RE: michal roth's intro; four contradictions and children's play

From: Sophie Alcock (
Date: Thu Sep 23 2004 - 13:19:19 PDT

Yes, thank you Michael and Mike and Steve. Children being playful do seem to grapple with being "in control" when being playful. It is as if agency (group and individual agency) emerges out of the contradictions (including the negotiations) of the play activity and the tensions that children feel in the contradictions sustain their ever-changing activity.

Yes, Michael R This is, at heart, about empowerment (emotional stuff).
I do think young children's word play is particularly interesting when one considers words as expressions and extensions of the body-mind, and as tools for increasing "action potential".
A methodological challenge, yes, and their is a danger in over categorising and getting stuck in the contradictions, so perhaps it's more useful to retain a focus on the goal formation, which is my interpretation, as you hint at Mike.

-----Original Message-----
From: Wolff-Michael Roth []
Sent: Friday, September 24, 2004 3:14 AM
Subject: Re: michal roth's intro; four contradictions and children's

My sense is that when they rise to the concrete during goal formation
and action, they come to be linked to emotions, without which no
decision-making (e.g., Damasio,1999) seems to be possible. Decisions
are made, so Holzkamp, to increase the control I have over my
environment or, in other words, my action potential. This increase is,
in my reading, associated with a higher emotional valence. The
recognition and removal of contradictions therefore is no longer
something abstract but has a real engine... (A contradiction in and of
itself does not move anything, real people do)

On 23-Sep-04, at 7:41 AM, Mike Cole wrote:

> Steve & Sophie-- My guess is that the various kinds of contradictions
> need
> to be treated as abstractions such that in each case one must "rise to
> the
> concrete" in identifying and working with them in specific
> circumstances.
> Methodologically, a huge challenge is to be able to document each of
> these
> aspects of activity which are in play simultaneously. And this is
> especially
> true if one is engaged with the activity system oneself, as in
> intervention
> research wnere the doing seems always to run down the documenting and
> there
> is rarely time/support left over for analysis!
> mike

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