Capitalism And Community Health – What We Can Learn From Indigenous Communities, Part 1 (Tony Ward)

The following is the first  in a two-part installment.

Author’s Note: The late Joe Kincheloe draws our attention to the value that the cultures of the colonised but unbowed indigenous communities have for us in our present world crises. Building upon the work of more than 40 years across indigenous cultural boundaries, this article critically explores precisely what indigenous cosmologies have to offer to us.

“The most odious form of colonisation, and that which has brought with it the greatest pain for the colonised – (is) the colonisation of the mind.” – Frantz Fanon

“Only now, in the Twenty-first Century, are European peoples just starting to appreciate the value of indigenous knowledge(s) about health, medicine, agriculture, philosophy, spirituality, ecology and education.” – Joe Kincheloe

Community Health and Development Under Capitalism

The story of Detroit is a wake-up call for all communities that have relied on industrial development and growth for their wellbeing. The city was hit particularly hard in the 2008 Recession and declared bankruptcy in July 2013. Since then, it has moved to annex workers’ pension funds, to cut services (including municipal water supply) and to sell public artworks. Detroit’s population has declined from a peak of 1.8 million in 1950. The New York Times called the city “home to 700,000 people, as well as to tens of thousands of abandoned buildings, vacant lots and unlit streets.”

The story of Detroit is not unique, but is being played out around the world. Stock markets are thriving even as the economy is barely growing, and unemployment remains stubbornly high. The split and poverty gap between workers and the companies that employ them is widening. With millions still out of work, companies face little pressure to raise salaries, while productivity gains allow them to increase sales without adding workers.

The story of Detroit is the story of the failure of community health and development under capitalism, played out on a global scale. The fact is, we are not going to pull out of this recession by doing what we did in the past.

In their ground-breaking analysis, The Race Against the MachineErik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee (2011) compare the recent economic recession with others (including the 1929-1940 Great Depression), all of which eventually led to recovery and full employment. They suggest that unlike these other recessions, this latest one has been different, and that that full employment is a thing of the past. Their studies show that computing and automation are outpacing manufacturing job creation at every level of the industrial process – including previously sacrosanct white-collar occupations and professions like law and accountancy. Capitalism, in the old sense, is collapsing.

Almost any work activity can now (or will soon be able to be) replaced by a machine or a piece of software. Given this increasingly rapid shift, large sections of the workforce are being rendered unemployable as more and more qualified people search for fewer and fewer skilled jobs. In the USA, the number of printing machine operators, was nearly halved from 2007 to 2009, and the number of people employed as travel agents fell by almost half. Automatic checkouts have begun to replace sales people in supermarkets, and electricity and water meter readers find themselves redundant.

The same dynamics are operating in worldwide. We continually hear stories of highly-qualified graduates with Bachelor, Master’s or even Ph.D. degrees (and big student loans) doing menial work in low pay or choosing to go overseas for work. Particularly vulnerable are those middle-aged and skilled individuals who are unable to retrain or re-educate themselves for a new role, and young people lacking an education in creative entrepreneurial skills.

The trend towards greater efficiency and market economy invariably means that fewer and fewer people will be engaged in industrial production. This means that even if population growth in small towns and regions declines, the pace of technological change will still far outpace our ability to re-employ those made redundant. This trend is already noticeable, with major employers (including the Government) shedding unprecedented numbers of workers, in the US, in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Britain, etc. Routine labour is replaceable, and the only hope is in the community-determined economic development and system change.

A bleak prospect indeed, especially for small towns that have always relied on primary industries for their economic survival. But there is a solution. If we can no longer rely on attracting jobs from outside the community, then we have to educate and train our youth with a very different range of skills and values than those that are currently offered by the present education system or by the limited range of activities currently available in the community.

In fact, we need to approach the very issue of community in a different way. We need to build a community capable of nurturing and educating its members, able to network using the resources and skills of the entire community itself and not just its existing school system (which is still locked into the obsolete industrial model of development). We need to acknowledge that we live in a post-industrial age and that we, therefore, need to adjust our image of what kind of society we want and can sustain. More to the point, we also need to educate our youth politically so that they understand the root causes of their difficulties and are trained in the skills of social activism so that they can contribute to system change.

