Wednesday, September 19, 2007

a concept map

As a starting point for thinking about technology, homesteading, and sustainability (and Phelan has already pointed out that not all homesteaders consider themselves "green"), I pulled out my index cards and markers and crawled around on the floor trying to make a concept map of where I'm starting from.

This map represents my initial thinking about what is required for someone to be self-reliant. I’m still thinking about relationships, processes, and arrows, but for now the arrows suggest requirements for something to happen (red), probable needs for something to happen (blue) or components of larger categories (orange).
In the upper left corner is a square with an X in the middle around “motivations,” with the blue arrows indicating that motivations likely lead to self-reliance, and that motivations likely arise from emotional resources, social connections, and information resources. These resources are also connected in various ways: information resources might be the social connections, or they might rely on some kind of network. Emotional resources are likely to be composed of social connections, so that in some respects this is a self-sustaining loop.

The right hand side of the map is mostly concerned with non-human resources needed for self-reliance, physical resources and technologies. Technology might be processes or objects, and also provides the infrastructure for distributed networks (indicated by the chain of 3 red arrows).

I’m not convinced that I’ve included all the relevant factors, or that I’ve indicated all of the interconnections, or that I’m at the right granularity / level of detail with respect to my categories, but laying out this concept map does begin to help structure my eventual inquiry. So hit me: what would your map look like? Different categories? Move the arrows around?

(I also know that this might be a little hard to read, especially the colors, and that there is concept-mapping software available. I happen to like crawling around on the floor with markers in my hands!)

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