søndag 16. januar 2011

Action at the whining range

Her er en empiribeskrivelse fra et konferansepaper jeg håper jeg får lov til å holde. Jeg har jo et problem med oversettelser, men jeg har hatt det litt morsomt også med å oversette syte-relaterte begreper.

The paper is based on a longitudinal involvement with an alliance of practitioners in the field of community and organizational development. The Lifeworks are, in their own words: an initiative-based inspiration- and development alliance. Anyone can join, most activities are for everybody, and anyone can decide to host a lifework-event. The events often take place at a lifework-place; normally the places where members live, typically located in rural Norway.

In community development the people of the Lifeworks have spawned many new endeavours. They turn pride in provincialism into a surprising advantage and have aided several rural communities to be socially abundant. There are several local businesses created in the wake of their interventions. One of the most striking features of the Lifeworks is the naming practice, a play with words that is a favourite pastime, but that also creates new activities and reassembles old practices.

One cluster of word plays center around the importance of deferring negative comments on a creative work in progress. It started with a farmer establishing a physical «whining range» on his field instead of the more familiar firing range. He built a whinometer to suit it. From there others were inspired to create «The voluntary whining squad» that for a couple of years was merely an expression until someone else again created a Facebook group for the squad. This forum is considered to be a safe place for practicing whining in orderly forms. People write about things they dislike, but the forum is also a playground for new uses of the whino-prefix, such as whinotherapy, whinoceros, but also concepts that are close in meaning or sound to any of the previous concepts1.

For this short essay, I will only present this particular development, but there are many more, also made together with the organizations that are their customers. Familiar words are played with and result in different and new actions that might be interpreted as innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship – all favourite terms for organizations where world views have to be reassembled to fit a new climate. This can explain why the Lifeworks are hired to do interventions, but it cannot explain whether this approach can be useful.

1 kommentar:

  1. This version of the paper didn't even make it to the EGOS conference, so in 2011 I only participated in the PhD workshop.

    In 2012 I reworked the paper and won a prize for it. That's interesting!


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