Our current models of community and economic development are based on the false assumption that economic and infrastructure development will naturally lead to community development that is supposed to lead to community health. This means that towns and regions offer “sweeteners” and tax incentives to developers and corporations to bring industrial development and work to communities. But the communities themselves suffer doubly under this system.

First, they must bear the cost of the incentives being offered. Then they must accept the loss of profits that are moved off to remote shareholders, often overseas, robbing the community of vital economic resources. The consequence for small towns and beleaguered cities is a loss of economic sustainability, elimination of services and consequent increases in unemployment, truancy, academic under-achievement, reductions in family income, family violence, youth suicide etc.

Community health must be made a primary goal and process of economic development, and this means a radical change in policies. It means a radical redefinition of community health to include multiple factors as well as a radical restructuring of community power and self-deterAmination.

Capitalism, Colonialism and Health

The health system in every Western capitalist country exemplifies the processes of commodification, corporate power, alienation and dehumanisation of the community to the status of “patient” consumers – and the effects of so-called “free-market” economics. Education, too, is both a witness and the object of these same forces that have brought every aspect of our lives, and even the survival of the planet to a point of crisis. The driving power behind this corporatisation of health is, of course, the United States where the so-called “Health System” epitomises the ethic of greed and self-interest of the free market.

But “health” in this case is but a metaphor for the corporate takeover of our entire social, cultural an economic world. In resistance to corporatisation of life, communities around the world are developing alternative economic, social and cultural ways to break the linkages to corporate power, to develop and operate their own systems of education, justice and health. Often this resistance is headed by indigenous communities who know first-hand the ravages that colonialism and capitalism have wrought. It is they who are leading the fight to change the system.

This is not so surprising since it is these indigenous communities who are suffering the worst consequences of free-market capitalism, exhibiting the worst instances of drug and alcohol abuse, child and family violence, unemployment, academic failure and youth suicide. More than any, they have been reduced from a state of personal, emotional, intellectual, social, cultural, spiritual and economic health to a state of abject dependency, ill-health and “failure.” Yet despite their extended suffering, their pre-capitalist rationalities have frequently survived colonial oppression and now have much to offer us in the fight against capitalism.

What Can We Learn from Indigenous Communities?

Kincheloe’s recognition of the value of Indigenous knowledge systems to our present reality has emerged only recently, even among the political left, whose vision of pre-colonial indigenous communities as “primitive” and “savage” was shaped and endorsed by Marx himself. He saw capitalism as only a transitory stage in human development – itself subject to the same evolutionary forces that the capitalists themselves used in its defense.

For Marx, the internal contradictions of capitalism would eventually transform it, in its turn, into a new social and economic order. That order, for Marx, was a classless society based not on social hierarchy but on social equality. He based his philosophy on a critical analysis of political economy throughout human history, noting, in the process, the relationship between different forms of civilisation and the mode and relations of production that they exhibited. He noted, along with Engels, that particular egalitarian forms of social relationships had existed extensively before, but that they had been associated with more “primitive” modes of production.

The late British historian, A. J. P. Taylor, has noted how Marx, with an uncustomary lack of reflexivity, abandoned the model of the dialectic (i.e. the structural imperative of constant change) when he posited the development of socialism. While he saw capitalism as a transitory stage, he paradoxically saw socialism as an end state. This has been one of the contributing factors to the failure of the Marxist model to predict the eventual adaptive capacity of capitalism to the changing circumstances of recent history.

According to Marx’s theory, society had moved through three successive epochal “modes of production” from food gathering and hunting, through collective land ownership, agricultural production and stock raising to the “civilised” development of industrial production, which involved a stratified (and therefore conflictive) social structure and the private ownership of property. He (and later Engels in 1979) used the work of the American anthropologist Lewis H. Morgan with the non-hierarchical and egalitarian Iroquois Federation to justify their model of linear human development. Steeped in the evolutionary ethic, Engels saw that the Iroquois federation was doomed to extinction – superseded and shattered by what he saw as the more advanced economic system of capitalism itself.

In abandoning the Iroquois example in toto, because of what he thought of it as historically obsolete and superseded, he failed to recognise in it those elements that could form the foundation for the socialism that he espoused. He and Marx also failed to account for the remarkable cultural resilience of these indigenous communities.

