We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK


93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Heterotopia in Networked Learning: Beyond the S...
View graph of relations

« Back

Heterotopia in Networked Learning: Beyond the Shadow Side of Participation in Learning Communities

Research output: Working paper


Publication date2010
Place of publicationLancaster University
PublisherThe Department of Management Learning and Leadership
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

NameManagement Learning and Leadership Working Paper Series


As it has evolved, networked learning (NL) has come to emphasise the importance of the collaborative learning aspects and possibilities of online learning. The importance assumed for 'collaboration based' forms of participation within NL has almost become ubiquitous and is frequently seen as an unquestionable good aspect - a utopian view of participation which does not acknowledge the 'shadow side' of participation in learning. In the paper we examine some of the darker sides of collaborative participation which in its extreme manifestations can be experienced as normative and, we suggest, a form of tyranny of the dominant and which instead of having a liberating effect, reinforces a form of oppression and control. We argue this is most likely to be the case in the absence of reflexivity and understanding of different ways and approaches to participation. We go on to suggest an alternative and potentially more productive perspective which, after Foucault, is a heterotopian one. A perspective that acknowledges and assumes disruption and which disturbs our customary notion of ourselves. Participation in heterotopian spaces is disturbing and ambiguous, but it offers a space in which to imagine, to desire and act differently.

Related projects