Tomy Ward Education
Education for Critical Times
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Tony Ward

Tony Ward

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 16:47

Anti-Capitalist Models of Health and Well Being

 Anti-Capitalist-Front

 

This is an updated cersion of an earlier paper, The Social Construction of Health. This version is more detailed and extensive in its range of cirical analysis. It was presented at the Massey University 2013 Sustainability Conference in Auckland on the 13-15th November 2013, the theme of which was "The Sustainable Rhetoric: Facts and Fictions".

This paper compares the health systems of our present Westrn system which relies heavily on a biomedical model of the universe and of the human organism with the health systems of pre-colonial communities:

  • Māori
  • Lakota
  • Navajo
  • Yogic
  • Ayurvedic
  • Chinese

It shows the way in which aspects of these systems have already been appropriated by western culture - using as examples the works of Carl Jung, Wilhelm Reich, Ronald Laing and others, and points also to the adoption of Eastern systems of acupuncture, and holistic medicines. It notes that these are invariably marginalised as "fringe" or "New Age" by Western medical practitioners, but that nevertheless, these systems are prevailing and increasing in their practice.

It finds that our Western model of health is dramatically failing - heavily influenced as it is by the capitalist ethic of commodification and profiteering. The paper analyses the etiology of our present system as well as the epistemologies of both the pre-colonial and the capitalist systems. It suggests that the latter is ultimately unsustainable - economically, socially, culturally and medically. It recommends an acceptance of traditional rationalities and the abandonment of our own technical/positivist rationality if we are to survive as a species.

Using this critical analysis of the health system, and borrowing from indigenous models, the paper conclused with an architectural design for a communiuty health facility in the small New Zealand town of Whakatane. It showa by example how and what we can learn from pre-capitalist rationalities to ceate a sustainable world that is not dependant on capitalist exploitation and  appropriation.

To download the PDF of the full paper click here

The paper is accompanied by another PDF of the Powerpoint presentation given at the conference. To download that, click here

It is a large file, so please be patient.

Sunday, 18 August 2013 16:48

Ilhan Kucukaydin

Hi Tony, a colleague sent me your site's address. It has been hours I have been navigating your site. This is a great site and mostly needed; especially resources for case studies. I am sure a lot of people benefit from your site.  

Sunday, 21 July 2013 16:28

Econocide in Over the Rhine

Tom Dutton is a regular contributor to this website. For more than 20 years he has devoted himself to fighting the gentrification and cultural displacement programmes of the Cincinnati City Council in Over-the-Rhine. The Miami University Centre for Community Engagement in Over the Rhine which he founded and of which he is the Director brings students from the University in Oxford, Ohio to wage a war of resistance to the econocide that is being applied to the mostly black citizens of Over-the-Rhine.

There are two pieces here written by Tom. The first, Colony Over-the--Rhine was written by and posted at the end of March 07 at: Cincinnati Beacon.com. It critically unpacks the issue of cultural blindness in the context of the gentrification of OTR in downtown Cincinnati, and focuses in on the issue of "Econocide" - that is, the introduction of a "Mixed Economy" into poor neighbourhoods - ostensibly to increase investment and bring jobs to poor blacks, but IN FACT to displace the African American population which is uniformly characterised as "criminal" and "deviant". To download the PDF click here.

The second is a review of Alice Skirtz, Econocide: Elimination of the Urban Poor (Washington, DC: NASW Press, 2012). Originally published in StreetVibes (November 9–22, 2012). It can be downloaded by clicking here

 

 sustainability-front
 
Sustainability is the latest Buzz word. Al Goreʻs movie, An Inconvenient Truth seems to have galvanised at least the western world into a frenzied rush to "save the planet". Without wishing to minimise the seriousness or veracity of Goreʻs message, these PDFs collectively confront the reality of double-speak and Governmental levels, where means and ends do not coincide and where the aphorism "Do as I say and not as I do" seems most appropriate. We move beyond the rhetoric of "We are all in this together" to ask, "Who is to blame?", and then "What are they doing about it besides telling everybody else what to do?". We look at why nothing is being done in  the context of the developing World (citing inaction on the Brandt report as just one example), and suggest that Sustainability has been mythologised, indeed, has been captured by the capitalist class, and besides having been depoliticised and rendered utterly confusing, has been absorbed into the economics of consumption and turned to make a profit. as I suggest further that the whole discourse of sustainability - in particular the rhetoric about the need for sustainable communities is a myth which masks an imperative of continuing control.
 
