1,760 publications found
Sort by
Selective permeability, multiculturalism and affordances in education

ABSTRACT Selective permeability holds that people’s distinct capacities allow them to do different things in a space, making it unequally accessible. Though mainly applied to urban geography so far, we propose selective permeability as an affordance-based approach for understanding diversity in education. This has advantages. First, it avoids dismissing lower achievements as necessarily coming from “within” students, instead locating challenges in the environment. This implies that settings (not just people) need remedial attention, also raising questions about normative judgments in disability nomenclature. Second, affordances can be negotiated in numerous ways to reach a goal, analogously to how people with missing arms have learned to drive with their feet, so restrictive problem-solving methods are often counterproductive. Third, our approach illuminates how cultural factors ranging from gait styles to language and hence group coordination modulate action possibilities, so that cultural groups may encounter objectively different affordances in the same classroom. But fourth, while fit with environment allows for skill refinement, non-fit can contribute to growth situations, which suggests a degree of selective closure can be desirable. Throughout, we argue social constructs – including educational ones – are literally built or enacted barriers or openings that have reality in environments in the same way that affordances do.

Fashioning affordances: a critical approach to clothing as an affordance transforming technology

ABSTRACT Affordances are standardly understood as perceived possibilities for interaction. What is afforded is in turn regarded as dependent on the properties of a body and its environment. Human bodies are nearly ubiquitously clothed, and clothing can change the capabilities of bodies. We argue that when clothing does this, it should be regarded as an affordance transforming technology. Clothing receives passing attention in remarks by Gibson, and some empirical work in ecological psychology uses worn items as experimental manipulations. We argue that the effects of clothing should be a central topic of investigation. We further show how the notion of clothing as an affordance transforming technology allows ecological psychology to accommodate feminist insights about the restrictive or oppressive nature of some gendered clothing norms. We aim to show that if ecological psychology is to be a general framework for thinking about human perception and activity, then it should consider clothing, because of the differences it can make to what is afforded. And it should do so critically because the ways that clothing changes what is afforded are sometimes discriminating in the sense that what people are expected to wear and what differences that makes aren’t independent of how they’re classified in systems of power and oppression.