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professor Roger säljö , University of Gotehnburg

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Read more about Professor Roger Säljö here.

Professor Annalisa Sannino,Tampere University

Toward a power-sensitive conceptualization of transformative agency: The role of  enhanced expansive learning tools of the Change Laboratory

Recent findings on transformative agency by double stimulation (TADS) represent a contribution to ongoing discussions of agency and change in a cultural-historical perspective. Aspects of these discussions revolve around the notion of power. This keynote address presents a theoretical argument supported by an empirical example claiming that TADS is intrinsically a power-sensitive conceptualization of agency. The proposition constructed here complements Erik Olin Wright’s perspective on the power of heterogeneous egalitarian coalitions for multi-layered collective action and transformation. Despite its dialectical and progressive stance, Wright’s perspective is still predominantly one based on accounts and critiques on existing and prospective power dynamics. The proposition put forward here focuses on how hidden, unrecognized and often suppressed power is generated and how it can be supported by means of symbolic and material tools. A fourth generation activity theory study on eradicating homelessness in Finland is presented as an example. The study used enhanced expansive learning tools of the Change Laboratory conducted at the level of a supported housing unit for former homeless, at the city level and at the national level. The proposition of a power-sensitive concept of transformative agency builds on the following three claims 1) power can be put in motion by means of TADS; 2) conflicting motives are a resource for generating and exerting power; 3) power is a process similarly mediated as TADS.

Annalisa Sannino is Professor in the Faculty of Education and Culture at Tampere University. She holds visiting professorships at Rhodes University, South Africa and at University West, Sweden. Her research career includes appointments in American, French, and Italian universities. Her work develops and brings into use the Finnish tradition of cultural-historical activity theory to foster participatory analyses of major societal challenges in close collaboration with stakeholders and practitioners. Her focus is on activities undergoing critical transformations and what these transformations entail in terms of collective agency and learning. Beside the authoring of numerous journal articles, she has served as the leading editor of several special issues and edited volumes in management, education and psychology. 

Updated by Eva Erkmar