How Reflexive Reading Came To Be


The concept came to be formalised while conducting a PhD at Information School at University of Sheffield. Originally, the PhD was focussed on social dynamics in classrooms, but in order to present the rather minimal intervention proposed, an equivalent intervention needed to be presented to the readers of the PhD submission itself.

The practice has roots in audio experiments (jaxing) and textual experiment (textango) where the future-orientated presence of the listener or reader is acknowledged. Reading or listening becomes aligned, non-critical and manifests greater social cohesion.


Academic Treatment


This Confirmation Report presents a methodological thesis which aims to help reduce the practice-theory gap. The social dynamics within secondary school classrooms are complex. The fragmented knowledge of academia is complicated. Combined, these constitute a ‘wicked system’ (Andersson 2014, 2018). Systemic problems arise with inter-disciplinarity and the silo problem within academia, and in schools a persistence of institutional discipline amid pernicious ‘low-level disruption’, and between them the increased practice-theory gap because of replication and transference challenges. The problem space is understood as dense reflexive-active environments (Lepskiy 2018b, 2018a, 2015), a formulation of third order cybernetics, and specific and practical interventions are proposed for both schools and academia. In schools, students conduct an intervention to improve social cohesion, ‘ABC State’, based on action-learning (Riel 2010-2020), a variation of participatory action-research (Chevalier & Buckles 2008). Meanwhile academics are invited to conduct an intervention which enables verification, ‘Reflexive Reading’, based on temporal correspondence (Roth 2020, 2018) and ‘before-the-fact’ systemic practice (Shotter 2017, 2009), a concretisation of indivisible event phenomenologists (Whitehead 1919, James 1907, Bakhtin 1993). Collective social states are self-evaluated and self-generated against a spectrum of self-organisation; since results can not be generalised as laws (positivist meta-theory) nor transferred from one context to another (interpretivist meta-theory), a generative mechanism is described (transcendent dialectic critical realist meta-theory). This Report presents how the ‘Dual System’ methodology requires two years to conduct research in schools and consolidate the theoretical basis for ‘Reflexive Reading’. Preparations for generating a mathematical model of this process are explored.

A more flexible approach (left) accompanied the formal submission which was constrained  (right). 

Confirmation Report

“Reflexive Reading is based on Roth’s temporal correspondence and Shotter’s ‘before-the-fact’ systemic practice, a concretisation of indivisible event phenomenology put forward by Whitehead, James, Bakhtin.”

David Pinto & Wendy Lobatto

The Co-Creators of Reflexive Reading


The original instance arose during the writing and reading of a book by David and Wendy entitled ‘WISDOM, A Conversational Tango’. David would write a section over a few days, and then Wendy would read it; he would then interweave her comments into the next section. Because they were living in different countries at the time, they conducted the reading online together which gave David the opportunity to witness Wendy’s actual reading experience. He noticed that sometimes her eyes would retrace the text, rapidly because of a spelling or grammatical mistake, but sometimes it involved a ‘re-reading’ indicating something more significant, a recomposition of meaning. At this point he would interject and ask what had happened, and quite often Wendy might say she had misread something, though it would also be interesting to pursue Wendy’s alternative line of thought; if was often these alternatives which were pursued and interwoven in following sections of writing. In this way, the book was read and written, and the writing became more attentive to the reading.

The notion was not fully explored in the book, but it benefits from a less academic environment and involves a less western-bias.