheethicsandpolitics of doing good.

    Frameworks

    Inthissection,wecompareaninfluentialtypologyfromGriffFoleysedited book Understanding adult education and training(2000)toanalternativeframeworkfromNikolasRoseswork.AdulteducationscholarssuchasSharranMerriam,RosemaryCafferella&LisaBaumgartner(2007),DavidBoud(1987),TaraFenwick(2006),MiriamZukasandJaniceMalcolm(2002),andGriffFoley(2000)havecreatedalltypologiesofdifferenttraditions,orientations,identities and philosophies