Politics of the Interpersonal

I’m transcribing the interview with JA that I conducted back in December as part of my dissertation research.  As she talks about her service learning class’s work with a middle schoolers at a pilot school, she brings up the concept of “politics of the interpersonal.”  The idea that folks may not become political activists in the traditional sense, but rather a consciousness about power and the cultivating of empathy and empowerment can lead individuals to transform their relationships with other.  So why individuals may not join political campaigns or large social movements, they may treat their children, family members and co-workers differently.  This idea of micro changes combined with macro efforts can have large effects.

In the interview she talks about positive youth development not really addressing the larger social or systemic forces.  At the same time, social justice approaches may not bring in the individual aspects either.  For her, the idea of community youth development seems to combine these micro and marco levels and are guided by social action.

In many ways, this is what the work Peter is engaged in is about.  By working on the processes of individual and group interaction we can change how individuals think and engage in research, their community and the world.  So it seems to me, I should bring these more subtle aspects into my interviews and perspectives.  This makes me think I should read a bit more into the literatures of “social action,” “group dynamics,” and “human development.”  I may find some new ideas to add here that could be useful to thinking about these dynamics.

It also occurred to me that I could use some of the processes and tools from Peter’s workshops for use with TCS project.  “Future Ideal,” “Daily Writing,” “Dialogue Process,” “Story Circles,” and other elements might help here.  I should familiarize myself with more of these tools via the book Peter is working on about research and engagement processes – http://cct.wikispaces.umb.edu/TYS3.