Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Performativity Ethics?

Character education has been a topic and will continue to be a topic of discussion in one of my courses. During a recent conversation we had to list our "character traits" that we would want education to incorporate. I entered the dialogue with blank cards, arguing that inscribing such set of pre-ordained character traits limits the imagination of what the character of our students can be...by reaching for a particular character trait that is "pre-established" are we limiting ourselves to only thinking in the narrowed range of what invoking a signifier allows. What is lost in our imaginations if we signify the character traits we want to develop...would a different approach be to model those traits and "perform" them in class, not inscribing those traits with a "word" but performing them...performing the necessity of humour in the classroom and life, performing the notion that life is unfair at times and must be dealt with...if we performed these "traits" and thus through those performances became subjects with those traits would the imaginations of students (all of us) emerge to new possibilities of what relationships can be within not only the educational environment, but beyond the hallowed walls of the academy? What does a performance theory of ethics mean then? What does it look like? What are the benefits and the drawbacks of not (re)inscribing notions of character traits (and ethics) but rather invoking them through performance...I say performance because I think that such a performance emerges from practice, from a reflexive notion of what one is performing...I see it as having more agency than such "action"...

1 comment:

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