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Re: [xmca] bodies and artifacts

Thanks for the correction on the blind man's stick. It was W-M Rolf who first told it to me. :) Great scenario.

If you already have the article in PDF, yes I'd love it. But I am busy with emotions at this second.

On bodies: I would never say a *person*, even a new-born is an artefact; I refer to the *body*. Human bodies are natural products, products of phylogeny, products of human labour over millennia and products of the person's own labour and that of those that they associate with during their lifetime. But I don't wish to talk of a person in that way.


mike cole wrote:
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 <http://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 <mailto: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?


    mike cole wrote:

        I was unsure how to contribute to the discussion of bodies and
        Reading an
        article by Raymond Williams for class monday, I came across a
        passage that
        relevant. Its from his edited book on Communication on the topic
        of comm
        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.


        xmca mailing list
        xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>

-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
    Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov,
    Ilyenkov $20 ea

Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov, Ilyenkov $20 ea

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