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Re: [xmca] Refugees and Conception

Ah-- I understand better now both what happened in your CL experiment and
the relation to modes of reasoning among the immigrant mothers, Denise.

With respect to your CL experiment. I think, on the basis of the added info,
that Yrjo would be very sceptical that it IS a CL experiment. I am. The goal
is not one articulated by the mom's, it is in the assumptions of the hidden
assumptions of the interveners on the ground. Good intentions, but not a
great way to start an intervention project from a CL/CHAT perspective. (I
may be wrongly interpreting what you describe).

With respect reasoning. See the two papers below which I got to by googling
scribner syllogisms:

S., 1975. Recall of classical syllogisms: a cross-cultural interpretation of
errors on logical problems. In: Falmagne, R.J. Editor, , 1975. *Reasoning:
Representation and Process* Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, pp.
S., 1977. Modes of thinking and ways of speaking: culture and logic
reconsidered. In: Johnson, P.N. and Watson, P.C. Editors, 1977.
*Thinking*Cambridge University Press, New York, pp. 483–500.

Both build on Luria's work in very thoughtful ways. There are other relevant
refs available there as well. Are these helpful?

On Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 3:30 AM, Denise Newnham <dsnewnham@bluewin.ch>wrote:

> Dear Mike,
> Two things to situate and I reply for the wider network as well: The Change
> laboratory methodology (Engestrom, 1987) was called for by a group of
> specialized teachers and a voluntary NGO group called Suisses Immigres (N+
> 10). They had designed a project called Accompagnateur Mere-Enfant (Mother-
> child facilitator).These were the subjects of the Change laboratory and the
> activity was the project. There were (at the time of the CL) 10 voluntary
> facilitators who were mostly retired teachers or retired persons. These
> people worked in a dyad with a mother and a child. The triad worked on "how
> to do homework with a child". The facilitator was there to help the mother
> to take over the role of guiding her child in homework tasks. After several
> months problems began to surface within the meetings between the two
> groups.
> The designers of the project or project holders decided to run a CL under
> my
> guidance on this group of people so there were two going on at the same
> time.The one on the project itself and the other on the facilitators. The
> hidden agenda of this project was to "get the mothers out of their homes"
> as
> a form of integration. Mothers were the targets as they are, in the host
> population as well, the people that are largely at home in order to help
> with the task of children's homework. Children come home for an hour and a
> half at midday in this region until the age of 15. It is presumed that the
> refugee mothers do not get out of their homes.
> The difficulty that I had is similar to what you mention. The situation of
> the refugee mothers. No prior investigation was done into what they really
> live and how they think. There were many value laden judgments going on and
> were translated into paternalistic attitudes towards the mothers and
> families at large by the facilitators.
> The CL is over and micro shifts were achieved. However the perceptions of
> the foreign mothers was difficult to overcome. And now this is where I have
> a gap in the explanation of possible reasons as to why. Obviously at the
> time I would not have been able to run these tests and actually the idea
> did
> not enter my mind then. What I did do was begin with a group of mothers
> (who
> volunteered) to work through what integration meant to them and in their
> everyday problems what could be found as solutions in order to break the
> vicious circle in which they lived. The socio-political environment for
> these people is much the same as you described from the book The spirit
> catches you...No they are not entirely isolated this is impossible but
> their
> minds are still very much in the past.
> Three of the mothers would reason in the same way as the person encountered
> by Luria. However they are not lacking in reasoning as the groups within
> the
> project would say. They were simple reasoning in another manner. There way
> of thinking reflected their socio-cultural environment of origin. That is
> why I would like to have had an article where you expose this possibility.
> Many thanks to you all
> Denise
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Denise Newnham [mailto:dsnewnham@bluewin.ch]
> Sent: 13 August 2010 10:13
> To: 'Denise Newnham'
> Subject: FW: [xmca] Refugees and Conception
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
> Behalf Of mike cole
> Sent: 13 August 2010 00:43
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity
> Subject: [xmca] Refugees and Conception
> I am responding here to Denise's note about her work with refugee women. I
> have started a new
> thread because her message came trailing a mile of previous messages (we
> need to find some way
> to not include every previous message with a new one; its a special burden
> when we get very long threads and the archive has all the prior messages in
> a thread anyway).
> Denise wrote (in part):
> I (one of my hats) work with refugee mothers and the concept
> of "foreign mothers" for the local population. I ran a CL [Change
> Laboratory]
> with a group that is working on integrating refugee mothers so that their
> children can perform
> better at school. The subjects of this CL had relatively little or no
> knowledge of what happens in foreign mothers lives or world on a daily
> basis. This I attempted to introduce through mirror data and models etc.
> What remains as a question is to me is if these persons minds where
> constructed within their environment and they are relatively isolated
> within
> their new environment what kind of mind is there? The question that you put
> forward at the end of the video is of great interest to me and an important
> argument for involuntary displaced adults.
> -------------------------------------------------------------
> Your note raises dozens of questions for me, Denise.
> First of all, I would love to read a description of your Change Lab
> experiments. The first
> question your note brings up is "who initiated the intervention?" A central
> principle of
> the Development Work Research Change Lab methodology, as I understand it,
> is
> that
> focal participants are the ones to decide what is a problem in their lives
> (at work in the work that
> I have read). Are the moms the one's who are concerned about their kids'
> performance in school?
> Or is this some govt agency's concern?
> If it is the mom's concern, what is revealed about the history and current
> state of their problems as they
> see them in the mirror?
> What sort of intermediate solutions do they come up with?
> Is it difficult for them to use the theoretical model?
> I think that just starting with data generated by the conversations that
> are
> meant to be evoked by the
> mirror part of the methodology would reveal a lot about how these women
> think about the world. Anyway, I would start there (and for sure would give
> them Vygotsky blocks to find out how their minds work!).
> I understand what you mean, in common sense terms, by saying that they lead
> isolated lives here. But it is not literally true, is it? From the little i
> know about domestic refugee situations, the world around them impinges on
> them from every side. For example, in the book
> *The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American
> Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures *by Anne Fadiman, the Hmong
> people who are her subject matter could easily be said to live in isolation
> from the life around them in the Central Valley of California, but it is an
> odd sort of isolation as they struggle to reconcile the two worlds they
> have
> experienced. And its odd for those around them who seek to be helpful. And
> many around them are actively seeking to isolate them even as they seek to
> isolate themselves from "those alien creatures."At present I am working in
> an African American community which is, so to speak, isolated in a housing
> project in southeast san diego. After a few years of involvement with these
> folks, the main thing i have learned is that there is so much I do not
> understand that I am constantly suspending judgment and seeking deeper
> understanding by engaging with them in activities that they think are good
> for their kids, all the time trying to understand the discrepancies from my
> expectations/values, the choices they make, their selective appropriation
> of
> the advice that rains down on them, and so on.
> I am really interested in the problem you raise, but I almost certainly
> have
> little to contribute with so little knowledge of the particulars.
> Tell us more!
> mike
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