RE: [xmca] Fundamental Questions

From: Worthen, Helena Harlow <hworthen who-is-at>
Date: Wed Sep 05 2007 - 08:48:16 PDT

I had been reading this thread, about individual/collective, with a
sense of detachment until this morning when I realized that a film we
showed in a class last night provides an instance of the process of
separating the individual from the collective. The "individual" and
"collective" aren't abstract, either, and both are fully dramatized.

It's Ken Loach's 2001 film The Navigators, about a team of railroad
workers experiencing the privatization and break-up of British Rail
under Margaret Thatcher. The workers have functioned in this heavily
unionized environment for -- well, the oldest shows a photo of himself
with his team that has to be 45 years old -- and they possess all the
social norms of that very collective environment; one refuses
opportunities to work any overtime as long as others "are on the dole."
One by one, they learn in different ways what the new work system will
require of them, namely, to act not as a collective but as individuals.
It's a brilliant film. You can chart this process as it unrolls step by
step, differently with each character.


Helena Worthen
Clinical Associate Professor
Labor Education Program
Institute of Labor & Industrial Relations
504 E. Armory, Room 227
Champaign, IL 61821
Phone: 217-244-4095
-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Mike Cole
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2007 10:10 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Fundamental Questions

Stick with it on the ontology issue, Michael. Its a life time's
preoccupation and a good one.
If this thread continues, we are going to need to consider the fact that
social beings we are
also BIOLOGICAL beings (as well as CULTURAL) beings, and these 3 factors
all in play.
With CSCL as a framework you are not likely to be dealing with rocks and
trees and water....
(not that the problems go away).

As to the individual|collective antinomy, (thanks tony!), the fact that
Anglo Americans are way
way out there on the individualism side of things as Paul points out is
important for all of us
to keep in mind (without going to the opposite extreme which has its
image problems)

On 9/4/07, Michael A. Evans <> wrote:
> Mike and All,
> Thank you very much for the links and resources - the chapter provided
> below
> is especially helpful for preparing to respond to the question of
> ontology,
> the "basic concept of reality"...chapter 3 of the same source
> epistemology, which I'll look at as well...
> I may be misguided here, but when I referred to social constructivism
> was
> thinking (primarily) of an epistemology, how one comes to know and
> that
> knowledge is, that was equally influenced by social interaction and
> cultural
> context - thus, my students and I are exploring intermental
development of
> higher order thinking, this is the focus of Stahl's text...another
> we're exploring is "intersubjective meaning making," which Suthers
> has proposed as an important research agenda for CSCL:
> The dialectical unity of opposites (say, individual vs. collective) is
> very
> intriguing as a line of thought and is supported in one of our
> from
> this week: Dalgarno, B. (2001). Interpretations of constructivism and
> consequences for computer assisted learning. British Journal of
> Educational
> Technology, 32(2), 183-194.
> In this piece, Dalgarno cites Moshman (1982) to identify 3 strands of
> constructivism - endogenous, exogenous, and dialectical, dialectical
> constructivism defined as an approach that "emphasises the role of
> interaction in the learner's knowledge construction process, leading
to an
> emphasis on cooperative and collaborative learning strategies" (p.
> I must say that what I found encouraging during last night's class was
> that
> although students were admittedly uncomfortable with concepts such as
> world without withins," they were willing to "hang in there" to
> the
> possibilities of a non-dualistic approach...
> Thanks, again!
> Michael~
> --
> ____________________________________
> michael a. evans
> assistant professor
> 306 war memorial hall (0313)
> department of learning sciences & technologies
> school of education
> virginia tech
> email:
> phone: +1 540.231.3743
> fax: +1 540.231.9075
> > From: Mike Cole <>
> > Reply-To: <>, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> > <>
> > Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2007 14:28:05 -0700
> > To: "eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity" <>
> > Subject: [xmca] Fundamental Questions
> >
> > We all learn through teaching, Mike, and you are lucky to have
> > asking fundamental questions.
> >
> > I am not sure precisely what you mean by social constructivism, and
> see
> > what others have to say since I am guessing that the answers are
> to
> > vary a lot. (And I have a LOT of reading to do to get ready to teach
> > classes in a couple of weeks!, and Tony's query re joint mediated
> activity
> > to deal with!). So I took the following
> > dodge thinking it might be helpful to you.
> >
> > 1) I googled leontiev ontology and found a lot of info. This site
> directly
> > addresses your question from the
> > perspective of a leading activity theorist.
> >
> >
> > 2) I googled the lchc site itself (google on home page) for
> > individual/collective. There has been a lot
> > of discussion here about that. (I do not know the way to create that
> > directly vertical symbol that michael
> > roth and others do to indicate a dialectic unity of opposites).
> > googling just the lchc site
> > works well.
> >
> > good luck!
> > mikec
> > _______________________________________________
> > xmca mailing list
> >
> >
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
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Received on Wed Sep 5 08:50 PDT 2007

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