[xmca] context & CHAT, with OCT book alert RE: Wertsch, context

From: Tony Whitson (twhitson@udel.edu)
Date: Sun Aug 20 2006 - 16:55:52 PDT

Is anyone familiar with this book?
Context and Consciousness: Activity Theory and Human-Computer Interaction
by Bonnie A. Nardi (Editor)

The editor has a new book coming out in October:
Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design (Acting with
Technology) (Hardcover)
by Victor Kaptelinin, Bonnie A. Nardi

Here’s the description:
Book Description
Activity theory holds that the human mind is the product of our interaction
with people and artifacts in the context of everyday activity. Acting with
Technology makes the case for activity theory as a basis for understanding
our relationship with technology. Victor Kaptelinin and Bonnie Nardi
describe activity theory's principles, history, relationship to other
theoretical approaches, and application to the analysis and design of
technologies. The book provides the first systematic entry-level
introduction to the major principles of activity theory. It describes the
accumulating body of work in interaction design informed by activity theory,
drawing on work from an international community of scholars and designers.
Kaptelinin and Nardi examine the notion of the object of activity, describe
its use in an empirical study, and discuss key debates in the development of
activity theory. Finally, they outline current and future issues in activity
theory, providing a comparative analysis of the theory and its leading
theoretical competitors within interaction design: distributed cognition,
actor-network theory, and phenomenologically inspired approaches.

About the Author
Victor Kaptelinin is Professor in the Department of Informatics at Umeå
University, Sweden. Bonnie A. Nardi is Associate Professor of Informatics in
the School of Information and Computer Science at the University of
California, Irvine.

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
Behalf Of Mike Cole
Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2006 4:22 PM
To: Bremme Don
Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Wertsch, context,deja vu: RE: LSV-& Dialogical Self --
context (withunrelated bonusnon-irony irony)

Seems relevant to me, Don. The problem, so to speak, is to get the required
threads in one's hand at the right moment, and that book is not to hand.

And of course, Tony's use of his own prior not to respond to my recent post
re context illustrates how important his quotation from
Barthe about the importance of re-reading is. We read things we cannot
assimilate at time N and at time N=! they become a
revelation because they "fit the current pattern" of the thoughts we having
as we try to see a pattern in our experience.

Re Wertsch and context for a moment. p. 18. He is talking about two senses
in which communication is social (I think we could
sub "human experience" for communication, but he is heading to Rommetveit
and Lotman, so communication is just fine). He
contrasts "two or more people carrying out a process" or the
"interactional" ""level"" with "the broad sociocultural context within
which it [the two person interaction] occurs."

We ALL talk this way using the term context at times. But a few lines later
the term "sociocultural setting" has been substituted. So
setting and context are taken as synonymous? And we ALL make such
substitutions which often seem harmless and perhaps
inescapable (social situation of development/environment/situation). But
the way we make such substitutions worries me.

Most generally, I worry that we conflate interweaving, relational notions of
contexts for container notions (I will try to get some
relevant McDermott materials out about this in the next couple of days if
people wish to pursue the issue).
 I worry that we do not detect the slippage in our own thinking. What is a
"larger sociocultural context" if not some unit of human life that is made
up of. constituted by, many threads of people interacting? Is the Acropolis
a place of worship, a tourist attraction, or a fort to be blown apart if
your enemies are occupying it and you want them dead? (As it was a couple of
hundred years ago). Etc.

All of this of course relates to the issue of intersubjectivity in Jim's
paper. But that is for a later time, if....