More to the point, Marx’s theory of human development seen as a progressive linear system of productive capacity remains just that – a theory. It defines what we mean by civilisation. A society is defined as civilised because it has a larger and more complex productive capacity than its predecessors. The implication is that a society without a high productive capacity – such as the indigenous cultures that the west has colonised – cannot, by definition, be civilised.

This was the excuse that the western powers used to justify their imperialism. It is also the ideology that Marx inadvertently perpetuates. Our own (capitalist) brand of civilisation has brought the planet to the edge of extinction, but there is no reason to believe that a socialist brand of civilisation that is based upon the same yardstick would not produce the same results, since it is based upon an identical ideology of environmental dominance and resource exploitation.

Seen through an alternative set of parameters, we might otherwise define a civilised society not as one that exhibits a highly developed productive capacity but as one that exhibits:

  • Care for the environment
  • Care for the most vulnerable members, (children, elderly, disabled)
  • Equality of resource distribution
  • Willingness and ability to negotiate peaceful reconciliations
  • Openness to encounters with different communities
  • Capacity for empathy, compassion, forgiveness, understanding
  • Ability to co-operate and collaborate
  • An ethic of giving, rather than taking, and a high regard for reciprocity

These are all qualities that are held in high esteem by most indigenous communities whose cultures we have attempted unsuccessfully to eradicate, and they are, perhaps, the only values that are capable of either addressing the global crises that we face OR leading to the creation of a socialist system.

The Destruction of Indigenous Health

When European explorers first encountered the indigenous peoples of the New World, Canada, Pacifica and Australasia, they found a people in remarkable physical and mental health, living in harmony with their environment and with coherent, stable and useful spiritual, political and social systems. There was no child or family violence, no ethic of punishment, no prisons and no guilt. Social relations were conducted in an aura of respect, personal autonomy and sovereignty and an ethic of reciprocity and generosity.

Early contact reports with the Iroquois (such as LafitauMorgan, or Ward), Lakota (Allen, or Crow Dog and Erdoes), Canadian First Nations (Daschuk), the Montagnais (Leacock), the Aché (Clastres), the Melanesians (Malinowski), the Tahitians (Beaglehole,) and the Māori (PolackAngasShortlandSwainsonMoorhead, or Salmond) all indicate that at first encounter, these cultures lived lives exhibiting gender equality unimaginable to their European visitors and an almost complete lack of intimate relationship violence or of any punishment ethic with respect to their children. Within less than two generations, all of that had changed, and indigenous people now top the list in all of the negative social statistics – poverty, ill health, crime, mental illness, dependency, alcoholism and drug abuse, family violence, obesity and self-harm.

This did not just “happen.” Indigenous health did not just “decline” over this period. Indigenous well-being was destroyed by a process of colonisation that was driven by a greed for ever-increasing shareholder profit – by capitalism. Capitalism was the engine of colonialism. Its intent was to destroy indigenous cultures, to appropriate their resources and to turn them into consumers for private colonial shareholder profit.

This process (colonialism) did not end in the 1960s with what we have come to know as postcolonialism,according to Robert J.C. Young, but continues through corporate global capitalism to privatise and plunder not just the collective resources of the world’s indigenous communities, but the global “commons” as a whole. It continues in the destruction of natural habitats, in the theft and patenting of traditional indigenous remedies and failed “free market” ideology that is still promoted along with the deceitful “trickle down” theory that widens economic inequalities and plunges countless millions into destitution. The process was (and still is) universal and systematic and can be catalogued. It included:

  • The displacement of communities and the theft of resources, land and raw material (gold, spices, oil) to increase corporate profits
  • The fragmentation of indigenous social structures (extended families, clans etc) and the imposition of Western nuclear (and patriarchal) family structures.
  • The destruction of barter systems and the imposition of cash economies
  • The creation of scarcity to maintain competition for low cost jobs
  • The creation of economic dependency to establish a pool of labour
  • The imposition and control of “civilising” compulsory Eurocentric education featuring colonial (racist) rationalities.
  • The eradication of native languages, cultural traditions and practices
  • Through Christianity, the imposition of an ethic of punishment, guilt and incarceration
  • The replacement of indigenous constitutional forms and structures with Western models
  • The eradication and/or assimilation of all indigenous cultural practices
  • The displacement of indigenous cosmologies and the imposition of Western technical rationality
  • The criminalisation of indigenous political and spiritual leaders
  • The “bio-prospecting,” privatization, commodification and patenting of indigenous knowledge systems.
  • The destruction of holistic models of existence and their replacement with commodified materialist models

