Literature Review: Coordination or Style

I have sectioned my literature Review into seven sections; Ontology, Coordination or Style, Our Role as Disclosers, Commitment, Breakdown, Disclosing New Technologies, Designing Disclosure 

Coordination or style

Our way of being, or style is the basic understanding of human activity and experience. Style acts as the grounding from which practices are maintained and also the platform from which new practices are developed (Flores, Spinosa, & Dreyfus, 1998) Our way of being, deals with its surroundings through learning and perceiving patterns of interlocking meaning, then applying this to the activity at hand – for example, walking, thinking, driving, or conversation. We often do not notice ourselves as agents, as people, or as any thing in these activities. Once we become habituated to a style, it becomes invisible to us (Flores, Spinosa, & Dreyfus, 1998).  From a Heideggerrian perspective is called throwness, which means that our basic engagement in the world is not of reflection – that we are not rational and reflective which engaged in the world. Rather reflection occurs in breakdown of this throwness, which is an encounter with the uncertainty of experience. In this breakdown we must make sense, reflect and create concepts that allow us to cope or adapt.

What needs to be done, said or thought of straightaway draws an appropriate response form us. We respond to a situation that appears in terms of the actions we need take. It is only at the unexpected moment when something does not go according to expectation that we begin to experience disharmony (breakdown) that we begin to call upon different ways of being, or different patterns to figure out how to deal with the unexpected.

A suitable example here would be how we interact with our mobile phones today – we can engage in a discussion on an instant messaging platform, where we are deeply immersed in the conversation and are not focused on typing in every single letter, it just flows naturally – we do not have to reflect on it, because we have performed and learned how to interact with our mobiles and so has become habituated. Spinosa et al.,(1997) have followed up by saying,

“ We see things as odd artefacts until we become familiar with their use, and then we become virtually incapable of seeing them as strange (Flores, Spinosa, & Dreyfus, 1998)”.

Through observing a style of organizing “or the coordination of actions”, we can articulate a disclosive space. This disclosure allows us to articulate the underlying coordination or sense making processes, which affect the system in three ways:

“1) by coordinating actions, 2) by determining how things and people matter and 3) by being what is transferred from situation to situation. These three functions of style determine the way anything shows up and makes sense for us.” (Spinosa et al., 2007)

Through being present to this disharmony or breakdown, we can get a sense of how this system is dynamic and changing – that is to say that we can begin to understand how it is attempting to evolve. To elaborate here, two things “show up” in this breakdown. Firstly the breakdown discloses coordination, it unearths the roots of sense so to speak which instantiates the system itself. Secondly it points out the areas in which the system is failing, and shows these as the exact places in which change or development must occur. These two points are the basic points of departure for ontological design because it shows a breakdown in the hermeneutic machinery and also gives and indication of the development trajectory of the system.

The next question is to figure out how to facilitate the emergence of a new style – this requires the ability to work with the above two points as the actual foundation for design. This skill for dealing with a disharmony or discordance is more complex than the skill for noticing and holding on to it. Spinosa et al. (2007) suggest that there are three ways one can do this, namely articulation, reconfiguration and cross-appropriation.

We distinguish two aspects of a disclosive space: it’s organization and it’s coordination. In order for things and selves to show up as meaningful (as opposed to just effective) this organized activity needs further organization called coordination (Flores, Spinosa, & Dreyfus, 1998).

In the articulation of change, the style crystalizes the core identity and becomes more recognizable in its pure form, for what it actually is. Reconfiguration is a more substantial way in which a style can change. In this case some marginal aspect of practices coordinated by a style becomes dominant. Cross-appropriation takes place when one disclosive space takes over from another disclosive space, a practice that it could not generate on its own but what it finds useful.

(This still needs work and I need to expand on this section on Articulation, Reconfiguration and Cross-appropriation. Plus add examples – e.g. feminist movement)

Articulation, reconfiguration and cross-appropriation are three different ways in which, disclosive skills can work to bring about meaningful historical change, of a disclosive space. All of these types of change are historical because people sense them as continuous with the past (Flores, Spinosa, & Dreyfus, 1998). These three ways in which disclosing may be historical – or may produce changes in coordination of practices – leads us to the investigation into being sensitive to the disclosing that one is carrying on in one’s life, which we call disclosing, that one is a discloser (Flores, Spinosa, & Dreyfus, 1998).


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