Chapter 6: Characterizations and Conversations for Moving Forward

This essay was originally named “Characterizations”.  It was recently rewritten for Pluralistic Networks where the theme of “conversations for moving forward” came to the foreground in discussions between Javiera, Maria and Gloria Flores.

Distinguishing between assessments and assertions and using the latter to develop well grounded assessments is an essential capacity that, in the digital era, is needed more than ever. For more than 20 years, this document has been an indispensable tool for many individuals and organization.

We tend to forget that a characterization is a conversation. To identify someone as intelligent, lazy, etc. is not really to identify permanent features of his or her personality. These “features” are not real; they only exist in conversation. The danger of characterization is that assuming it is real may limit our possibilities.
The second point is that characterizations can locate areas for dealing with breakdowns that occur repeatedly. We can use them to develop concrete opportunities for ourselves.

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