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Presence, Absence, and Alterity: Fire Space and Goffman’s Selves in Postdigital Education

Gourlay, L; (2021) Presence, Absence, and Alterity: Fire Space and Goffman’s Selves in Postdigital Education. Postdigital Science and Education 10.1007/s42438-021-00265-1. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The literature on space in higher education has arguably been dominated by the concept of ‘learning spaces’. In this paper, I will argue that this construct, while appearing student-focused and creative, is ideologically circumscribed by an underlying social constructivism. Following Bayne et al. (2014), I draw on science and technology studies to consider social topologies, in particular regional space, network space, and their proposed fluid space, and the work of Law and colleagues on the category of fire space, derived from Bachelard’s (The Psychoanalysis of Fire, 1964) disquisition on the nature of fire. I work with this construct in an analysis of postdigital education, in particular looking at synchronous interaction via video conferencing software such as Zoom. Linking this analysis to the work of Goffman and his concept of the lecturer selves (Goffman in Forms of Talk, 1981), I argue that the concept of fire space may allow for a more nuanced and accurate account of the flickering, contingent nature of (co) presence, absence, and alterity, allowing for a more immanent account of digital interaction in ‘distance’ or ‘online’ education.

Type: Article
Title: Presence, Absence, and Alterity: Fire Space and Goffman’s Selves in Postdigital Education
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s42438-021-00265-1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-021-00265-1
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137365
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