There are 2 PDFs included here. In the first, I interrogate the "official" version of sustainability, concluding with a list of 10 prominent myths that surround and support the concept of sustainability. Looming large in this list, is the issue of Community Consultation.
 
 To download this PDF click here 
 
The second PDF is a case study about an architecture studio at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, that I co-taught with my good friend and colleague Tom Dutton. Tom has been working with his architecture students for several years in Over-the-Rhine - a downtown ghetto in Cincinnati. Over-the-Rhine is a national heritage site with493 buildings listed with the National Register of Historic Buildings. It has the largest collection of 19th Century Italianate tenement buildings in the country - many of which are in a state of decay as a result of City Council disinvestment and financial sector redlining. This historical process of disinvestment (as in many American cities) has resulted in urban decay and very low property values - providing a cheap profiteering opportunity to the development community.

 In the last few years, this potential has begun to be realised as the city, in partnership with investors and developers, have embarked on a process of gentrification that is displacing the entire resident community of poor,African Americans. Tom is the Director of the Miami University Center for Community Engagement in Over-the-Rhine , and through the Center, has been working with service agencies to support the residents in resisting displacement.

 In the Spring Semester of 2010, Tom and I co-taught a design studio in Over-the-Rhine. Its purpose was to explore issues of urban sustainability - to look at alternative models of development that would include not just environmental and economic sustainability (which the City and its friendly developers don't even do at the moment), but to look also at social and cultural sustainability - that would allow and encourage development, but in a way that would safeguard the life and culture of its existing residents.

The 30 or so students in the program were self-selected. That is, they had chosen this particular project out of a range of available options. Since the goals and expectations of the project had been clearly articulated in the original course description, Tom and I naturally assumed that the students would be highly motivated about the need for greater sustainability. We assumed, further, that as the upcoming generation of leaders, they would be keen to learn as much as they could about problems of global warming, climate change and their environmental design consequences, since it was they who would have to be largely responsible for finding solutions. These were assumptions that were to be called into question as the project proceeded.

 To download this PDF  click here
 
Finally, if you want to know how a small group of Right Wing scientists and their powerful backers have muddied the waters on Climate Change, watch this Your Tube video of Naomi Oreskes, author of Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming .
 
To view a related article on the issue of Consultation and the failure of the Resource Management Act in a New Zealand context click here

To also see a case study on the issue of Community Sustainability click here

 

Sunday, 21 July 2013 15:19

The Social Construction of Space

Traditionally, TIME has been the conceptual category that was linked to critical social theorising. Marx saw the purchase of the worker's time as the key ingredient in the exploitation of the working class and as the basis for new theories of social change. More recently, mostly through the work and writings of Henri Lefebvre, we have come to understand the crucial role played by Space in the dynamic of social control and hegemony. These 3 PDFs chart the way that Space has historically played a key role in the processes of colonisation and subjugation. They show how DisPLACEment and rePLACEment of meaning were and are used to undermine resistance to colonisation. 

The analysis is in three parts:

Part 1: THE THEORY OF CRITICAL SPACE

space-1-front
Click on image to download
 
This PDF situates Critical Space Studies in its relationship to Critical Theory, Cultural Studies and introduces the role played by Space in the colonisation process.

PART 2: THE HISTORY OF CRITICAL SPACE

space-2-front
Click on image to download
 
Part 2 extends the analysis of colonisation - using the example of Christianity and its imposition upon Celtic culture. This analysis leads into an understanding of the role of Space inj the development of Capitalism

PART 3: MODERN CRITICAL SPACE

space-3-front

Click on image to download

Following this, Part 3 discusses the role played by appropriation and commodification in the reproduction of capitalist economies and values - demonstrating, for instance, how the modern concept of Landscape has been socially constructed to depoliticise and mystify the role of space in the process of social control.

