Readings Surveying for collective learnings into ressources

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Revision as of 15:24, 24 February 2020 by XavCC (Talk | contribs) (Duration: add text)

Surveying (Arpentage in french) is a method of discovery of a work by several people, with a view to its critical appropriation, to nourish the articulation between practice and theory.

This method can be used on law books, theories, tutorials, wiki pages.

While it can be difficult or boring to bear the burden of reading, studying and understanding written resources - which can reinforce a situation or feeling of isolation - surveying provides a collective dynamic for appropriating knowledge. A method that can be deployed in safe/brave spaces.


Method of collective reading coming from the working class culture (working class circle) in XIXe century to read books known to be difficult to read and then reused by practitioners of mental training during the Second World War by resistance fighters ( Joffrey Dumazedier), more widely disseminated by Peuple et Culture, popular education movement, from the 1950s.

Its goal is to achieve, in a limited time (2 - 6 hours), to "brush" a work by pooling the knowledge, experiences and intuitions of the participants.

Readings surveying is about raising collective and political issues.

Surveying, which refers to the action verb "to survey", consists first of all of appropriating space, of being in action. The people walk through the room or an outside place and get to know each other before starting to read, To plant their « ice axes » in knowledge that becomes available to them.


  • Desacralize the object text or book or wiki page or whatever felt as hard to understand, popularize reading
  • Spread an effort over several motivated and determined people
  • Experience cooperative and critical work
  • Facilitate understanding by a heterogeneous group
  • Create a common culture around a subject, a theoretical and/or technical knowledge
  • Understand that no knowledge is neutral, that all points of view are situated in a political field
  • Put participants in capacity:
    • to reflect individually on collective reflections;
    • to share knowledge, ideas and insights;
    • to approach reading in a singular form: collective and partial.


Equipment and needs

  • Two or three copies of the chosen work,
  • Large sheets of paper, pens, markers, simple papers for notes
  • Copies of the cover, the table or index and the image attached to the book if it is not on the cover (e.g. back cover).
  • Scissors or knife
  • A place where people feel safe end free to be themself

Number of participants

from 4 to 20 people?

Remember never to overcrowd a space at the risk of creating bad feeling for those present.


Depending on the size of the text or content to be surveyed, allow between 2 and 6 hours.

And especially plan for breaks and breathing times.


Where to use?