ENSO Seminar Series

Laying down a path to walk in: enaction, design and multiscale interventions for change

Mark James

Nov. 11, 2021, 9 a.m. UTC // Nov. 11, 2021, 9 a.m. in UTC
In this talk, I will suggest that enaction and an understanding of design can be constructively synthesised to provide a general account of how humans make ameliorative interventions on the conditions of their living across multiple scales. Enaction can help establish a sense of the interdependencies that obtain between individuals and collectives and how they interact, giving us a sense of the variety of conditions that feed into the configuration of our habitually organised lifeworlds for better or worse. Design, on the other hand, can offer an understanding of how to intervene at various scales such that we can redirect these conditions to enable the emergence of more convivial lifeworlds that are better suited to meet our individual and collective needs. When brought together, we see that change results substantially from a process of design involving the modification of spatiotemporally distributed constraints by some agent (individual or collective) to redirect the individuating tendencies of person-world systems towards novel habitual configurations. I will consider this process of redirection by reflecting on a number of different forms of design (everyday design, habit design, and identity design) that find emphasis at various scales of human living (individual, dyadic, collective), but are ultimately intertwined. I will then briefly suggest some implications of adopting this perspective. In recognising both our structural conditioning and our capacity for individual agency, and accounting for their reciprocal dependencies, it can help play a mediating role in normative discourses relating to the proper scale of interventions to address problems of human living (e.g., mental and public health, climate break down, education). Finally, I will suggest that this understanding points towards novel forms of ameliorative praxis to intervene at and across multiple scales, and can help inform responses to some of the challenges we presently face as embodied planetary subjects.

Link to join/watch the seminar: https://youtu.be/GiR6juFYrD0