The general aim of this project is to study the relation between theory and practice. The project will approach this question through a series of interrelated studies of three major thinkers who have not been given sufficient attention within Human Geography: Gregory Bateson, John Dewey and Félix Guattari. The project will take the form of a series of studies of the sites in which these three thinkers developed their ideas; the hypothesis is that the spatiality in which they worked had pronounced effects on the formulation of their theories. In Guattari’s case this was the clinic of La Borde at Court-Cheverny, for John Dewey the Laboratory School at the University of Chicago, for Gregory Bateson the Veterans Administration Hospital in Palo Alto. The focus will be on:
1) The intellectual history of these specific sites and the importance that they have had for the development of the theoretical ideas as laboratories of experimentation;
2) the notion of different forms of subjectivities in relation to practice and learning by doing (Dewey); to the ecology of mind and the double-bind (Bateson); and to the transversality and milieu (Guattari);
3) how these different milieus or spatialities produce new subjectivities;
4) the formulation of the spatial grammar that the three writers shared; and
5) a study of the spatiality between theory and practice.
Common to these issues are the relation between form and process and the problem of how that relation can be conceptualized with regard to space and time; questions about the different relational techniques of the self and techniques of subjectification, modes of individuation, affective registers and communities of practice.