Academic journal article Theory in Action

Winds of Consciousness: An Analysis of Revolutionary Narratives and Praxis

Academic journal article Theory in Action

Winds of Consciousness: An Analysis of Revolutionary Narratives and Praxis

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

This paper intends to provide revolutionary narratives accounting for the phenomena of political mobilization, participation, and organization. The tradition of psychoanalysis calls for attention to "specific quality experiences" in the development of identity. Sociocultural theories of education and social reconstructivists emphasize life as narrative resulting from dynamic interactions among social, cultural, and personal factors that, in turn, influence life construction and identity formation. According to Winnicott (1971) and Freire (1970), the interactions or experiences that are attributed to the development of selfand worldconsciousness come to exist through the awareness of these relationships. Winnicott conceptualized "transitional phenomena" as the catalyst contact points at which people's subjectivity is distinguished and in which identity emerges from "the specific [and] quality experience." Guerra (2006) describes in the "transitional area, one's perpetual state of attachment undergoes a transition and moves to another state of beings" (Guerra, 2006, p. 69). However, not all experiences are pertinent to identity development or are able to impact narrative patterns. In addition, "transitional phenomena" are not yet identifiable and remain as "something indescribable, [and] undefined" (p. 69). Turner discussed the state of liminality (Turner, 1969) as a threshold of transitional consciousness. McLaren's work "Schooling as a Ritual Performance" provides nuanced insights into the pedagogical moments in creating educational engagement, classroom instruction in urban schooling context through the anthropological lens of ritual. McLaren's work, particularly his research on resistant culture in schooling, reveals that liminal experiences are those with "symbolic, historical and lived meaning . . which contest the legitimacy, power and significance of culture [and hegemony]" (p. 146). In the realm of liminality, social dramas, in a series of "breach, crisis, redressive action and reintegration" (cited in McLaren, p. 301), are enacted as rituals in which people's subjectivities challenge the dominant structure and consequently deauthorize and re-appropriate it. Symbolic events, performative rituals, and enactments of social dramas resemble Winnicott's concept of transitional phenomena. Similarly, in liminal states of consciousness, people undergo "the intermediary [...] experience" in which power and identity are calibrated through social relations and "in the intermediary area of feeling that one is truly alive" (Guerra, 2006, p. 72).

Cultural Work and Cultural Workers

Social transformation is a massive movement of power, and power mobilization results in the organization of people and resources. Mobilization is persuasion. Rubin's analysis (2002) shows that mobilizing efforts are contextually specific, culturally meaningful, and historically inspired. Furthermore, political acts are ideologically instigated and affectively contagious. Hence, revolution demands objective conditions in political and historical contexts. Subjective conditions are also indispensable (Guevara, 2003); that is, there exists a sense of "exceptionalism" (Guevara, 2003) that is characterized by historical uniqueness or particular factors, such as discipline in leadership or symbolism in revolutionary narratives. Rubin emphasized that the idea is to be "essentialised" (2002) to be sufficiently "generative" and "abstract" for inclusive interpretation. For Rubin, the goal of this idea is to "enchant" (Rubin, 2004).

Eric Wolf, from the tradition of Marxist historical anthropology, argues that to effectively transcend social strata and divisions, "ideas [must] become concentrated into ideologies" that are interpretive or representative of the identity of the masses and that are capable of inspiring general sentiments in people. Wolf (Portis-Winner, 2006, p. 341) discusses the conditions that mobilize social relations: (1) the power of potency characterized by particular individuals; (2) an ego to impose its will for social action upon another; (3) tactical or organizational power, in which individuals circumscribe the actions of others; and (4) structural power that, if sufficiently powerful, organizes the settings and specifies the direction and distribution of energy flow. …

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