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[xmca] RE: Engagement with Activity Theory.

Dear Mike and Huw,
  In a recent seminar someone was discussing 'moral' value and value form related to large projects, (can they be separated as Tonnies did ) - but to point to recent work Bent Flyvbjerg and 'phronesis' in large projects became useful -though when I look at his discussion of didactics this ethos doesn't follow through - here is a link ( http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/research/people/Pages/BentFlyvbjerg.aspx).
I am oriented in HE teaching intervention and 'appreciative setting'  in relation to 'recognition' - where  re-mediation  uncovering  value-form comes into my awareness. When you present 'I appreciate the effort you made' - here I have no sense of gesture that 'unspoken' in context ( appreciative setting in actuality of the moment ) - it could still be value-form. The second subject of the sentence isn't human - so... appreciation recognition and human-ness are in our concept:).

Huw you mention 'embed' there's a tautology / paradox though 'appreciative insight' is what is already there so 'embed' as agency - goes beyond boundary of 'appreciation'.  I think that is where I figure 'appreciative setting' = that which is affording coherence and 'recognitions' but which isn't 'aware of itself' - when a retrospective suggestion of which 'value(moral)' was the coherence of dialogue appears ( as phenomenon - then another one is already 'unrecognised' enabling  again dialogue).
You highlight:
 to appreciate beyond what is
conventionally allowed for in their social circles.

 yet 'allowing for' is  then with a 'passage point' and entails subjectification.

Mike - I'm not familiar with 'reciprocal relations of exchange' - but I think that in my seeking I'm - as an educator trying to 'influence' in ways that do not find responses of emulation

so 'exchange' is not in my concept.
 I could go across to 'recognition' here to grasp again insight for 'appreciation' But I'll insert an extract of a document I wrote directed to a fellow enquirer :

writing about ' authentic knowledge from personal experience' in a text , I commented :
This might need
expansion – I hope that the way is open for this to be read as having a number
of possibilities – that education is not only working to a ‘defecit’ agenda,
but that it could also be read in many ways as a generative excess &
marking historical action in becoming a subject ( kojeve etc ) I can’t go into
that here it’s huge. There are so many readings- I’m currently reading Judith

 Yet this is constellated around German philosophy - my life experience 'brought' me to another aesthetic not the Muse and distance  to 'appreciate' that seems to permeate that appreciative setting - but one where another appreciative setting and vitality gives coherence.

I could orient to 'passion' in Garcia Lorca's 'theory' , but that would be very obscure in this conversation. So I will try to convey from Spanish culture  -to 'read'  exchange in social relations.  Consider the 'picaresque'
as a spanish contribution drawing ( apparently in this article  -from a tradition in Iran - - well on wikipedia)
"Arabic literature, which was read widely in Spain in the time of Al-Andalus and also possessed a literary tradition with similar themes, is another possible formative influence on the picaresque style. Al-Hamadhani (d.1008) of Hamadhan (Iran) is credited with inventing the literary genre of maqamat
 in which a wandering vagabond makes his living on the gifts his 
listeners give him following his extemporaneous displays of rhetoric, 
erudition, or verse, often done with a trickster's touch.[7] Ibn al-Astarkuwi or al-Ashtarkuni (d.1134) also wrote in the genre maqamat, comparable to later European picaresque novels.[8] 

At the heart of this is study of  'living off the gifts of others by means of one's wits' - which is to be distinguished from a 'generative excess and giving of gift - which can only be when such 'guile' is unquestionably 'not at play'.
This is sought to be 'revealed in 'reading' of  'gesture' .
 I see  a need for appreciative settings in education to be 'free' 'negative subjectivity around ' obligatory passage points' I draw this from  a recent - ish slide and paste it here - please contact me for references etc

passage points : (Tsouvalis
1994), ( Meaning blocks.Valsiner 2010.)

–Difficulty here is that
these can be positive or negative in subjectification

–Not only that students
arrive at their own pace, but that this is a process of choice

– ‘Appreciation’ ‘Webs of
significance’ Checkland 2005) &. ‘subjectification’ (Fernando Gonzalez Rey 1999)
to understand relation between 
boundary  and motive of activity
that  these created passage points work
towards .

lSubjectification a precursor for agency (premise) 

( competence in overcoming OPP, opens horizon of agency ( or incompetence
closes ).

