RE: [xmca] Request for Panelist Names on CHAT History

From: Peter Smagorinsky <smago who-is-at>
Date: Tue Sep 11 2007 - 09:35:56 PDT

I have found some people claiming a CHAT perspective to be more dogmatic
than do others in this discussion. At times it's public and explicit, such
as the article that appeared in Educational Researcher a couple of years ago
(I forget the authors and title); I also think of the introduction to
Perspectives on Activity Theory, in which the editors claim that they are
true activity theorists, while people such as Jim Wertsch are not (they
say). I also find dogma in the reviews of my work from anonymous reviewers,
who lecture on this point or that as being rightfully faithful to true AT
tenets; and as a result I've stopped calling my work CHAT-oriented and more
Vygotsky-oriented so as not to obligate myself to fit into other people's
boxes. And so I'm less sanguine than some about the prospects for producing
any kind of definitive history of the discipline.

Peter Smagorinsky
The University of Georgia
Department of Language and Literacy Education
125 Aderhold Hall
Athens, GA 30602-7123 /fax:706-542-4509/phone:706-542-4507/

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Tony Whitson
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 11:12 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Request for Panelist Names on CHAT History

On Tue, 11 Sep 2007, Lois Holzman wrote:

> I've always thought the lack of dogma, definition and exclusivity was
> a strength of CHAT.
> Lois
I agree, and I think that's how it looks to folks who might be considered
CHAT afficianados. Interestingly, though, I have heard some people who are
coming from outside the CHAT community characterize CHAT as a movement that
looks, to them, comparatively dogmatic -- compared to the disciplinary
traditions where they feel at home. I've heard remarks about preoccupation
with LSV's work (and/or Marx, Hegel, etc.) as a kind of scripture, for
example, such that people are concerned with properly interpreting LSV's
writing, and using that as a kind of authority, in ways that seem to them
unlike anything that happens in their own fields of research.

To CHAT folk this no doubt seem like a completely unrecognizable

What do you think?
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Received on Tue Sep 11 09:37 PDT 2007

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