Fwd: [ISCAR] Newsletter, Vol. 2., No. 3

From: Peter Smagorinsky (smago@coe.uga.edu)
Date: Fri Oct 22 2004 - 03:15:26 PDT

> ISCAR News
> International Society for Cultural and Activity Research
>Vol. 2, No. 3 October 2004
>1. Report on the ISCAR Regional Conference at the University of
>Wollongong, Australia
>2. Report on the 3rd Nordic Conference on Cultural and Activity
>Research in Copenhagen
>3. Obituary of Alexei Alexeevich Leontiev
>4. New Fax Number
>5. Publication opportunities in French electronic journal on activity
>6. First ISCAR Congress, 20-24 September 2005, Sevilla
>Institute for Educational Research, University of Oslo, Norway, 25-27,
>November 2004
>8. New Books from ISCAR members
>You are welcome to submit news items to: news@iscar.org
>Send email and postal address changes to: new-address@iscar.org
>Copies of previous newsletters available from: news@iscar.org
>1. Report on the ISCAR Regional Conference at the University of Wollongong,
>The first regional ISCAR Conference for Australia, New Zealand
>and South Africa was held on July 12-13, 2004 at the University
>Wollongong, Australia. It was jointly hosted by the Faculties of
>Education and Commerce and entitled "Application of Activity
>Theory to Education, Information Systems and Business". The main
>keynote speakers were ISCAR President, Dr. Seth Chaiklin,
>together with Professor Mariane Hedegaard from the University of
>Copenhagen, Denmark and Professor David Jonassen, the University
>of Missouri, Columbia, U.S.A. The conference was Co-Chaired by
>Dr. Irina Verenikina (Education) and Associate Professor Helen
>Hasan (Commerce).
>Participants were impressed by the quality of the keynote
>addresses. The conference was opened by Professor David Jonassen
>who talked about "Collaborative Problem Solving as Activity
>Systems". The second day started with a keynote given by
>Professor Mariane Hedegaard, who explored the cultural-historical
>approach to the study of "Youth Conceptions of Their Own
>Placement and Contribution to Society". Her presentation sparkled
>such an interest that the discussion had to be continued during
>morning tea. The conference was wrapped up by Seth's discussion
>of the "Past, Present and Future of Activity Theory".
>The main aim of the conference was to encourage discussion,
>communication and cooperation between researchers in the
>multidisciplinary field of socio-cultural research in the two
>areas of study: commerce and education (as reflected in the title
>of the conference). The conference strengthened the cooperative
>networks of researchers that already existed between many
>participants, despite diversity of location and focus, although
>some of the participating researchers became aware of each other
>for the first time at this meeting.
>Forty participants attended from across the region, including
>most the states of Australia as well as South Africa and New
>Zealand. Seventeen papers were presented. Topics covered by the
>papers in the commerce strand were mainly related to the
>applications of Activity Theory to the use of information and
>communication technologies in business. They included studies of
>work in organizations (e.g. "Exploring Virtual Enterprises Using
>Activity Theory"), computer-mediated communication (e.g.
>"Activity Support With Mobile Technology"), web-based marketing
>(e.g. "An Activity Theory Approach To Brand Marketing") as well
>as knowledge management and usability testing.
>The papers presented by researchers in education included topics
>such as collaborative learning activities, communities of
>learners, scaffolding, socio-cultural approach to language
>development and the role of families in children's education.
>Feedback from all who attended indicated that it was an
>informative and worthwhile event, unique in the way it brought
>together a diverse group of people with a common interest in the
>socio-cultural and activity theory research approaches. There was
>a wish to continue regional ISCAR conferences on a regular basis.
>A suggestion was that Australian Universities might take turn in
>hosting the conference. The discussion about when and where the
>next meeting might be held is in progress.
