Slavoj Zizek and Rhizomatic Learning

As Dave Cormier is speaking about Rhizomatic learning this week in the #change11 MOOC, I thought about this recent interview Charlie Rose had with the philosopher and cultural critic, Slavoj Zizek.

While I know that Dave’s work on rhizomatic learning does not have the same critical lens that Zizek uses, his way of seamlessly moving from one topic to another, approaching human experience from different perspectives, speaks to me about what may be possible if we extend this discussion (as learning opportunities surround us) to other areas of learning and experiencing the world. In this way it recalls Dave’s thinking:

The rhizome metaphor, which represents a critical leap in coping with the loss of a canon against which to compare, judge, and value knowledge, may be particularly apt as a model for disciplines on the bleeding edge where the canon is fluid and knowledge is a moving target.

I wonder how rhizomatic learning fits with cultural studies, and if in this way it has a certain interdisciplinarity about it?

2 thoughts on “Slavoj Zizek and Rhizomatic Learning

  1. Hi Jeffrey,

    I’m a fan of Zizek — and am thinking about your argument above, which I understand to be that Zizek’s thinking/communication style represents ‘rhizomatic’ thinking.

    While that may be true — he brings together ideas/information from several domains to make his arguments — I wonder if his ‘learning’ about each of those domains wasn’t in fact done in a focused and domain-specific manner and then ‘networked’ together (to reference the George/Dave debate) to then be presented in its full rhizomatic glory.

    As you can tell, I’m still trying to tease apart/make the connections between the network and/vs. the rhizome as models/structures.

    I’m starting to see rhizomes as structures growing within and across networks — in the same vein as the concept of ‘transversal’ presented by Nancy White in her web presentation — which I saw as a recording (ie. after the fact) and within which I saw your comments/interactions — and which in a weird way I still feel connected to as though I had been there. Makes me wonder about the ‘rhizomatic’ nature of technologies that allow us to ‘be there’ even though we weren’t there in real space/time.

    Of course I may be completely off on my understanding of the concept of ‘rhizome’ — in which case all of the above may be disregarded.

    In any case, I appreciated your link to Zizek in the MOOC — and wanted to respond with this link to a discussion between Zizek and Julian Assange being facilitated by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:

    1. @Asif
      Thank you for your comment and the link you provided. I heard about this interview, though I had not seen it.
      I am not sure if Zizek works or does not work in a rhizomatic way; I just thought that his interview style here reminds me of the seemingly scattered nature of rhizomes. Zizek seems all over the place at times while still making connections between things that do not initially seem connected, all while being terribly engaging while ironically being distracting (the nose-touches) all at the same time.
      Your other issue about being connected while not being present (even asynchronously first-hand present) seems a question worthy of more discussion…

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