Epistemic Commodification of the Person

Key to the entire colonial project from first-contact down to the present was the racist belief in the superiority of European epistemologies that emerged with the Enlightenment. These were forcefully imposed upon indigenous peoples from the beginning. The biomedical model of human health that lies behind our modern health industry is specific to and grew alongside colonial western capitalist culture, through the Enlightenment philosophies of René Decartes (1596-1650) and Carolus Linnaeus, the 18th Century taxonomist whose Systema Naturæ (1735) divided nature into three kingdoms: mineral, vegetable and animal. Linnaeus used five ranks: class, order, genus, species, and variety to classify all the objects in his world. His method is still used to scientifically name every species.

Significantly (and in contrast to the indigenous cosmology), Linnaeus’ schema separates and isolates our own species homo sapiens from the rest of the natural world and places us at the top of the “tree of life” where we are free to exploit all that exists on the lower branches. In addition, of course, eugenics and other theories of racial superiority were developed as offshoots of the Linnaean hierarchy and were used as a justification for colonial oppression, enslavement and exploitation.

The combination of Linneas’ taxonomy and Darwinian theories of evolution, coupled with the virulent ideology of capitalism and Judaic/Christian fundamentalism led almost inevitably to an ideology that saw homo sapiens sitting at the pinnacle of and separate from the rest of the biological world and having an implicit dominion over it. This reductionist view of the world developed alongside the industrial revolution with biology being seen through the same mechanistic lens as the parallel development of physical science. Biological systems – including that of human biology – were seen as simple machines.

While this may all seem innocent enough at first glance, there lurks behind the metaphorical mask a deadly reality. Given our current interest in the development of genetically engineered organisms – from crops to this 1960s illustration of hypothetical redesign of woman/motherhood may not be so far-fetched. Seen as the functioning of its (mechanistic) parts, her body is a breeding machine with a marsupial pouch for ease of child-bearing and multiple breasts to feed larger “litters.”

Using this mechanistic bio-medical model, disease is characterised as a malfunctioning of biological mechanisms that are studied from the point of view of cellular and molecular biology; the physician’s role is to intervene, either physically or chemically, to correct the malfunctioning of a specific mechanism. The process is seen as essentially curative, where the doctor-mechanic is the active participant upon a passive recipient who patient-ly awaits a cure. The prime purpose of the model is the accumulation of capital through the saleof mechanical/medical services. It is a direct result of the capitalist economic system within which it operates.

The Enlightenment tendency to taxonomise everything extended also into the specialisation of the disciplines, including medicine, where all of the previously unified aspects of health – the physical, the spiritual, the emotional and the mental, were now treated as separate spheres of knowledge, each further broken down into smaller and smaller specialist niche market-components (Paediatrics, Geriatrics, Gynaecology, Oncology etc. within the physical realm, and Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychotherapy etc. in the mental realm). The spiritualrealm was expunged completely from the model.

In the realm of the psyche, the proliferation of sub-disciplines or practices has been staggering and with each new sphere of practice, the scale and extent of diagnosis has increased exponentially. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (better known as the DSM-IV) covers all mental health disorders for both children and adults. It also lists known causes of these disorders, statistics in terms of gender, age at onset, and prognosis as well as some research concerning the optimal treatment approaches.

Each form of practice – Freudian Psychiatry, Jungian Analytical Psychology, Adlerian Analysis, Rogerian non-interventionism, Psychotherapy of numerous sorts, Transactional Analysis, Gestalt Therapy, Neurolinguistics, Hypnotherapy, and, more recently, Poststructuralist Psychoanalysis (read “subjects” rather than “patients”) – supports its own small market/industry, each with its own practitioners all swearing that their form of intervention is the most effectiveYet despite all of this hoopla, it appears that there is very little measurable difference in effect between any of them, as noted by Stiles et. al.

