The futures of agency
Exploring the liminal spaces between action and responsibility

From Navigation to Extravagation: the liminal pedagogies of anticipation

“The path of the thought-out project […] it could be that this stubborn determination of the human-that-we-are to want to know and recognize only the existence and value of thought-out projects is what makes us extravagate, that is, leave the Arachnean path.” The Arachnean and Other Texts, Fernand Deligny (2015)
The observation above by Fernand Deligny, educator and ethologist who worked with mostly non-speaking autistic children from the 1950s to the 1980s, was a response to the dominant positivist educational approaches to ‘treating’ these children as deviations from a norm, as a crisis of subjectivity. Crisis is now our norm, and the problem of the future in the 21st Century is not that it is unpredictable but rather it is overdetermined and over-signified – planned, represented, ‘liked’ and circulated before it has happened. The dominant genre of future is crisis, an instantiation of what Professor of Political Science Davide Panagia calls narratocracy, “the organization of a perceptual field according to the imperative of rendering things readable.” Yet in the education theory of Jan Meyer and Ray Land, crisis animates learning in a different way as the experience of the liminal, a condition of transformational change for an unknown future. This paper will explore pedagogy as creative practice necessary to create, sense and anticipate the future beyond our organised perceptual field of crisis. This anticipatory pedagogy will require a deviation from navigation embracing extravagation the practice of anticipation for ethical futures. [Joint Paper Dr Jamie Brassett and Dr John O'Reilly]