Search…
Tools for conviviality
Here we extend Ivan Illich's perception of vernacular capability thro tools for conviviality, into a framing of emergent modes of resistance in culture: emergent capabilities to organise
Incomplete, to be extended xxx
Vernacular capability - 'roots' capability, everyday capability, capability distributed through society in mutual aid - is central, in contrast with the administered, professionalised modes of modern state- and corporate- forms of social organisation. Ivan Illich powerfully developed this framing in the 70s, working first with Puerto-Rican communities in New York, then at CIDOC in Mexico. He proposed the development of 'tools for conviviality' - meaning not so much literal, discrete tools (eg digital tools) but rather the institutional forms that constitute capability or disability, privilege or literacy: healthcare, city planning, public administration, mandatory public education, etc.
'Tools' in this sense are basically institutions, systemic practices, organised and purposive forces of cultural production, chunks of social organisation and socially-oriented intention. Not technical instruments and objects. Not 'software tools' for example; not 'platforms', not repositories of code (even 'free' repositories of code). The core focus is on vernacular capability - and the active, collaborative, vernacular design of capability, conducted in an intimate weave with the design of the weave of provisioning of everyday life. Thus, there's a close connection with 'design justice', a perspective that emerged 40 years on. See Design justice
Illich notes the close historical convergence and alliance between the State and professionalised practice, to the extent that participation in professionalised institutions often becomes mandatory. The approach to vernacular capability thus is also a movement beyond the State, and beyond professionalism and the professional-managerial class. This appears for example in the Illich argument for 'deschooling society', making the whole of society 'a school' of vernacular capability. There's a very close alignment here, with the principle of a (cultural) commons.
Some Illich references here xxx
And connections with David Bollier's Commoner's catalog for changemaking
Also link to elements in the wikipedia entry.
Illich's framing of 'vernacular' capability, literacy and power can be set in a wider context, of historical, emerging, radical roots capabilities, paralleled and layered, continuing. The slide below is a crude listing of emergent modes of resistance in the field of culture (aka labour power), in contexts of capital, digital regimes and colonial/anthropocene exploitation, extinction, epistemicide and enclosure.
Modes of resistance - Emergent layers of roots capability in organising, understanding, communicating, visioning
A practice of formación will systematically mobilise these layered and paralleled and still-emergent modes of organisation, in a pluriverse of capability and insight. A dance of knowing.
Expand the schema above: resistance in the face of capital, digital regimes, coloniality and the anthropocene.
Copy link