Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Little Black Fish is getting too...

A good and committed friend of mine to this blogging world, Soheil, recently told me to announce the readings for the next week post!!! He simply meant I am too much into my research's theoretical framework that my little black fish is becoming too involved into unattractive streams of life.

He is RIGHT.

I am now finalizing my theoretical framework, when coming accross a new topic I am tempted to summarize it in this blog. I believe as he argues it is too much.
I created this blog to reflect what I think is worth giving it a thought. But it is becoming non-relevant. I believe I should broaden the horizon even within my interactions with the world within the context of my research with Toronto Community Housing.
I should write more Farsi too! It is now more than 4 months that I have not written for Shahrvand and I am badly missing it.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

More on Post Modern turn in public administration

Although McSwite introduce the process theory but do not detail any action plan. In relation to each other they propose the alternative task not beyond achieving “the correct existential stance”; regarding us and others at the same time and “in the same moment”. In this approach, trying to do the “right” thing is nothing but meaningless. Reasoned and justified results could mobilize energy and direct social action if is shown to be confronted with unreasoned and illogical results, all of which is founded on one interpretation of truth. Thus pursuing such reasoned and planned results based on our sketch of value and the derived facts; itself ends in authoritarian evil.

Recasting local public management as to aim for the ethos of process rather than achieving anticipated and reasoned results could prevent the universal evil to prevail. What matters, then, is to achieve a fluid status, within which authority is prevented to be dominated by one or few over others. McSwite portrays the reality of human condition as: “I am you” and characterize this fluid status as a transformed reason. A reason as embraces the alternative style of dialogue and assumes the primacy of receiving the other as oneself; or in other words the first step is “to listen”.

An urgent implication of such transformed reason is a pragmatic and collaborative relationship with citizens, better called: citizen-oriented bureaucracy, an active relationships between citizens and administrators should be the basis of redefining public administration. One could claim that encouraging and engendering the role of citizenship in local governance is, at least, partly due to the emerging influence of such post modern thoughts as process theory in response to the existing problematic social relations. It is also through practices of process-focused public management that alternative identity for the now rigid and scientifically reasoned public administration could be developed.

Process Theory in Post Modernism

"Certainty" as an either moral or scientific characteristic could provoke evil in human relations. McSwite (1997) in their influential book on post modern turn in public service argue that unquestionable facts and values, through the medium of moral or scientific reasoning, shape virtual truths and certainties, those, in turn, give rise to evil and has historically produced totalitarianism and social calamities. To identify the "other" and to set the mutual terms of alterity for sharing the ownership of diversified and relative truth, McSwite theorizes human interaction as a "process", which, if proceeds properly, could redefine public service structure and develop an alternative orientation for the exercise of authority. Process theory as a form of collaborative pragmatism, is a basis that is "neither objectively certain nor ultimately tentative".

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Sustainable Development

In 1983, The World Commission on Environment and Development was asked to re-examine the critical environment and development problems of the planet and to formulate realistic proposals to solve them. They found failure and success and a range of in-betweens. The outcome was the report, Our Common Future, articulating the urgent need for humans to change the course of their development to move toward “Sustainable Development”. They proposed that it should become the basic, unifying objective of the whole United Nations system. They also defined sustainable development as follows:
“As paths of progress which meet the needs and aspirations of the present generations, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

Sustainable development as a new concept of development does not imply a fixed state. It is a process of change in both means and ends, and aims to induce development paths that are economically, socially and ecologically sustainable. The main attempt now is to make this concept applicable to the human living system. Humans are now looking for new routes to build the basic foundations on which the paths towards sustainability would be constructed.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Popular Education in Iran

Although Iranian society is denied for its rights to political socialization, people participate in informal contexts such as family and religious groups as well as hidden youth/student associations and communities of interests, which provide substitute arrangements for a civil society. Within such informal and less documented spheres, especially in urban settings, mentors and organic leaders are being developed to facilitate social change within private spaces of individual's lives. Thus, in studying popular education and non-formal and informal learnings of adults in Iran, these types of social participation, and its various and objective manifestations should be taken into account. Due to enormous domestic social pressure, even among the highest levels of government, civil society is becoming the subject of intense debate and controversy in Iranian public sphere today. Unlike last decade, terms equivalent to concepts indicating civil society and civic participation in Persian language is increasingly developed and popularized. In fact, contrary to common belief, most Iranians participate in communities of their interests within informal settings.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Cultural Revolution in Iran?

A short reality joke on post-revolution Iran

A man wanted to buy some soap. He was told to go buy it at the neighborhood mosque.
The man replied, "But the mosque is for praying. So then where are the prayers held?"
He was told, "Prayers are held in the university now."
The man answered, "But universities are for studying. So then where are the teachers and students?"
He was told, "The teachers and students are in prison now."
The man answered, "But prisons are for ruthless criminals. So then where are the criminals?"
He was told "The criminals are in power now."

I honestly cannot understand those who took them a decade or so to realize it is the criminals who held onto power in Iran after 1360 (1980).

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Democratizing Democracy

Low voter turnouts, low levels of trust in public institutions, and low citizen involvement in societal affairs signal diminishing civic engagement and crisis in Western democracies. Democracy, as an instrument to help us most effectively govern ourselves, has become narrowly associated with territorially-based competitive regular elections. This main mechanism of political representation seems incompatible with the ideals of democratic politics such as reaching political consensus through dialogue, promoting active political involvement of citizens and crafting public policies that create healthy societies. This problem would prevail forever unless our so called "democracy" embraces a more integrated approach in how it sees and understands life.
Life is a whole; therefore, its problems should be addressed in its wholeness. This is a paradigm that Oriental traditions could lend to the atomizing Western rationality; an approach to recognize the interconnected nature of being. This approach rejects any early division of life to spheres of polity, society and economy and division of labour to state and civil society as the elements of a secular mode to govern people and plan for their betterment.
If our democracy would like to victoriously surpass the existing challenges, it should see society as politics and politics as social, it should embrace economy as a social realm and society as embedded in the political grounds of economy