I have been rereading Greg and Maartin's collaborative knowledge building paper and particularly their remarks about the need for 'providing shelter from the academic panopticon' (from Foucaul't Discipline and Punish). Made me think - there are some important issues here.

There is one sense in which 'self-organisation' is positive, if not downright cheerful.

However, looked at another way, its also about organising the 'self' (not just 'being self-organised'), and making that 'self' transparent to the 'academic panopticon' - at worst, its like putting your mind on the dissecting table. That might turn out to be positive, but it's inherently hazardous, and might or might not increase the self-confidence and self-esteem of the person concerned. There are examples in the 'Narrating the Self' paper, some of which show this quite painfully, and just dealing with reviews and refusals of papers for publication happens to all of us - and its not always possible 'not to take it personally'.

So ...

self-organisation =
i) the self gets to do more of the organisation

ii) the self has to organise the self, and the resonance/ dissonance between the different parts: academic, affective, professional, networked, social, cultural, etc.

iii) the self has to take the plunge and expose academic texts for publication and scrutiny in various forums - some more collaborative and supportive, some just harsh 'market places'.

iv) in the process, the self creates new 'structures and agency' and presence/s.


a-ffordances / dis-fordances =
i) the self has so many new (and fascinating / mesmerising?) affordances for 'putting this stuff out' into new spaces, and for creating new personal and collaborative spaces - its all a bit like being in a new sweet/ toy shop.

ii) one of the fundamental changes is the change to public and private space, the ability to switch and move stuff across between public and private space, and the liquidity (see Baumann on 'liquid' lives and spaces) of public and private space (sometimes under your control, sometimes usurped by google/ facebook/ phone hackers, etc).

iii) the term 'social software' is beguiling and seductive - and simplistically so - it could even be misleading. Its a set of affordances for renegotiating the 'social' (re-assembling the social, in Latour's blandly 'objective' register), but that means renegotiating the balance, rules, and a-/dis-fordances of the crucial boundaries and fences that determine the 'social' - the intricately interwoven domains of the public and the private: across the personal, cultural, social, legal and technical.

'Self-organisation' - just got so much more interesting, and fragile. I think I had an overdose of the 'cheerful's' on this one.