Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A recent publication about LJA

                                          Struggles for Living Learning- Lina Dokuzovic


.Lokavidya can be understood as a lived/living knowledge which develops from day-to-day experiences, struggles, and challenges in the world as a people’s common knowledge: a living knowledge or living learning. It includes the knowledge of peasants, artisans, displaced persons, and indigenous persons alongside institutionalized education or other spaces where knowledge is produced. According to members of the movement, it is a term that, while coined by participants in the movement, is easily understood and identified by people across India as something they inherently have….

if we see this in a deprivation framework, we will be led to development theories; if we see this in an exploitation framework, we will be led to theories of radical social transformation” …..This perspective, which highlights the detrimental consequences of “development” advanced by not least the World Bank or IMF, is key to understanding the point of departure of the LJA. In other words, a struggle which focuses on lack advances financial compensation as its endgame, thus remaining dependent on national and supranational policies that oppress impoverished populations through the very logic of standards-based definitions of lack. It also perpetuates competition among its people. However, by shifting the perception of lack and accompanying jealousy, depression, and insecurity perpetuated by the logic of capital to highlighting what people are endowed with, despite, or even as a result of these experiences, people can become empowered through the collective use and exchange of their skills, talents, and knowledge. The LJA departs from this shift in the perception of knowledge production by instead placing lokavidya at the center of a unified struggle in order to radically reconfigure the understanding of knowledge, development, solidarity, borders, and access. From this perspective, the LJA attempts to unitea wide range of struggles for socially equitable access to basic human rights.
Lokavidya provides a crucial perspective in India where a large part of the population has been made refugees in their homeland as a result of displacement and internal migration. In this context, knowledge is not only quantified for becoming commodified; it is also instrumentalized to promote processes of exclusion beyond the realm of education or employment within cognitive capitalism. Furthermore, lokavidya presents an important alternative within the context of grassroots movements that have reached an impasse in historical and contemporary conflicts between armedstruggle and abandoned non-violent Gandhism. However, the notion of lokavidya not only presents an alternative. By departing from the perspective of capacity rather than lack, it builds a greater foundation for a struggle built and inherently based on constituent strengths. It, therefore, allows for more flexible solidarity across borders or facets of struggle as it focuses less on competition among have-nots by reinforcing itself instead through a strengthening, self-empowering, and self-perpetuating exchange of shared knowledges as capacity and potentiality. Due to the potentiality ofthis perspective, the LJA and Vidya Ashram maintain that “a radical intervention in the world of knowledge is a necessary condition for a radical transformation of society.”

The notion of lokavidya has deeply enriched my theoretical and political understanding of the role of knowledge as a constituent and instituent force across borders, economic sectors, institutions of education, and thus as a transformative form of cross-sectional solidarity. My understanding of lokavidya as a theoretical perspective was significantly developed through practical, lived experiences and encounters with movements, primarily the LJA. And my understanding of movement practices was further expanded through a variety of theoretical viewpoints from struggles, including contrapoder, radical pedagogy, co-research, translocality, feminist ecology, or social justice.

...movements such as the LJA use phrases like “living knowledge,” “living learning,” or “people’s knowledge” instead to refer to a state of empowerment, not a new form of exploitation. In doing so,they radically shift their approach to these exploitative conditions by not allowing them to paralyze their actions. Instead, the LJA focuses on the constituent force or counter-power of lived experiences, which in many cases includes traditional, Indigenous, or Fordist structures that function parallel to Postfordist cognitive capitalism in, for example, the context of India.

Movements such as the LJA have taken this one step further to claim that lived knowledge
should be placed at the center of knowledge-based struggles as the source of self-empowerment and the basis upon which to demand rights and reclaim space.

This point of departure has been expanded through perspectives developed within the LJA – as well as its overlaps with the publication Living Learning – which demand an inclusion of lived knowledges, placing the worst-off at the center of a common struggle, and placing lokavidya at the center of a more comprehensive struggle for rights.

LJA’s demands for basic income are based on the egalitarian acknowledgement and treatment of knowledges (i.e., lokavidya). This perspective – which contributes greatly to the notion of living learning – does not measure knowledge according to its value on global financial markets. It instead understands knowledge as a fundamental part of life and considers the exploitation of living labor within and beyond financial or cognitive capitalism. Living learning also acknowledges the various translocal differences in and divisions of labor that influence and are influenced by transforming economic and social relations. Furthermore, living learning incorporates an understanding of the gender divide and feminization of labor. It does not create an exclusive perspective that disregards the global digital divide or the global multiplication of labor.

An equally distributed unconditional basic income based on an equal acknowledgement of human knowledges and their various contributions to society – rather than cognitive capital – would satisfy demands by struggles for living learning in different parts of the world without the loss of livelihoods that fuels destructive capitalist expansion. Moreover, the distribution of such a notion on a global level would challenge global divisions of labor and income disparity and would create a radical shift in global economic processes and translocal practices
The book can be purchased or ordered from all book stores in the German-speaking area. It can also be ordered online from a number of distributors who ship internationally. In addition, a downloadable pdf is also available on the publisher's website at the link pasted below.

Living Learning: Within Emergent Knowledge Economies and the Cognitivization of Capital and Movement.
transversal texts, June 2016
ISBN 978-3-903046-09-2
237 pages, paperback, € 15,00
The book is available in print or as an EPUB or PDF.

Some useful links to the author’s involvement with LJA

Lina Dokuzovic speaking at the First International Conference of Lokavidya Jan Andolan

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