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Re: [xmca] Increased use of "accountability" in books

Hi Richard

Your reflections on the term "accountability" within a larger "discourse
frame of reference" of banking, balance sheets, and metaphors of "wealth
generation" is a particular example of the power of metaphors to transform
our institutions such as schools in profound ways.  When we RESPOND, even to
challenge this dominant "conventionalized metaphor" we are often unaware of
how our thought processes are reflecting a particular cultural imaginary.
The profound hold that metaphorical thinking has on our ways of engaging
with others is in need of deeper analysis.  This new tool [ngram viewer] may
shed light on the power of metaphor to frame our references towards the
world.  A metaphor such as "accountability" can become hegemonic and impose
a UNIFIED notion of what education "is".

An author whose perspective I appreciate and have affinity with is Suzanne
Kirschner. Her recent article was recently discussed in CHAT  by Mary and
Mike in the journal "Theory & Psychology". The article is in the December
2010 issue and elaborates "sociocultural subjectivities" as alternative
"models" or "maps" for psychological studies [plural]. It is the
metaphorical quality of these models or maps that I find fascinating.
In 2005 she addressed Divison 24 of the American Psychological Association
[The Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology] in a passionate
defense of cultivating MULTIPLE THEORETICAL LENSES in order to develop a
more self aware psychology.  Her goal is to MAKE EXPLICIT the
conventionalized metaphorical images that underlay or ground our notions of
common sense and how we come to understand ourselves. she states in her 2005

"The non-objectivist view is that language, social life, culture and history
are GENERATIVE SOURCES of knowledge. On this view, the objects DELINEATED by
psychological discourse are not 'discovered' by researchers, but rather are
the products of GENERATIVE METAPHORS, or schemata, that are invoked as the
researcher describes or engages with particular domains" (p.6)

Sigmund Koch uses the term "conceptual ordering devices" as a general label
for reflecting on the metaphorical structuring of paradigms, theories,
models, and maps.  These conceptual ordering devices don't delineate
"natural" objects in any way as a mirror or representation of objective

If the premise that metaphorical conventionalized cultural imaginaries
[plural] ground sociocultural worlds, then Jaan Valsiner's elaboration of
ABDUCTIVE reasoning [as grounded in theoretical perspectives] may be central
to understanding. [see his article in the December 2010 issue of "theory and
psychology"  on Idiographic science.  Abductive reasoning is grounded in
theoretical perspectives. Theoretical perspectives may be grounded in
metaphorical imaginaries. Therefore human understanding may be grounded in
abductive processes primarily.  If I have time I will summarize Valsiner's
article but reading Kirschner and Valsiner together produced interesting


On Sun, Dec 19, 2010 at 8:56 AM, Richard Beach <rbeach@umn.edu> wrote:

> I put in "accountability" into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, and found a
> marked increase in use of that word from 1985 to 2005
> http://tinyurl.com/267lfd7
> As Richard Ohmann has noted, there was little use of "accountability"
> applied to education prior to the 1980s.  Given the rise of a business
> management discourse (Fairclough), it has now become a primary discourse
> for
> framing school policies.
> All of this reflects the control of corporate America over the system since
> the 1980s.  As reported in today's New York Times, the Supreme Court sided
> with business interests 29% during the Warren court and 47% during the
> Burger court (1969-1985), as contrasted with 61% of the time during the
> Roberts court (2005-2009).
> http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2010/12/19/us/politics/19roberts-graphicA.
> html?ref=us<http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2010/12/19/us/politics/19roberts-graphicA.%0Ahtml?ref=us>
> In his column, Frank Rich summed it all up by quoting the new Chair of the
> House finance committee that's supposed to oversee the finance industry:
> "As
> Bachus¹s instantly notorious pronouncement
> http://blog.al.com/sweethome/2010/12/spencer_bachus_finally_gets_hi.html
> had it, 'My view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve
> the banks.'"  In truth, this congressman¹s view has been the prevailing
> view
> in Washington under both parties since the Reagan administration.
> On 12/18/10 12:49 PM, "ANTHONY M BARRA" <tub80742@temple.edu> wrote:
> >  Across the blogosphere, everyone's playing with Google's Books Ngram
> > Viewer.
> >
> > This seems like a crowd who'd enjoy this tool.  But careful if you don't
> > have some time to kill!
> >
> > http://bit.ly/dPNE04
> > http://bit.ly/hdcxlN
> > http://bit.ly/feXL47
> >
> > Overview of the program
> > here<
> http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/12/the-decline-of-man-
> > as-a-word/68167/>
> > .
> >
> > - Anthony (cheers from Villas, USA)
> > __________________________________________
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> > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
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