RE: Lurkers of the world, Unite!

Date: Tue Oct 26 2004 - 16:26:08 PDT

Thank you Jay for your (usual) caring and thoughtful post.

Speaking of lurkers and occasional posters, I am one of them!

Why do I read the posts on X? I find most of them interesting and have
learned a lot from your X fields that I did not know anything
about--activity theory related issues; literacy and learning. Why do I come
back to this forum? For the fresh air! You have an open and caring kind of
space--to use your term, ZPD. I visit a few forums and yours is the and most
open, as long as I have seen (about 2 years). In my first posts, the warm
welcoming 'voice' of Mike has been inviting and engaging. He has wide arms
that extend to many fields, and he makes room for you too!

You seem to be working in academics and interested in learning and helping
others to learn. And learning about learning by learning is what makes your
forum creative and dynamic. Being such generic utility, learning is one
thing I am trying to 'translate' from here to my field of practice--program
evaluation--and to my field of interest--spatial theory and transformation.
Learning itself is about transformation, as is the goal of human service
programs that I evaluate.

Spatial theory, which attracts some interest here, assumes to be a unified
theory of human action, as activity theory seems to claim. The former used
to have a radar with a larger spatial scale than the latter. However, recent
contributions to spatial thinking has brought the former closer to the
latter. Some spatial theorists have learned to focus on interactive and
interpersonal dynamics of human actions (and on humans in action).

I have mentioned before that my interest is to make spatial theory and
activity theory face each other and have a conversation (in their
application to evaluation activity), rather than letting their butts 'face'
each other and hide in each others blind spots! One thing I can draw on
Latour and Deleuze is to go from 'flat concepts' to 'flow and circulating
concepts.' and that is where spatial theory has something to offer.
Activity theory tend to focus on social and individual actions and spatial
theory focuses on how spaces are produced in human activity and how they
shape each other. With respect to learning and literacy, there are plenty of
interesting contributions, including new concepts that are spatial (without
being theorized spatially)--peripheral participation, marginal
non-participating, expansive cycles, etc. finally, I find Kevin Leander's
work to be an innovative attempt in bringing together spatial and activity
theories to say something new about literacy.

From a peripheral zone of participation,

iraj imam
The Center for Applied Local Research

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