Ethics, Subjectivity, and Sociomaterial Assemblages: Two Important Directions and Methodological Tensions
(2018) Studies in Philosophy and Education, 37 (5), pp. 467-480.
Research that explores ethics can help educational communities engage twenty-first century crises and work toward ecologically and socially just forms of life. Integral to this research is an engagement with social theory, which helps educators imagine our shared worlds differently. In this paper I present two theoretical-methodological directions for educational research that centres ethics: Ethics and (human) subjectivity; and Ethics-in-assemblage. While both approaches might be seen as commensurable, they can also be seen as quite divergent. Using Michel Foucault’s later work on subjectivity and ethics, as well as recent work in Anthropology, I present a methodological direction for research into ethical subjectivity, how students come to see themselves as self-reflective ethical actors. Relevant here is the tension between ethics and politics, individual and collective modes of being, as both are crucial to both struggles for justice on a damaged planet. The second direction involves a sociomaterialist approach that employs Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of ‘assemblage’ as well as Karen Barad’s notion ‘entangled responsibility’ to show that ethics can also be seen to co-emerge with/in phenomena that exceed human relations. In short, exploring ethics through educational research means simultaneously examining ethics as subjectivity and ethics as co-emergent larger assemblages/phenomena. © 2018, Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature.
Assemblages; Ethics; Foucault; Justice; Materialisms; Politics; Subjectivity