I can't see that this can be achieved in 'experiment' - To cut across to my comment on dialogics to Larry on another thread - his interest in 'generative excess' comes - perhaps between- appreciative setting and recognition, for me right now. Though my comment about 'seeing ahead' is misleading. My intervention in the classroom has no 'pre' in this kind of 'uncovering' (in actuality ) is in the present  in dialogue. So it would be impossible to suggest that 'research' of it might be of a form x or any other , and also impossible to ask 'consent' before a conversation takes place - what is 'uncovered' is not known to any party beforehand.
I relate this to 'autopoiesis' as I  oriented to  with David in the 'leontiev' thread- a gesture of expression produced by 'creative appreciation' ( loving relation in Maturana's terms)  from the social relations to enable excess - no exchange. In Spanish culture this is 'named' 'Duende'. but is very 'dynamic - i.e active in appreciative setting.I know this is beyond the bounds of usual message content - and might strangle any dialogue. Though excuse me as for a while  I will not be able to 'carry' participation , I am in anticipation of a family visit - not 'brought ' to the UK in many years - we usually reunite in Spain:)
Thanks for this opportunity to think this aloud across the different depths of threads.
Also thank you so much for the technology advice too Huw - the 'lag' on hotmail is intolerable and writing this message similar to carving hieroglyphics.:)


From: lchcmike@gmail.com
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2011 12:22:15 -0800
Subject: Re: Engagement with Activity Theory.
To: schweighartgate@hotmail.com
CC: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu

Christine --

I have also been thinking about "appreciation." My musings led me to connect the idea of "I appreciate the effort you made" with the idea of appreciation in a phrase such as "The price of my house appreciated."

In both cases, it appears that there is some sort of increase in "value." If someone else appreciates what I do, my "self" (lets make that my "dialogic self") increases by some measure of the greater valuing of me by the person doing the appreciating. Ditto if I appreciate what someone else does (such as writing a thought provoking note on xmca). 

Around the intervention methodology folks I hang out with, the idea of "reciprocal relations of exchange" which Olga Vasquez has favored gets a lot of, well, appreciation.

Always and over again the issue off what constitutes reciprocity is right in the middle of the enagement.


On Sun, Dec 25, 2011 at 10:28 PM, christine schweighart <schweighartgate@hotmail.com> wrote:

Dear Mike,

I read  your joint article in the special issue of T&P 2011 and appreciated the notion of mutual appropriation - I was contrasting with, and have not found myself able to 'project' into 'formative teaching experment'  - though this would be another thread. Also in that issue Yryo used a definition of 'intervention' from Gerald Midgley, who I am working with now, his contribution has been to introduce a concept of 'boundary critique' -influenced by Ullrich -into  'Critical Systems Thinking'.

I became interested in 'activity theory' after responding to a call for papers for ISCAR 2005 Seville - and you responded! Also in that conference you gave a very moving talk WITH from and back to your audience - I enjoyed that - but of course the 'content' has now gone in memory.  It was only when Seth Chaiklin moved to the UK and 'rounded up'  stragglers that I engaged 'theoretically', very slowly and with very different values about research, but I got to the question I asked Andy, and still have -  in there somewhere-my historical traces to understand my communions and differences etc..  Going back into 'systems'  - with  the opacity of 're-entry',  initial dialogues show appreciation ' we haven't got a theory of activity' :).  Though their background has a stong history of community developmental work, and environmental developmental intervention .

In using this list serve, my email doesn't seem to 'reply' to messages in the way others mange to- I don't get a smooth 'title' and copy message, so I've not just quite got the hang of this. It meant that I couldn't direct comments - so early on I 'lost' responding to David Kellog on the discussion f the wine and bottles - and also on the talk of recognition. I have attempted to present a distinction of subjectification and 'appreciation' in recent talks - but this is 'unappreciated' with those deeply immersed in the notion of subjectification --  So I read greg's comments and will re-read the whole thread- it went very quickly!

Also I can't get an 'automatic' email to open on Bruce's link ( same problem with my hotmail set up) - so if there are any guidelines as to what is acceptable in terms of links to other websites etc  please point me there( and how to 'reply' in threads  with more focus/proximity). Live links are stripped out , sometimes they are 'accidentally' cut and pasted in haste, - but don't know the trouble this might provoke your server etc.

Many thanks, Christine.


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