The proliferation of these many different forms seems to operate instead not as a response to therapeutic needbut to marketplace conditions – from the need to have a distinguishable brand of therapy. The parallel proliferation in diagnostics and mental disorders as defined by DSM-IV may be similarly market-driven. Some theorists, such as SaszHillman, or Cooper, have suggested that the entire realm of psychotherapies constitutes a grand myth, that serves the needs of the therapist rather than the therapee. R.D. Laing makes a direct connection between psychiatric diagnostic theories and practices in the creation of “abnormality,” the repression of “unacceptable” behaviours and the development of markets in the political context of a world driven by capitalist ideology.

There is reason to be concerned, for instance, that the diagnosis of Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) – “negativistic, defiant, disobedient and hostile behavior toward authority figures,” or “over-creativity” (also included in the Manual) will be used to suppress legitimate challenges to the political status quo. As the Washington Post noted, “if 7-year-old Mozart tried composing his concertos today, he might be diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and medicated into barren normality.”

What better indication could there be of the extent to which mental health has been penetrated and colonised by rampant technical rationality! I am reminded of the wonderful and countervailing diagnostic definition of sanity by Laing that redresses the authoritarian emphasis of prevailing diagnostics, when he describes sanity or psychosis as the degree of conjunction or disjunction between two persons where the one of them is sane by mutual consent.

The overall field of health has developed in a similar way, as the basis for prolific profiteering that has progressed alongside worldwide increases in poverty, hunger and malnutrition, infant mortality, homelessness and massive disparities in wealth and community well-being.

The New Patient – Homo Economicus

With the (corporately-driven) introduction of user-pays and free-market ideologies from the 1980s to the present, these disparities have increased exponentially. The results have been felt most by those at the lower end of the economic scale where people must choose between food and medicine, as noted by Scutti. The real beneficiaries have been the medical, insurance and pharmaceutical industries. The latter makes huge profits on a model of health that in many ways has been counter-therapeutic.

The 20 largest pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the world amassed profits in excess of $110 Billion in 2007, with an average net income of $5 billion each. In 2008, the top 15 had a combined sales income of $358 Billion, according to Bain & Company. Given these staggering amounts of money, it is not surprising that these companies spend millions promoting a model of health that demonstrates a need for their product.

In the US alone, they promote this model, through advertising, marketing and lobbying (to influence political decision-makers) to the tune of $19 billion a year. Smith and Birnbaum report that annually, the 1,274 registered drug lobbyists in Washington DC spend approximately $150 million seeking to steer healthcare legislation their way. They are now (2014) attempting to extend the scale and range of their influence through the imposition of the (secretly negotiated) Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) that would override national sovereignties and allow them unchallengeable rights to sue governments who seek to restrict or temper the sale of their commodities. In Australia, the tobacco corporation Philip Morris Asia is challenging plain-packaging legislation under the 1993 Agreement between the Government and the Government of Hong Kong for the Promotion and Protection of its Investments.

Since the US health insurance industry also exercises enormous power and influence in which drugs are prescribed, and since they too rake in extraordinary profits from the health care system, there is little wonder that in Obama’s attempt to reform the system, the health insurance lobby spent more than $1.4 million a day to ensure that public health care remained off the agenda and that their profits remained safe, reported Eggen and Kindy. The success of their campaign is demonstrated by the fact that not only did Obama’s public system fail to pass a bipartisan vote, but that the result of legislation was that every citizen is now legally required to have health insurance. The insurance companies must have laughed all the way to the bank.

In 2009, the year when the healthcare legislation debate was at its height, the five largest US health insurance companies set new profit records, while at the same time the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression sent millions of Americans onto the unemployment line and into poverty. The US non-profit, Healthcare for America Now, has revealed that in 2009, five firms reported $12.2 billion in profits, an increase of $4.4 billion, or 56 percent, over 2008. At the same time, 2.7 million Americans who had been enrolled in private health plans the year before lost their coverage.

These increased profits come from exploitation of the mostly poor through legislation and Federal programmes supporting a phenomenal increase in the prescribing of psychotropic drugs. To cite but one telling example, we might look at the diagnosis and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Worldwide, the manufacture and prescribing of drugs such as Ritalin has increased 1000% over a ten-year period, according to Strebel.

Through over-prescription in US schools, ADHD medications are now used as a primary form of classroom management and student control, noted by Koerth-Baker and Pierce. The (mostly male) children are now diagnosed and medicated for “medical conditions” that might more properly be attributable to the hunger, poor diet, boredom or repetitive classroom drudgery, lack of healthy activity-outlets, enforced inactivity, suppression of creative curiosity, an isolation from risk that characterises much of American school life.