>2. Report on the 3rd Nordic Conference on Cultural and Activity Research in
>The Third Nordic Conference for Cultural and Activity Research
>was held on 3-5 September 2004 in Copenhagen, Denmark. About 90
>people presented papers or participated in panel discussions in
>25 different sessions. The program included many different topics
>and themes, showing the diversity of interests found within the
>Nordic countries. Some of the specific practices that were the
>focus of presentations included children's play, design and use
>of information technology in diverse work practices (including
>health care and distance education), social pedagogical
>interventions, learning to be a schoolteacher and teacher's work.
>Some of the thematic foci found in the papers included learning
>and reasoning processes in a variety of institutional conditions,
>subjectivities and personal trajectories, social construction of
>objects and tasks, and organizational change. There were also
>sessions directed towards more theoretical and methodological
>issues such as the role of culture in cultural-historical theory,
>the use of ethnography in work research, the use of activity
>theory in information systems design, and diverse perspectives on
>action research. The entire conference program is available at:
>About 120 of the 140 conference participants came from the Nordic
>countries (with roughly comparable numbers from Denmark, Finland,
>Norway, and Sweden, and some from Iceland). Most of the remaining
>participants came from the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, with
>single individuals coming from Poland, Spain, and United States.
>During the second day of the conference it was possible to
>organize short "ISCAR section" meetings so that participants from
>Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden could meet briefly.
>Participants from the United Kingdom also organized their own
>ISCAR section meeting. In the case of Denmark and Finland, where
>yearly meetings have already been established, it was possible to
>communicate further about these activities. For colleagues in
>Norway and Sweden, these meetings were particularly important for
>helping to further integration and coordination among researchers
>within these countries, as many were meeting each other for the
>first time. Both countries now hope to start national meetings.
>Several of the countries intend to further develop some of the
>national resources available through the ISCAR website.
>The next Nordic conference is scheduled for 2007. The idea is to
>hold the Nordic conference one year before ISCAR's international
>Congress. In part this gives PhD students an opportunity to
>present their work in English in preparation for this Congress.
>In the final session of the conference, a review was made of the
>program structure, and many participants agreed that it would be
>beneficial in the future to try to organize sessions that allowed
>more time for dialogue and debate, rather than to always
>reproduce the typical conference structure with longer
>presentations and little time for questions and discussion.
>Finally, there was a positive sense that this conference has
>contributed to building and maintaining a dialogue among Nordic
>researchers in the theoretical traditions found within ISCAR,
>whilst establishing many new links and better integration of
>professional networks in the Nordic countries. This regional
>community serves to provide an opportunity to communicate with
>researchers who are working in relation to similar historical and
>cultural conditions.
>3. Obituary of Alexei Alexeevich Leontiev
>On the 12th of August, 2004 Professor Alexei Alexeevich Leontiev
>died at age 69. At the time, he was a member of the Russian
>Academy of Education, a Professor of the Psychological Department
>of Moscow State Lomonosov-University and honorary president of
>the Psycholinguistic L.S. Vygotsky Society. His work (an
>extensive bibliography which amounts to more than 800 titles) was
>devoted to elaborating the theory of activity formulated by his
>renowned father Alexei Nikolaevich Leontiev. Alexei A. Leontiev
>was a founder of psycholinguistics in USSR and Russia and an
>author of the most important theoretical works in this field. He
>elaborated the theory of speech including the theory of so-called
>"pedagogical communication" and played a part in the development
>of post-soviet education. His last fundamental work was entitled
>"Active mind" ("Deyatel'naei um". Moscow, 2001). He published and
>turned into scientific discussion the works of soviet
>psychologists, in particular those of his father Alexei N.
>Leontiev and some works of L.S. Vygotsky. As a perfect
>philologist he translated poetry of R. M. Rilke, F. Holderlin,
>J.W. Goethe, Th. Wyatt, E. Spenser. We mourn his loss.