On 8/19/06, Bremme Don <dbremme@whittier.edu> wrote:
> Regarding context and self, "inside"/"outside" I've found the following
> provocative. (I got into this as a result of its listing a previous
> thread, by the way, so this is merely re-presenting, in re: Mike's
> quoted here):
> Dorothy Holland, William Lachiotte Jr., Debra Skinner, and Carole Cain
> I<<dentity and Agency in Cultural Worlds.>> Cambridge, MA: Harvard
> University Press, 1998
> Apologies of this is tangential to the Wertsch currently under discussion.
> Don
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of Tony Whitson
> Sent: Sat 8/19/2006 12:05 PM
> To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu; mcole@weber.ucsd.edu
> Subject: [xmca] Wertsch, context,deja vu: RE: LSV-& Dialogical Self --
> context (withunrelated bonus non-irony irony)
> Mike, your concern about "context" reminded me of a previous thread, in
> which you asked:
> > If the personality is the highest form of sociality, the unit of
> > analysis for understanding the "whole person," what does it mean to
> > talk about relationships BETWEEN the personality
> > and its social context? Is context outside and personality inside?
> Really?
> My response is below (In fact, I'm sending this message as a response in
> the
> earlier thread, not the new one). I am almost finished with the Wertsch
> chapter, and there's a whole lot worth discussing in that short chapter.
> If
> I can work it in around my course preparation, thesis-reading, etc., I
> will
> be joining in this weekend; partly by extending my comments from the
> earlier
> thread.
> First, I have to break to get some lunch.
> Here's where the "bonus irony" comes in:
> I am taking a camera with me so I can stop on my way to the grocery store
> to
> photograph the sign in front of the local Assemblies of God church that
> (still, I hope) says, "It's hard to stumble when you're on your knees!"
> At first I thought that was ironic, since it could be read in a whole
> different spirit than intended.
> Then I realized the only ironic thing is that it's NOT ironic: My
> "different
> meaning" is in fact not really different from the one intended.
> What do you think? (& consider this instance in terms of Wertsch & Lotman,
> around pp. 24-26 in the chapter).
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tony Whitson [mailto:twhitson@UDel.Edu <twhitson@UDel.Edu>]
> Sent: Sunday, February 13, 2005 11:11 AM
> To: mcole@weber.ucsd.edu
> Cc: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> Subject: Re: LSV-& Dialogical Self -- context
> Mike, There is sometimes a perplexing resistance to recognizing the kind
> of question you are raising.
> For example, when Derrida says "Il n'y a pas d'hors-texte",
> there are many who perversely repudiate him as saying that there is no
> reality outside of verbal texts. In fact he has insisted that it would be
> better to translate his claim as "there is no 'con-text'" (rather than
> "there is no reality outside of texts"). As you are asking, Derrida is
> contending that the reality we're dealing with is an
> interwoven textile/textuality such that an analytical separation between
> an "inside" and "outside" rends apart the structured interweaving that we
> need to see if we want to understand what we are looking at.
> On Sun, 13 Feb 2005, Mike Cole wrote:
> > Odd what sparks discussion here.
> >
> > I have also been reading Valsiner and will go back to it through this
> lens.
> >
> > I found the following statement odd.
> > The two [Stern-individualism and Vygosk] are brought together in
> > Valsiner's theory, which highlights the sign-constructing and
> > sign-using nature of all distinctively human psychological processes.
> > Arguing that the individualistic and the cultural traditions differ
> > largely in emphasis, Valsiner unites them by focusing on the intricate
> > relations between personality and its social context, and their
> > interplay in personality development.
> >
> > If the personality is the highest form of sociality, the unit of
> > analysis for understanding the "whole person," what does it mean to
> > talk about relationships BETWEEN the personality
> > and its social context? Is context outside and personality inside?
> Really?
> >
> > mike
> >
> >
> >
> > On Sun, 13 Feb 2005 14:38:27 +0100, George <researcher@safe-mail.net>
> wrote:
> >> Dear Phil,
> >>
> >> I do not have Engeström's et al. book. Would you happen to have an
> >> electronic copy of Davydov's article? or know a link - although I
> >> searched an could not find anything?
> >>
> >>
> >> On Feb 13, 2005, at 12:53 PM, Phil Chappell wrote:
> >>
> >>> Davydov's essay: Davydov, V.V. (1999) The content and unsolved
> >>> problems of activity theory, in Engestrom, Y, Miettinen, R and
> >>> Punamaki, R-L "Perspectives on Activity Theory" Cambridge University
> >>> Press
> >>
> >> Best regards,
> >>
> >> George
> >> (Hansjoerg von Brevern)
> >>
> >> -------------------------------------
> >>
> >> Research in e-Learning Objects, e-Learning meta data standards,
> >> didactical activity, Systemic-Structural Activity Theory, and
> >> Socio-cultural Theory
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> Tony Whitson
> UD School of Education
> NEWARK DE 19716
> twhitson@udel.edu
> _______________________________
> "those who fail to reread
> are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
> -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
> _______________________________________________
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