Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tools: On being part of the culture and finding [some] validity!

A Homesteading Neophyte (forthwith AHN), as she promised, has started a new series of posts about the tools that homesteaders use. She's started with gardening, both Tools for Planting a Garden and Tools for Maintaining Lawn and Garden. She announced the series in a blog post where she mentioned my post on tagging, where I noted my surprise at the lack of the use of "tools" as an emergent category in the homesteader blogging discourse. I suggested that this was probably not because homesteaders weren't talking about tools, but instead that the tools discussions were embedded in other conversations. AHN confirmed this in a comment on my post, but also picked up on it for the new series to talk explicitly about the tools of homesteading.

This is clarifying for me how I participate in this community; I am not only observing and responding to the community, but actively sparking changes in the discussions that are happening. This tells me first of all that I have encountered a very welcoming, flexible, and reflective group of people. It is not so much what I have done that has realized my inclusion in the discourse, it is primarily a feature of the community itself.

This instance is also indicative of the homesteaders' larger practice of reflection on their lifestyle(s). These are people who have very intentionally taken a step back to evaluate their participation in consumer culture, and rejected some aspects of that culture in order to embrace alternatives. Similarly, when I suggested (albeit indirectly) a category that might be highlighted as interesting but hadn't been, at that point, a community member reflected on the significance of tools and chose to devote more explicit attention to them in future posts. This, for me, is the essence of productive dialogue between action and research, between practice and thought - and there's no reason why that dialogue should ever be confined to academia, or for the practice to be excluded from academia.

1 comment:

Phelan said...

As I said, you merely need to ask. One of the reasons we blog, is to share our knowledge. We will babble on until someone asks a question.