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Re: [xmca] bodies and artifacts

I have the whole article if you or others are interested, Andy.
I am still trying to sort all this out and do not have a fixed position.
By my analysis (see lchc.ucsd.com) human beings are hybrids so its hard for
me to draw lines. At the same time, clearly, human newborns are cultural
"objects" in that they emerge into a cultural environment which interprets
them and arranges their futures in various ways.

I REALLY recommend J.D. Peters' *Speaking into the air* which we have been
reading along with various other texts in this class. And of course,
Raymond Williams is worth reading whether you agree or not all the time.


PS-- blind man and stick does not, so far as i know, stem from
activity theory. Merleau Ponty, Bateson (where i encountered it)
and probably lots of other places. Among psychologists in "the west" the
name James Gibson plays a role here --the "originator" (whatever that means)
of the idea of affordances, coped by so many others its hard to count.

On Sat, Dec 5, 2009 at 4:37 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> That's an interesting piece, Mike. Writing a text book on communication, he
> wants to emphasize the distinction between a technical device, technique and
> technology, in terms of distinctions between things and the social practices
> and knowledge for using them. From there the author extends these
> distinctions to the human body. "Even as we insist on this qualitative
> change" of using things outside the body, he feels it important to group the
> human body as a "resource" (i.e., artefact) albeit an inherent one.
> The context I came to the same view was (1) in trying to figure out where
> to fit the human body in a reading of Hegel (for whom the cultural origin of
> the human body is unknown), (2) understanding the blind person's stick
> scenario used in Activity Theory (where to draw a line between body and
> artefact), and (3) trying to understand what the problem with
> intersubjective theories in the Frankfurt School (readings of Mead or of
> Hegel).
> In these latter cases, writers subsumed the human body into the "subject"
> (as does ANL actually), and thus, the culturally shaped and inherited nature
> of the human body, *used* in communication and labour, is elided into the
> the subject itself, as if not historical or culturally resourced, but
> autonomous.
> How did you read this piece, Mike?
> Andy
> mike cole wrote:
>> I was unsure how to contribute to the discussion of bodies and artifacts.
>> Reading an
>> article by Raymond Williams for class monday, I came across a passage that
>> appears
>> relevant. Its from his edited book on Communication on the topic of comm
>> technologies
>> and social institutions. I could only cut and past from the pdf I had, so
>> it
>> is attached. I
>> think the distinction he makes between "inherent physical resources" and
>> "systems based
>> on the development and application of objects and forces outside the human
>> body" may
>> be relevant. Or maybe not. Hard to move things from one discussion to
>> another and have the meaning remain roughly the same.
>> But Williams is always interesting to think with. Even fragments.
>> mike
>> -
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> --
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> Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
> Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov, Ilyenkov $20
> ea
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