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The number of co-working spaces has continued to grow in popularity during the last year. According to a recent report, the number of co-working facilities almost doubled in 2010, and there are now over 650 such locations worldwide. The statistics come from a study by Deskwanted, an online marketplace for co-working desk space.

The report’s authors expect the number of co-working spaces to increase by another 50 percent by the end of 2011. They trace this popularity to the increase in freelance workers brought about by the economic downturn of 2008, and the increased number of small start-up entrepreneurs, particularly in technology and online industries.

We’ve written previously about the growing network of independent café-like collaboration spaces for freelance professionals. The trend began in 2005, and co-working spaces are now available throughout the U.S., the UK and Europe. Facilities have also been opened in South America, Australia and Asia.

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G. H. Mead: Reconstruction of the Lifeworld

George Herbert Mead is the pragmatist known for his concern with ‘the social’ and with communication. His approach to communication focuses on the immediate expressive or gestural origins of communication, and with the role of the social other in the emergence of language as ‘significant symbol’. In this, Mead points to a bodily or ‘somatic’ element in communication. Gesture is essentially a bodily response in its initial ‘phase’.

One question arises with respect to Mead whether he is primarily a philosopher of the body, or a philosopher of the social. It is possible to interpret the somatics and the social psychology in Mead as serving his wider concern with the reconstruction of the lifeworld. What seems to be crucial in Mead is the underlying possibility of social control. There is the possibility of isolating the underlying regularities and bring them under social control, that is, to construct an ideal society based on an ideal education, etc. This seems to be the over-riding aspect in Mead’s project of social psychology, and through which we should be reading Mead’s discussion of the significance of the embodiment in social cognition. We need to begin with the conception of the immediate lifeworld (Liebenswelt) as the point of departure for this discussion. It is the analysis of the social processes in the life-world that is the point of focus for the sake of particular purposes or social interests, these being the possibility of social reconstruction. It is the concept of social reconstruction along scientific lines, and not merely the scientific analysis of social processes that is at issue here. Science provides not only the means of analysis but also the model or the objective or an ideal against which dealing with the phenomena of cognition and communication.

So it is the scientific paradigm that is the point of focus in the discussion here. In particular, it is not merely the positivistic representation of the reality of determinate social processes, a description of a social reality, that is the point. Science is not merely envisaged as the method for analysis and technological-bureaucratic control of the lifeworld. This is an easy interpretation of the positivistic-sounding behaviourism, that is, of assimilating Mead’s behaviourism to the reductive behaviourism to that of Watson. Mead makes many statements that invite that sort of an interpretation. It is here that we must focus our attention, namely, on trying to understand Mead’s conception of social control and reconstruction along scientific principles. How then are we to understand the proposed reconstruction of the lifeworld based on the scientific analysis of the internal processes of communication?

Mead proposes that the mechanisms of reconstruction are already implicit in the processes of communication underlying the lifeworld process, namely, in the practices of reflection that are necessary to communication. Reconstruction modeled on scientific modes of discourse demands the amplification and management of these processes for the purposes of effective social management. The effective reconstruction of society involves nothing more than the proper understanding of the psychological processes underlying communication. Reductive behaviourism by contrast proposes merely the proper conditioning of behaviour; it does not propose the necessary reflection on communicative practices and their underlying dynamics.

The somatic dimension then provides the point of contact between the underlying life-world processes and the need for social reconstruction. It addresses the failure of the philosophy of Enlightenment in attainment of the abstract ideals of rational society and individual freedom. Only through the analysis of the immediate social situation can one understand the effectiveness or otherwise of adjustment and communication. The immediacies of social management cannot be attained other than by reconstruction of immediacies of communication, that is, by reconstructing the chain of effective communicative exchanges that generate the appropriate behavioural dispositions. The model is not merely behavioural but also communicative, involving the social situation all the way through. Society is reconstructed in terms of the lifeworld and its communicative exchanges, in terms of the behavioural immediacies, and not merely through a processes of conditioning and adaptation to a problem situation. The focal problem situation is the communicative situation in which social meanings surface to consciousness.

2010 In Review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,100 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 10 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 55 posts. There were 5 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 867kb.

The busiest day of the year was October 9th with 70 views. The most popular post that day was Pleasure, Flow Experience, and the Transformation of Consciousness.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, en.search.wordpress.com, blogger.com, mein-feldenkrais.com, and mail.live.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for affirmative culture, marcuse affirmative character of culture, somaesthetics, authenticity in performance, and affirmative culture marcuse.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Pleasure, Flow Experience, and the Transformation of Consciousness September 2009

2

Authenticity in practice and performance: Grotowski and the inner psychic impulse February 2007
1 comment

3

Affirmative Culture and Repressive Liberation May 2007
2 comments

4

Critical Function of Embodied Art May 2007

5

Somatics, Sexual Dysfunction and Movement Arts September 2007

The Future is Here!

This is the final post on mindbodytango.wordpress.com. We’re moving!

Good old wordpress.com has served us well, but it is time to move on to greater things.

Our new address is www.criticalsomaesthetics.com

I think it looks awright.

The WordPress.com blog will remain but will no longer be updated.

While this is a very specialised affair it does cost me time to write and manage this material.

WordPress.com is great for starting out, but it has a lot of limitations.

WordPress.org is, quite simply, blogging for grownups.

There’s still much to fiddle with but that will take a bit more time.

