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

From: Tony Whitson <twhitson who-is-at UDel.Edu>
Date: Tue Sep 11 2007 - 09:47:28 PDT

Another approach, perhaps alongside the historical narrative, might be a
more dialectical analysis of differences among forms of "CHAT" and
differences between CHAT and kindred developments such as Communities of
Practice (Lave, Wenger). To what extent are there just differences in the
extent to which different aspects of social phenomena have been theorized,
and to what extent are there actually principled differences among these
approaches? It seems to me there's something positivistic in
characterizing what something is just on its own (i.e., positively)
without consideration of how it differes from what it is not.

Maybe this could be another panel. Or maybe this suggests consideration of
"critical friends" from outside (whatever that means) CHAT as possible

BTW, I used to think that "Cultural Historical Activity Theory" was highly
redundant, since I thought Activity Theory per se was intrinsically
cultural and historical. Then I heard a conference presentation using
"Activity Theory" that was not cultural or historical in any way. It
showed that the activity of interest could be diagrammed with triangles.

On Tue, 11 Sep 2007, Peter Smagorinsky wrote:

> 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
> characterization.
> What do you think?
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

Tony Whitson
UD School of Education

"those who fail to reread
  are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                   -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
xmca mailing list
Received on Tue Sep 11 09:57 PDT 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Oct 08 2007 - 06:02:26 PDT