>4. New Fax Number
>If you were planning to pay your membership contribution by credit card, and
>you are going to fax the form to the Treasurer, Jaakko Virkkunen, then
>please note that there is now a new fax number that should be used:
>+358 91 914 4578
>More information about paying your membership contribution by credit card
>can be found at http://www.iscar.org/membership.html
>5. A journal on activity theories: www.activites.org
>Need is probably the underlying feeling when starting up a
>scientific journal. This one is not an exception. We are of the
>opinion that there is room for a journal offering a broad scope
>for the background behind human activity, as much for theoretical
>conception as for the stakes present in research into various
>practical and scientific fields. The title of the journal is "
>@CTIVITES ", evocative of the field we have the ambition to
>cover: its goal is to be a hub favoring exchanges, establishing
>legacy, circulating ideas about the theoretical, practical and
>social aspects of human activities, within research and within
>This short presentation of the journal is not the place for an
>in-depth debate about its subject matter. We can, however comment
>on the French speaking context.
>The concept of activity and associated methods emanate, in
>France, from a state of mind and a tradition coming from various
>disciplines: philosophy (M. Blondel), sociology (M. Halbwachs),
>history (L. Febvre), anthropology (L. Levy-Bruhl), and of course,
>psychology: I. Meyerson, and H. Wallon. For the latter in
>particular, activity is a psychological plane, between the
>biological and the social register, where the subjective grasp of
>reality is built and developed. The interest for such a plane of
>analysis was rapidly understood through work on Psychology (Lahy
>& Pacaud carried out considerable research on work activity as
>early as 1936), and in Ergonomics (Ombredane & Faverge, Leplat,
>Wisner or de Montmollin), to seize "real problems" workers meet
>with on the job.
>The conceptual background of activity which has been developed
>within this community, as well as the methods that allow to grasp
>it, deserve to be better circulated and acknowledged than is the
>case today (including the academic milieu in French speaking
>countries). These are also waiting to be developed to come in
>answer to the stakes surrounding today's issues, particularly by
>encouraging exchanges with other activity theories and action
>theories. This is where our primary ambition lies with @CTIVITES.
>Its goal is to be a tool for valorization and circulation, an
>instrument for exchanges and debates within a broader community.
>Let me highlight two types of exchanges that we are particularly
>keen to put forward:
>Exchanges between research and intervention, knowledge and
>action, research and practice, researchers and practitioners,...
>Tensions opposing these positions have been stated and discussed
>in many disciplines and in different ways. A basic argument in
>the editorial policy is that these tensions and contradictions
>are a driving force for the development and the evolution of
>concepts and methods. @CTIVITES has also set itself a mission to
>" maintain a living link between practitioners and
>lecturer-researchers" according to the expression coined by
>Gadbois & Leplat in the first issue. Over and above this
>intention, we are curious to know where these questions stand in
>different countries.
>Exchanges between distinctive notional traditions. As emphasized,
>Activity theories form a rich and fruitful international topic,
>bringing together communities whose traditions are different.
>Amongst others, we turn to works carried out in Nordic countries,
>or the situated approaches on cognition and action. Our wish is
>to sustain the French tradition of analyzing activity, keeping it
>alive and present, enabling it to benefit from debate and enrich
>itself with other traditions developed elsewhere. The second
>issue of the journal (available in September) will focus on this
>very topic featuring a section on "activity and situated action".
>The name given to the journal: "@CTIVITES", underlines the
>electronic nature of this free publication and its mode of
>distribution. Easily accessible in all geographic zones, this
>e-media is also free of financial constraints for readers. A
>comment on the language used (a biblical question!). The journal
>publishes articles in English. However, the common language of
>the journal is French. All articles on line should have a French
>version. But as the electronic format enables the circulation of
>a same article in several languages without increasing publishing
>costs, bilingual articles are more than welcome. Of course,
>assessing an article can be carried out from the English version,
>the French version being provided for publication on line.
>Guidelines for authors preparing to write for the journal can be
>found on line, the purpose being to give clear instructions
>regarding editorial policy. We hope that members of ISCAR will
>find this journal of interest, and will acknowledge our efforts
>by putting forward a selection of their works.
>Pascal Béguin
>Executive Editor
>6. FIRST ISCAR CONGRESS SEVILLA 20-24th September 2005
>The program committee invites researches to send proposals that
>correspond to one of the congress themes.
>A proposal can be submitted for:
> - a paper that corresponds to one of the congress themes or subthemes.