 

For a parallel and somewhat abbreviated analysis see Hegemony and Space

 

Sunday, 21 July 2013 14:36

Design Archetypes from Group Process

archetypes-composite2 

Composite image of multiple student bulk and location studies

This PDF describes the  theoretical basis upon which much of the Community Design Studio was based - how to develop a process of collective designing that:

  • tapped the individual creativity of each student
  • was conflict-free
  • filtered out all of the areas of disagreement
  • built conceptually on all the areas of agreement
  • was effective at consensus building
  • led to a universally agreed outcome

The article was first published in Design Studies Magazine in 1987. To download PDF click here 

For a more comprehensive explanation of the design process click here  

 

Sunday, 21 July 2013 14:13

Phenomenological Analysis in Design

 

aotea-demo3

Students Protesting the Design of an Auckland Performing Arts Centre

This article was first published in Design Studies magazine (UK) in 1989  under the title "Phenomenological Analysis in the Design Process". It interrogates the role played by ideology in the value systems inherent in  design, in architecture and (by extension) in aesthetics. It critiques the Modernist notion of rationality and shows it to be a myth which masks a desire for cultural control and imposition.  The article was a precursor to my later (PhD) research into Critical Theory and particularly Critical Aesthetics. As such it lacks the depth of analysis of my later work, but is still, I believe, of historical interest within the context of the material available on the website.

Using examples from:

it demonstrates how group creativity can be developed using techniques from phenomenological analyses th achieve consensus designs which reflect the multivalent perceptions of the designers. It follows on from research into Design Archetypes and prefigures the later writings on Ideology and Design.

To download PDF click here

 

straw-bale-front
 
These are two articles published in Organic New Zealand magazine on strawbale construction. They appeared in the November/December 2005 issue, and looked at the costs of strawbale, its affordability and its non-accessibility to people requiring low cost housing.

To download the first PDF click here.  

To download the later article click here

Sunday, 21 July 2013 13:33

The Emergence of Design as Ideology

The Emergence of Design as Ideology

DESIGN-AS-IDEOLOGY-front

To download document click on image

With the arrival of the design academies, it was only a matter of time before the increasingly systematised nature of design knowledge should be turned to ideological ends. The Reformation proved the catalyst for this emergence. The Church, losing vast numbers of its congregation (and therefore its revenue) to the Protesters and also beginning to suffer from the massive inflation brought about by the enormous increase in capital from colonial American gold, turned its attention to the ways in which design itself could be employed to reverse its losses. The  vanguard troops in this spiritual battle were the Jesuit order, founded by St Ignatius Loyola. Jesuit churches began to appear throughout Europe. These began to embody the new design features designed to contrast with the secularism and austerity of the Reform churches - the use of gold leaf (from the Americas) to increase the sensuousness of the forms, the introduction of hidden light sources to add a sense of mystery, the use of free-standing and extreme bas relief sculptures to develop the audience,  incense, stained glass etc. All were used with the explicit purpose of heightening the sensual and spiritual experience of church-going. It worked. The congregation came back!

To view PDF click here  

 

Sunday, 21 July 2013 13:23

The Institutionalisation of Design

The Institutionalisation of Design

institutionalised-design-front

To download the document click on image

With the emergence of the Autonomous Designer, the institutionalisation of design training became a matter of course. Design patrons like de Medici gathered around them a stable of increasingly famed designers, and Academies began to emerge for the transmission of design knowledge. Their existence was supported by the influx of huge amounts of gold from the Americas - the cost of the many fine Renaissance palaces and churches paid for by the blood of Indigenous peoples in Mexico, Peru, Columbia, Bolivia etc. This was what gave capitalism its critical power and energy. The Church was a major beneficiary of this wealth and dispensed it to the emerging design community. However, control over design costs and design form became an imperative for the Church, leading to increased competition between designers. Michelangelo's increasing seclusion and alienation from public life was one result of these tensions.

This was all exacerbated by the Reformation and the emerging battle of ideologies and styles between the Church and the Reformists as Church architecture became increasingly regulated, still and propagandist.

To download the PDF The Institutionalisation of Design click here

 

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