Power and Authority in network learning #cck11

What about power and information? I regard these two subjects power an authority as one, i.e. as connected.  The Authorities is the government and people in power. In 1968/69 an anarchist movement called ‘Provo’ in the Netherlands provoked the power of the authorities.
A person could be called an authority in a certain field of knowledge. This kind of authorities are on TV when something difficult has to be explained.

In a complex or a distributed network authority is not an important concept. The proof of the value and truth of information is important. A person could be called an authority when he is a valuable node in an information network. (This is a mistake, not the person is an authority, but his information is true). Authority, as a grading of a blog’s worthiness, is used by Technorati.

The central node in a star-network has power being a central switch.
Albert-László Barabási states that “nodes always compete for connections because links represent survival in an interconnected world” (2002, p.106). This competition is largely dulled within a personal learning network, but the placing of value on certain nodes over others is a reality. Nodes that successfully acquire greater profile will be more successful at acquiring additional connections. ” But  “Weak ties are links or bridges that allow short connections between information. … This principle has great merit in the notion of serendipity, innovation, and creativity. Connections between disparate ideas and fields can create new innovations.”

People tend to believe authorities. Most authorities fall off their pedestal after some time, but that does not prevent people to believe.  People send URL’s of TED talks of a famous speaker telling a “truth”. Why should we  listen to and believe these famous speakers if they are only preaching. A very famous speaker (in educational Holland) prof. Wim Veen talked  in educational congresses about “young people who are able to do multitasking”.  He was wrong, scientist keep saying multitasking is rubbish. Learning to mistrust authorities and the difference between truth and fiction is important. Here the word “Cascade phenomena” (every node accepts a decision because of everybody does) comes in mind

In a sense authority (I mean the quality, not the person) is what I believe of the trustworthiness and value of information. Authority of spokesmen is used to strengthen  the value of information. I prefer proof above authority.

Prof. W. Luypen, philosophy and ethics and a Catholic monk  said: ” Power is not logically connected to abuse of power… But in the history of mankind power always has been connected to abuse. ”  (college note)  The distrust in Europe in Google is based on this experience wisdom.  (This is a authoritative  argument, do not trust it but think it over. Distrust authoritative arguments)

Authority of teachers, of the school system, using their power to destroy children’s youth is considered a crime by The Innovative Educator. Teachers should show a way, be a guide. Authority of school officials using power to superimpose a program is killing (Et le système meurt doucement.)  education says Christine Vaufrey.

In the real world systems (with power and authority) and networks (sometimes without power and authority) are mixed and intertwined.

Barabási, A. L., (2002) Linked: The New Science of Networks, Cambridge, MA, Perseus Publishing.


One thought on “Power and Authority in network learning #cck11

  1. Hi Jaap,

    Thanks as always for engaging with the materials and the subject. And thanks for the references, too. I think a lot about both power and authority, and also about people’s ability to really examine what they hear and see.

    Do listen to today’s Elluminate session when the recording is put up. You will find a lot of interesting points and chat conversations about this topic.


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