> - a poster that corresponds to one of the (sub)themes of the congress.
> - a symposium that corresponds to one of the (sub) themes of the
>All papers will be organised in symposium sessions.
>All paper proposals must include: 1) title of paper, 2) author´s
>name, 3) mailing address, 4) e-mail address, 5) a 400-500 word
>summary (max), 6) a reference to one of the congress
>All symposium proposals must include: 1) title of symposium, and
>a indication of the format chosen 2) title of papers, 3) name and
>address information (mail addresses and e-mail) of organizers and
>participants, 4) a 400-500 word summary (max) of each paper, and
>5) a 250 word description (max) of the theme of the symposium
>clarifying the relation of the symposium to the congress theme or
>to one of its subthemes.
>All singular poster proposals must include: 1) title of poster,
>2) author´s name, 3) mailing address, 4) e-mail address, 5) a
>400-500 word summary (max).
>Proposals must be submitted by e-mail and sent to:
>The discussions of the congress will be thematically related as
>much as possible. In the website of the congress
>(www.us.es/glabahum/ISCAR2005) you have a list of main issues
>that may be discussed during the congress. Participants should
>focus theirs presentations on one of these subthemes.
>For symposium, paper and poster proposals: 10 January, 2005
>Notification of acceptance/rejection: 15 March, 2005
>Final digital versions of summaries: 7 April, 2005
>Deadline for early registration: 15 May 2005
>Final day for cancellation with refund (minus handling charges
>for both registration and hotel reservation): 15 July, 2005
>Conference days: 20-24 September, 2005.
>In the website there is an advance of the program, including
>keynote speakers and invited symposium. The keynote speakers
>scheduled are:
> a. Jerome Bruner. President of Honour
> b. The Politics of Identity and Agency: Trafficking of Girls and Women in
>Nepal - Mary Crawford
> c. Models of individual functioning - Paul Goudena
> d. A Cultural-Historical tradition of child development - Mariane
> e. ¿Cuántas especies humanas inteligentes han existido? La evidencia de
>Atapuerca - Ignacio Martínez
> f. Who is Psyche? A reflection on the subject of Psychology - Alberto
> g. Voices of collective remembering - J.V. Wertsch
>Institute for Educational Research, University of Oslo
>Oslo, Norway, 25-27. November 2004
>Modern societies are increasingly dependent on the professions.
>Their knowledge and decisions influence all facets of modern life
>and contribute to frame most of what we do. Yet, we know
>surprisingly little about how professionals acquire knowledge,
>make decisions: In short, how they learn. The aim of the
>conference is to explore this issue.
>The rapid institutional and cultural shifts characteristic of
>modern society challenge the embeddedness of individuals in
>professional communities and transform their learning process. In
>this context, traditional theories of learning are contested and
>questions related to identity formation, motivation, and
>belonging are brought to the fore. Also debates within the
>research community itself have contributed a renewed interest in
>the theme of professional learning. The "pragmatic turn" in the
>social and behavioural sciences has contributed to reframe issues
>related to knowledge, artifacts and social practice as well as to
>introduce new themes, concepts and methodological strategies to
>the field. By drawing together researchers from different
>disciplines and perspectives we wish to lay the ground for new
>approaches and collaborations within the field of professional
>learning as broadly defined.
>The conference will consist of both plenary and parallel
>sessions. Keynote speakers in the plenary sessions are:
>Professor Yrjö Engeström , University of Helsinki
>Professor Michael Eraut , University of Sussex
>Professor James Paul Gee , University of Wisconsin at Madison
>Professor Karin Knorr-Cetina , University of Konstanz
>8. New Books from ISCAR members
>Stetsenko, A. & Robbins, D. (Eds.) (2002). Voices within
>Vygotsky's non-classical psychology: Past, present, future. New
>York: Nova Science.
>Production Editor: Jonna Kangasoja
>ISCAR - Newsletter Editorial Team:
>Christoph Clases, Jan Derry, Jonna Kangasoja, Gilberto Pérez Campos,
>Jussi Silvonen, Katsuhiro Yamazumi

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