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Re: [xmca] Reflexive, culturally mediated, sociality

PBS recently showed a dramatization of several of Gaskell's novels. They captured the period and way of live very well.

Gordon Wells		<gwells@ucsc.edu>			http://people.ucsc.edu/~gwells/
Department of Education
University of California, Santa Cruz.

On Nov 25, 2010, at 8:32 AM, mike cole wrote:

Some time back Larry and others were focused on primal sociality in highty
interactions. Even longer ago, David Kel suggested that we read Elizabeth
Gaskell. Wow,
was he ever right! Amazing.

I recently read a scene set about, say, 1840's rural England. Gaskell
depicts poor folks maintaining
a traditional, ostensibly prosperous, life world in the face of the coming
pressures of industrialization. In this scene,
a woman is having a party. As befits her situation, at the high point of the
festivities she is
seated comfortably in a special spot of honor and attention, but in small
ways, the author
has told us about all the hard work she has done to make this accomplishment
"pass" as
an expression of her genteel accomplishments in life. The author ends the
description of this
event by writing that the hostess "who now sat in state, pretending not to
know what cakes were
sent up, though she knew, and she knew that we knew, and we knew that she
knew that we
knew, she had been busy all morning making tea-bread and sponge-cake."

There, I think we have a beautiful description of culturally mediated,
reflexive, community and
the degree of intertwining that deep reflexivity seems to promote. The
Gaskell novels I have read
all excel at providing an almost micro-ethnographic sense of the richness of
within small, mostly face to face, English, communities.
And consistent with the picture that Larry is seeking to fill out.

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