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Re: <nettime> Phillips/Beyer/Coleman: "false assumption that
Prem Chandavarkar on Sun, 23 Apr 2017 11:02:57 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Phillips/Beyer/Coleman: "false assumption that

> On 21-Apr-2017, at 8:50 PM, Brian Holmes <bhcontinentaldrift {AT} gmail.com> wrote:
> The only way to regain any kind of political autonomy - by which I mean, 
> the capacity to relate deliberately to the present - is to form groups 
> that feel, think, discuss and act. The group needs dense ties allowing 
> it to set up an internal resonance that can rival with the systemic 
> noise. It needs times and spaces for members to formulate thoughts and 
> submit them to a discussion that is not erased by next week's emergency. 
> And it needs to act, both to achieve things and in order to experience 
> the capacity to steer something in society. Finally, it needs to 
> interrelate with other groups, not on the basis of the raw expression of 
> the unconscious described in the horrible nazi rant above, but instead, 
> on the basis of a sharable constructive aspiration. Only in this way can 
> it take a further step, toward joining a larger systemic formation that 
> can help resolve the crisis.

Just forming groups may not do it.  In their book The Social Life of Information John Seely Brown and Paul Duguid draw a distinction between networks of practice and communities of practice.  A network of practice is one that comes together for a purpose, but most of the time of its members are devoted to a primary purpose that is separate from the network.  A community of practice is one whose members come together for a cause which is their primary purpose.  In other words practice is a tool for constructing community.

While networks of practice can cause substantive disruption to entrenched practices, long-term sustainable change needs communities of practice.  The fact that members of a network place their primary focus elsewhere makes it difficult to sustain the cause in the long term.  I remember how in the early days of Arab Spring, there was so much hope in the capacity of new networking technologies to empower political change, but eventually the establishment (a community of practice) won over the revolutionaries (networks of practice.   For all the immense value it has provided to its members, groups such as Nettime are networks of practice and not communities of practice.

We have devote thought to structures of practice and not place primary hope in structures of knowledge.  Perhaps movements such as Conscious Capitalism (https://www.consciouscapitalism.org <https://www.consciouscapitalism.org/>) are what we should be looking at - not sure if it is the complete solution, but a step in the right direction.

In my own field, architecture, I like to say that we only think about the practice of architecture, but we must also think about the architecture of practice.


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