Numerous researchers have pointed to the role of food colourings and food additives in the production of ADHD symptoms, yet we continue to blame and medicate the child but forgive and reproduce the system and the society to which the child may be responding while at the same time falling prey to and supporting a drug and medical industry that is making billions from our children’s suffering. It seems clear, then, that the market system of health has become big business that operates and grows through the exploitation of its social, cultural, spiritual and economic environment.

Community Health – A Critical Perspective

The Western health system is unhealthy. It promotes a programme of diagnosis and treatment that may provide successful medical care on an individual case-by-case basis for the rich, but that fails miserably to provide good health at the community let alone the global level. In fact, the medical system causes community ill-health by creating an ethos of disempowerment and dependency (good for profits!) – all due to its sole focus on shareholder returns, and this tendency has increased substantially with globalisation.

The reduction of the status of the individual to that of a mere consumer (medical or otherwise) brings with it a sense of profound alienation. This analysis is not new. Critical theorists have noted this for almost a century. From Marx, through TawneyFrommMumford to Berman, writers have noted the impact of modernisationupon the collective consciousness of the community.

Tawney’s work, “The Sickness of an Acquisitive Society,” suggested that social well-being may have other than a statistical basis, as theorised by Durkheim and later ParsonsMumford cited the condition of modern man as one of increasing passivity and quiescence in which all sense of personal creativity, risk-taking and non-conformity were being expunged, leaving only two groups of people – the conditioners and the conditioned.

Mumford is pointing to the condition of alienation – a condition which leads, without any internal contradiction, to the conclusion that it is possible for an entire society to be unwell, challenging the very notion of what we mean by “health.” Seen in these terms, wellness is measured and characterised by the ability to create, maintain, repair and develop balanced, wholesome relationships – a meaning very close to that held by indigenous communities.

Accordingly, a “healthy” human being is one who is active, self-directed, risk-taking and spontaneous, but also one who experiences love, empathy and compassion for his or her fellow beings. Sadly, consumer-driven individualistic and competitive free-market capitalism seems to have diminished our collective capacity for these qualities. The “me” generation of the 1980s may have been the watershed.

This distinction is one that has been given a particularly sharp focus by the critical psychologist Erich Fromm who noted the emergence of a state of what he called “consensual validation” between the members of a society who naïvely assume that the fact that the majority of them share certain ideals or feelings proves the validity of these ideals or feelings. On the contrary, he suggested that consensual validation has no bearing whatsoever on reason or mental health – that millions of people sharing the same vices does not make these vices virtues, or their errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same forms of mental pathology does not make them sane.

Indeed, picking up on the same theme as Mumford, Fromm goes on to note that in any given society, it follows that a pathological condition may be the norm, and that in such circumstances, the pathology expressed as personal defects may be invisible to its individual members (23). A person who “fits into” such a pathological culture will be unaware of any defect and will not run the risk of having it revealed and becoming an “outcast.” Indeed, in such a society, the outcast will be the one who expresses spontaneous feelings of love, compassion and an ability for autonomous action.

Glasgwegian psychiatrist, Laing, summed this state up when he noted that the condition of alienation, of being unconscious, of being “out of one’s mind” is the condition of the normal man. He calculated that: “normal men have killed perhaps 100,000,000 of their fellow normal men in the last fifty years” (24).

Comments such as this turn the entire categories of normality and health on their heads. So when, as Joe Kincheloe suggests, we seek to learn from indigenous cultures how to heal our sick society, we should realise that what is involved is not a simple and further appropriation of their techniques, remedies and practices, but a going back to basics – to the grass/flax root level of human relationships – rebuilding from the ground up an anti-capitalist world of mutual support and trust in which we take responsibility for our own world, rather than to entrust it to the politicians and the corporations who control the market economy of health.

Tony Ward is Lecturer in Education at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, New Zealand. He was
Distinguished Visiting Professor in Education, Psychology and Architecture, at Miami University in Ohio from 2009-10 and Associate Professor of Education at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, New Zealand from 2000-2006.  Director of Programme Development at Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi, New Zealand 2000-2006. He was a practicing architect in Britain, the USA and New Zealand until 2005.

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