On learning from Deleuze & Guatarri

nonakaDo we have to read and study ‘Rhizome’ a chapter in ‘Capitalisme et schizophrenie, mille plateaux’ of Gilles Deleuze et Felix Guattari in order to understand rhizomatic learning? Is reading D&G about rhizomes necessary for #rhizo14 participants?

Dave Cormier did some writing on rhizomatic learning and added a long list of sources. The metaphor of the rhizome is of Deleuze&Guattari but in the list of sources is more than D&G. In a post on a garden Dave Cormier does use the rhizome as a metaphor. It is about the complexity of our knowledge. Here Dave does explain ‘rhizomatic’ without even mentioning Deleuze. So why did he introduce D&G in the discourse about rhizomatic learning?

Why should we read D&G to improve teaching, to improve learning, to understand knowledge?
What do D&G add to the concept of rhizomatic learning?
Why should educators and teachers start reading philosophy before improving teaching and education?

Dave Cormier: There is an assumption in both theories [social contructivist and connectivist pedagogies,] that the learning process should happen organically but that knowledge, or what is to be learned, is still something independently verifiable with a definitive beginning and end goal determined by curriculum.
That could be true, but D&G are not necessary in this debate, for this view is shared with a lot of epistomologists. Knowledge is not independently verifiable and knowledge is a very abstract concept without clear borders.

Or: Looking at the data from another angle, we can clearly see that Elsie cow (far left) has 65 edge duplicates, a clear distinction in opposition to Clara (far right). Or as D&G would say, there is a clear topography of strawberries aligning themselves with both smooth and striated spaces.

We could discuss rhizomatic learning without talking about D&G.

Image NONAKA. I: TAKEUCHI. I H. Criação de conhecimento na empresa. Rio de Janeiro : Campus. 1997. (about knowledge creation)

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10 thoughts on “On learning from Deleuze & Guatarri

  1. I guess D&G are useful for unpacking the metaphor and sparking new connections in the brainstorm. I agree that we could discuss rhizo-learning without talking about them… But they are 2 more participants in our madness, which is good as far as rhizoms go. And I like talking to dead people, anyway… lol

  2. I like your questions. We can do whatever we wish. There will be some people on this MOOC who never read any D L and G first hand and others who do. I hope in a week or two I will be able to frame that in terms of diversity and heterogeneity helped by what I have read in D L and G. I might also frame it in terms of other theory and practice with which I am familiar.
    In my case, I don’t read philosophy only before trying to improve teaching and learning – I do it during and after too.

  3. […] Second – the main reason for this post relates to a discussion on facebook related to Deleuze & Guttari and whether we should be reading them. Personally, I am happy for people who want to read them to go ahead and read them. I am happy for them to encourage others to read them (such as Cath’s eloquently worded blogpost here) but I think it is more important for people to not make others feel excluded for NOT wanting to read that complex literature (as Jaap does here). […]

  4. Thank you, My point is why read D&G on rhizome. It is a 1976 text without any reference to education. The metaphor of the rhizome could do without D&G. Why did D.C. add D&G, is it to impress the reader, is it because it adds something to his thinking? What did he read in D&G that made such a big impression? Would like to know that.

  5. I can’t speak for Dave. He said on FB “The theory was eminently useful FOR ME. It helped me place some things that i couldn’t quite get my mind around. At the same time, hard core theorists get really irritated with me for not following the letter of the law with D&G. I could care less. My thoughts are about learning.”
    I respect that you do not wish to read Thousand Plateaus, and that will not lessen my interest in what you have to say about learning. I hope that you will believe me when I say that I am not reading DL and G to impress anyone else.
    I like the rhizome metaphor not least because I enjoy gardening but if I am trying to apply it to complex areas of human achievement like learning then I am keen to read work that has provoked its application to many areas. In a few weeks, we will probably have some good critique of the book from some of the people on the MOOC..

  6. I did read the Rhizome part of D&G in French and in English, they are interesting for philosophy and history of the 20th century and arts. They are part of an interesting discourse in epistemology about truth and proof of truth.
    I wonder why Anglo-saxon philosophers seem to read these French philosophers so much, because in Western Europe they are not very much read. Maybe that is an interesting question for a little inquiry.

  7. great question Jaap – I’m thinking because most people don’t have time or confidence to be independent in their reading, they follow what publishers push.. I’m going off on a tangent here and jumping onto my tired old hobby horse, but your question reminds me of the question why has the world of linguistics been so dominated by a tiny coterie of Americans who carved a certain space at a certain institution….? because they’re actually genius and there ARE no alternative ways of interpreting language phenomena? Ha, as if….

    I think the rhizome metaphor is fun to think with, and I find it natural to follow the curiosity trail down a historical path that includes D&G, but at the same time, the more you read the less able you become to read anything at all without reference to a thousand other texts whose traces you start to see wherever you cast your eye… plus ca change…

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