Applying Technologies of the Self in Transformation Labs to Mobilize Collective Agency
Keywords:Transformation Laboratories, technologies of the self, T-Labs, collective agency, transformative agency
Transformation Laboratories (T-Labs) are human-centered participatory spaces aimed at fostering both the personal development of participants, and the generation of new collective agency in heterogenous groups of actors motivated by the goal of transforming the social-ecological systems they inhabit. T-Labs can benefit from employing “technologies of the self” (ToS), which are participatory tools to assist self-reflection by drawing people’s attention to their own social-ecological agency. Academic researchers can act as convenor/facilitators of T-Labs by playing the dual role of providing both tested ToS for building collective agency, and access to specialized expertise and knowledges, according to the needs of each group. The process may involve existing or new economic activities but is transformation-driven rather than profit-driven. This paper reports on a 3-years project that implemented a T-Lab in Xochimilco wetland in Mexico City. The project created and applied 10 ToS. Two of them, Ego-nets and Avatars are presented to illustrate their transformative potential.
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