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Friday, February 03, 2006

Shifting paradigms: Blogs, CoPs and Chicas

CoPs = Communities of Practice

Aldo de Moor of Growing Pains writes about his visit to the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerpern, one of the earliest leading publishing houses in Europe. He was struck by how book printing only developed while it was "strongly embedded and evolving in a nourishing community of practice". He says:
We often think of "Humanism" and "Renaissance" as abstract, larger-than-life ideas, which somehow emerged autonomously or "because the time was ripe". A visit to this museum makes very clear, however, how much depends on people and politics for these ideas (not) to flourish.

In other words, to continue my internal conversation with Monica, Atrium, and Fernando, we wouldn't say that the book (or the blog) was just another publishing tool - there was a community and a context that gave it meaning and life.

Now 500 years later I identify perfectly with Aldo's scenario of the changes at work:
Imagine, one room housed the catholic censor, who had to reject everything that did not follow Party, pardon me, Church lines. In the next room, a Great Mind was Shifting Paradigms! What an exciting time it must have been: printing technologies rapidly maturing from nothing to mass production, the greatest religious and intellectual forces of the era whirling around that emerging hub in the world of Early Modernity, political and religious authorities that tried to get a grip on this...

This looks like a different metaphor for my current situation. I'm the Duh-cent (docente) who has to get things through the Catholic Censor while my Chica Esperta is in the next room trying to dance with Great Minds Shifting Paradigms!

In fact I watch unfold the picture Aldo paints of that time:
Incredible tensions and conflicts must have arisen. Picture the subtle discussions, sensemaking, negotatiation, and plain scheming that had to be done to keep all these contradictions from exploding! If ever there was a community of practice that has influenced the world, this is the one.

He also says "against all odds, Plantin and his team managed to beat The System."

Hmmm, that makes me think CoP2.0, blogs and chica espertas!

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