Stability and transformation in configurations of activity: the case of school teaching in France and Mexico

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The present article examines the social and cultural dimension of activity, which we propose to call configuration, in reference to Elias’ works. These configurations are characterized by: (1) stability (they do not change a lot); (2) security (for the teacher who can rely on school habits); (3) invisibility (teachers are not aware of them); (4) incorporation (they are culturally inherited); (5) community share (they are common to most teachers around the world). We illustrate these characteristics in two different contexts, each one taken in primary school: in France, in a classroom where the teacher uses a work by contract (seatwork); and in Mexico in a context of reform of the curriculum. These configurations are, simultaneously, conditions of formal learning and objects, which must be informally learned; in spite of their permanency, we try to investigate the conditions of possibility of configuration transformation: lifelong learning is one of these conditions.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Toulouse, France 2: University of Montréal, Canada

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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