Rhizoanalysis. If this term is unfamiliar, don’t resist it; it concerns an important and accessible concept. A common metaphor for analysis is that of a tree: a central stem, roots at one end, and branches at the other, and by tracing the branches and/or digging at the roots, the analyst gets to the heart of the matter. The tree metaphor has served modernist science for several centuries. However, postmodernist inquiries of analysis suggest that there are problems with seeing the wood for the forests. Alongside the development of increasingly complicated information/communication/knowledge regimes and technologies, specific understandings are being recognised as chaotically and complexly involved in ways that are resisting structural analysis. Poststructuralist interpretative metaphors are needed. Rhizome is such a metaphor, as its chaotic and complex form is poststructurally appropriate and generative. Rhizome is to a tree, as the Internet is to a letter. The chaotically complex networkings of stems interconnecting the upshoots of some grasses are rhizomes – nodal networkings that echo the hyper-connectivity of the Internet – whereas a tree, like a letter, is a relatively simple linear connection between two poles.
Research Professor on society, culture, art, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, neuroscience, autopoiesis, self-organization, complexity, systems, networks, rhizomes, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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