Cheers,

Tom

Slavoj Zizek “God Without the Sacred”

“Nothing is more oppressive and regulated than being a simple hedonist … ”

Obviously a genius and no softball “science versus religion” pop philosophy. This is what academia is like but the jokes and references to 9/11, anal hedonists, Dawkins, atheist Zionists, Obama’s stance on the Gulf spill, Harry Potter, and randy clips from “The Sound of Music” and “Cabaret” come often enough to make sitting through Lacan and existentialist philosophy worth while. He even takes a swipe at the Dalai Lama, suggests that “capitalism is a religion”, and ends up with a conception of God as a good comrade who, with the help of a good therapist, convinces himself of own non-existence, yet still manages to liberate us from anal hedonism … and much else. I just wish he used a hanky.

Slavoj Zizek “God Without the Sacred” New York Public Library

File:Slavoj Zizek in Liverpool 2.jpg

End of Work: Disenchantment, Irony, and Idleness

In the previous post on the end of work I have introduced the topic of the crisis of structural/technological unemployment that has been recognised for a long time but is seen as an acute crisis since the 1980s. As an educator faced with students entering the workforce one is often forced to ask oneself some hard questions such as, What am I teaching for?, and What chances do the students have of gaining the kind of employment that they desire, namely, in the first place, actually getting a job that is concomitant with their level of education, a job that is interesting, that will allow them to grow professionally, that is satisfying, that pays enough money, etc.

The idea of professional employment promises much. The realities of work however are less glamorous, and so it comes that education constitutes a basic requirement to enter into the workforce where the individual is really required to learn-on-the-job. Education does not do much apart from a kind of basic academic literacy to actually prepare the individual. There are additional problems in that as the proportion of the educated population increases so does the competition for places of employment. There continues to be further competition which at the same time organisations are dispensing with job security and require flexibility, undergo constant restructuring, and use technology to reduce their staff levels. Those with jobs are constantly faced with the possibility of losing their jobs, and the stress of upgrading their skills. Those who lose jobs are ill-equipped by their specialised education both at school and on-the-job to adapt effectively. In the meantime, the idea that organisational flexibility and multi-tasking is proving to be a myth, with jobs becoming even more mundane and unfulfilling both, for the fully as for the under-employed. In both cases, many people opt for downscaling: reducing their expectations, lowering their level of consumption, reassessing their career goals.

My initial post was stimulated by thinking about personal experience, my own struggles and those of my students. I was going to leave it at that but have heard from Edward Granter who wrote Critical Social Theory and the End of Work. This looks like a really good source for the history of the thinking on the demise of the Protestant work ethic. It got me to take another look at some of the stuff I’ve been reading that might point to where thinking might be going for the near future.

In my previous post I have mentioned two books: Barry Jones’s Sleepers Wake! and Corinne Maier Hello Laziness: Why Hard Work Doesn’t Pay. Barry Jones argues that increased leisure and a class system in which there is a privileged fully employed class of technocrats is inevitable. He believes in a kind of technological determinism whereby technology determines the future much more than ideology. Corinne Mayers mainly focuses on the realities of contemporary corporate employment, in particular, the stagnation of corporate structures, the collapse of entrepreneurial culture, meaninglessness of work in the corporate system, and the rising tide of job insecurity and underemployment under the banner of flexibility. Her proposal is to seek job security and then spend as little effort as possible in one’s job, that is, to be lazy. If one cannot gain access to secure employment, she recommends working part time and developing hobbies like hanging out at the beach. I think both approaches have weaknesses as they stand, but that there are elements in each which can be developed towards something more satisfactory, in particular, Jones’s concept of technological determinism can be updated, as Maier’s proposed hobbyism. Read more…

Tango Therapy and Biodanza

Tango Therapy

Tango Therapy is a system integrated with Biodanza, whereby the music and practice are integrated with therapy to promote motivational and experiential dances so as to allow diagnostic, therapeutic and investigative work. Biodanza and Tango are both based on the universal value of the embrace and of the gregarious ritual of the dance. Bodies in movement are the royal pathway to the unconscious. Disease represent deep bruises of the psyche. In dance our motions are released and worked into a protective frame to connect us with health.

Tango therapy specifically is a therapeutic technique that uses the Argentine tango and the music of the candombe, milonga, tango and criollo waltz, integrated with special exercises to promote a sense of well-being and to connect with the most healthy aspects of their bodies and their being. It is a powerful technique to explores your individual capacities and to realise your human potential.

Because of the particular combination of music and creativity, the particular character of its practice, and the philosophy of the encounter, tango can be a technique utilised to improve one’s general sense of well-being, to improve one’s relation to oneself, to society, to one’s partner. It is useful in dealing with personal conflicts, and to overcome depression, anxiety and social phobias. It helps to improve one’s self-esteem and body-image, and promotes better posture, balance, fitness and coordination. It also helps in the treatment of heart disease, hypertension, Alzheimer, Parkinson’s. Finally, tango helps to delay the natural process of ageing and maintain a healthy brain in old age.

Not all tango classes can be included in therapy and Tango Therapy needs to be led by an experienced teacher/therapist who has good understanding of communication. Also, not all types of will are taught in Tango Therapy. We need to work from the beginning with steps and structures that are important for memory and postures. Then from here to continue with improvisations and the creativity of each person. In addition, it is necessary to separate Tango, Milonga and Criollo waltz as different dances because each of them has different meanings and will be used in different interpretations / exercises in the classes.

Dances of passion, happiness and enchantment, Tango and Milonga are integrated with Biodanza excercices that re-awaken these forces of life that are living within your own body and help you to live your life more alive, vital, in a sensuous connection with the cosmos and directly from your heart.

Source: Biodanza Forum [heavily edited]

Read more…