agency matters

danah boyd | apophenia » Debating Privacy in a Networked World for the WSJ:
"I think that positioning privacy and public-ness in opposition is a false dichotomy. People want privacy *and* they want to be able to participate in public. This is why I think it’s important to emphasize that privacy is not about controlling information, but about having agency and the ability to control a social situation. People want to share and they gain a lot from sharing. But that’s different than saying that people want to be exposed by others. Agency matters."
Danah Boyd states a pivotal concept, agency matters, a fact that applies to children and families in schools as well. And perhaps moving toward educational alternatives will mean grasping the social fact that agency matters for citizens, that democracy matters for nation-states, and sustainability means moving in that direction, a direction where human beings are as valuable an ecosystem as the land and sea, all of which are now devalued by a money system that is being siphoned off into swamps and pools.

danah boyd at the Writers on Writing about Tec...GFDL licensed image via Wikipedia, Danah Boyd at 2009 Yale conference, photo by Sage Ross
Mass coerced schooling, using grading and ranking in command-and-control systems has created social environments that are increasingly prone to generating toxic social behavior as we have seen in school shootings and in bullying and suicides. These experiences are social e-coli, virulent forms of usually far less virulent peer group socialization experiences, a type of social life mass schools enforce by law. It is not a social life that a growing number of sciences, from evolutionary biology to psychology to brain science, would recommend for humans.

Acknowledging the importance of people having the agency to control a social situation means grasping the importance of our social lives in a world where we now live many long years in institutions that work against our innate nature. These institutions, mass coerced schools, hijacked  corporations, and undemocratic and poorly representative government entities all work against forming sustainable social structures.

We are now struggling on a global level with the fact that agency matters and matters deeply to human beings as we seek to ensure that the new institutions of the nation-state are stable, democratic and sustainable .

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