Amira’s complexity and cosmopolitanism: the role of disposition in mobilities and mobile learning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

The capacity of individuals or systems to generate or learn how to generate a metastability, a state of navigating the largely unmanageable aspects of complexity, “cannot be reduced either to the actions of individual actors or to persisting social structures” (Urry, 2016: 59). It is as if complexity resists proportionality or linearity; small changes can generate large structural consequences, and individuals will, intellectually or dispositionally, exert considerable resources towards navigating this metastability.

This paper explores this complexity through Amira, an imagined composite of characteristics gleaned from the author’s research in digital education and ICT for development (ICT4D). Amira is a Nepalese woman studying in a postgraduate programme in Europe. Drawing on mobilities theory, chaosmosis, and cosmopolitanism, the habitus of Bourdieu is repurposed as disposition; a tendency of an individual to act, react, or think in a particular way based on the social systems through which they move. Disposition is advanced in as a necessary addition to the theorizing of mobilities and mobile learning respectively, one that countenances Amira’s navigational practices and learning. It provides a foundation from which
to observe engagement and interaction across mobile spaces. It is a fluid process of engagement across multiple contexts, some being materially, deliberately, and dispositionally mobile. Ultimately, it is one that Amira must negotiate to maintain the mobility on which she depends.

Mobile technology is positioned as a critical factor in managing Amira’s mobility across her communities. Mobile learning, as an attendant learning position designed to bolster Amira’s capacity for managing her mobility, needs to
account for the wider range of this activity: across multiple interactional contexts, amongst people and interactive technologies, encapsulating public and private processes; activity that moves between individual Amira’s) and structural (those “immanent to the material conditions of global interdependence”)
systems. Disposition is advanced in this paper as a means of expanding her capacity to navigate the complexity of her own mobility, and as a means of expanding research practice towards identifying such complexity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International Conference on Networked Learning 2018
EditorsM Bajic, Thomas Ryberg, Petar Jandrić, Martin de Laat, NB Dohn
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • mobile learning
  • mobility theory
  • theory
  • distance education


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