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Structural Violence Creeps Up on Us Appel's Animated Figurine; see templart.htm.

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: May 15, 2000
E-Mail Curran or Takata.

The Structural Violence of "Knowing"

by Jeanne Curran and Susan Takata
Part of Teaching Series
Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan Takata, May 15, 2000. "Fair Use" encouraged.

Bureaucratic systems tend to become violent. We have to guard against structural violence, if in no other way than guarding against deciding that whatever way we've always done "it" the the right and only way to do "it." This afternoon I received an e-mail from A.J. Marr of New Orleans. He, or she, had read our site, with a particular interest in intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. On this topic I've tended to follow learning theory I studied in the 70s, Alfie Kohn, and lately a healthy reading of John Lear's Open Minded.

A.J. Marr has objected that I need rather drastically to update my learning theory to include the bio-psychological advances in studying the mind. Based on the bio-psychological approach intrinsic, extrinsic no longer matters, for he/she claims that we now understand the actual neural exchange of the mind. Now, I'm not going to get to all this in the next two weeks.

But I do want you to recognize the importance of publishing. Because our material was on the site, A.J. Marr was able to reach us and challenge our ideas. That is a form of peer review, a form of openness so that we can continue to read our own theoretical perspectives critically. When I post your materials on site, I do so for precisely the same reasons. The site is a forum to enable discourse, and that is how we learn.

I have brought up some psychological approaches in the last two semesters, but most of you reject them in favor of sociological and social constructivist positions. But A.J. Marr is right. As our disciplines begin to understand the functioning of the mind better, our understandings of learning theory will necessarily change. How much and how fast I cannot predict. But since humans show motivation beyond extrinsic response, at least as I still understand motivation, I trust that this new bio-psychology will adequately explain our curiosity, our desire to find solutions, and our long-cherished construct of an individual with unique characteristics, ego, etc., even if we find it more appropriate to change the names we give these constructs.

As I have a chance to read, I'll share my reading with you. So far, none of the links provided makes sense. We'll see. After next week . . . jeanne