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Claire Héber-Suffin – founder of RERS
President of Honor of Open Recognition Alliance
Are recognition badges just tools? Is the process they induce a fair tool? The right tool, according to Ivan Illich has three characteristics: “It is efficient without degrading personal autonomy; it raises neither slaves nor masters; it broadens the scope of personal action.
- The right tool is efficient without degrading personal autonomy
Are the recognition badges and the process in which they are inscribed efficient? It is first of all the sharing of your experiences and a good knowledge of their effects that will really answer this question. This sharing is necessary!
When we know the importance for each of us of the need for recognition to learn, to connect, to contribute to common projects, we can assume that a tool like yours, promoting, building and enhancing recognition is “to be recognized” and to better “know” in its efficiency.
Why can we already assume that it is effective at the lowest cost? No doubt because the recognition you offer, constructed, realistic, precise and positive, is an intelligent invitation and a powerful incentive to the person’s involvement in the path that she has undertaken to follow, be it in the realm of learning, of the concretisation of her learning in personal or common projects or even better handling of your own professional or personal journey.
This makes it a tool that not only does not degrade personal autonomy but builds it: “everyone” decides what he wants to learn, experiment, connect, analyze, recognize and see recognized. And this is the very thing that is recognized, the power of decision, action and understanding of each.
- The right tool raises neither slaves nor masters.
In other words, it does not give rise to submission or domination. This recognition that promotes your approach is emancipatory compared to integrated social hierarchies. Everyone can receive it and that does not detract from others! It does not enter into an economy of scarcity (the one that justifies wanting recognition “for oneself and not for others”) but in an economy of abundance: provided you are very rigorous about the method and its use, the more badges will be distributed to diversify the objects of recognition, the more they will gain value.
We can even say more: the one who offers this recognition to another is thus “recognized” as a bearer of the possibility, the capacity and the desire to recognize others. He is also gratified.
That is why it is interesting to go beyond this simple reciprocity where the proposer and recipient benefit from the recognition attributed to a more complex reciprocity, where each person can be the one who proposes and the one who receives these badges of recognition, where each organization can be the one who attributes and the one who benefits from these badges in the case of collective badges.
Let us add that, if there is no hierarchy of badges and their contents, they are firstly, for the person as for society, signs of the movement of people. This avoids the risk of arrogance or humiliation sometimes linked to the social hierarchy of diplomas.
Badges, while keeping an eye on the ethics that underpin them, are not only unlikely to create dominance or submission, but they may allow people to distance themselves from representations of hierarchies, social and cultural And so to establish parity.
- The right tool expands the personal sphere of action
The recognition embodied in your project expands the scope of personal action because of its multiple dimensions.
- The recognition received confirms learning, knowledge, skills, experiences. It secures, strengthens and values.
- The person who receives it is “renamed” by this recognition, which strengthens its capacity, its ability and its desire to go to other people knowing something else and other than it, to other fields of knowledge and skills, to other training, action and creation paths.
- Through the development of the badge, this recognition allows to better know oneself, opens or opens the social, cultural and relational fields again.
- It is one of the elements that makes it possible to be recognized by others. Closer to each other because at the same time radically different, singular, unique and yet of the same humanity. And “like” every other human: who needs recognition as well as meaning, justice and affection!
One could say more: your tool is right when and because it expands the collective field of action. Everyone recognizes and knows better how it can be “expected” by others, by collectives, for works and collective projects. Understanding better how he can enroll, he can better, in turn, recognize the strength and interest of cooperating collectives, grateful environments, to carry out projects and works.
About the RERS
Created in Orly in 1971 by Claire and Marc Héber-Suffrin, the Reciprocal Knowledge Exchange Networks (RERS) are networks of people whose members exchange knowledge and know-how among themselves. The RERS are united within the FORESCO Association (Formations Réciproques Échanges de Savoirs Créations Collective). The FORESCO association is an approved popular education movement and training organization. Since October 2017, it has had national accreditation from educational associations complementary to public education. By 2018, there are several hundred networks in France.