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[xmca] Activity & Dialogue
Thanks for this reply to my thinking out loud and pointing out that I may
not be entering into the main arena of discussion. You also recommend we
try to distinguish our gaps in order to have a conversation. In your
words you wrote,
You know I'm talking within the domain of the 'activity theory' ,
Leontevian version .
Now look how you start your response :
You collect , goal , purpose , perspective , all together . You know by
'goal' I mean the point or focus one orients herself so that she , taking
advantage of the most comfortable 'operations' , succeeds in realizing an
'action' , a moment of an activity . Perspective is sort of a world-view ;
being conscious of a worldview one might be involved with , takes you to
the realm of the whole personality you've got , your dealing with Nature ,
your dealing with social relations , your belonging or lack of it vis a vis
a SOCIAL CLASS , the whole of your ideological stance , so on so forth .
It's with respect to all these which a NEED arises and to satisfy this need
, you have to orient on a corresponding 'object' and that 'object' in
itself does not motivate you , it should BECOME a MOTIVE of an activity .
It's here that Leontiev is charged with 'passivity' ; the opponents seek to
believe in a reverse process , already and internally stuffed with kind of
'faith' , 'morality' , (maybe God Terminus which I don't know about) , deep
spring of incessantly flowing / poring out of all kinds of motives , drives
, desires , incentives , etc . just laid there . We say one becomes
sacrificial socially having passed through all hierarchy of versatile
motives until she has reached the highest step , having tested all results
of different motives (reifications) .
[[ I would suggest for humans many of the "meaningful" acts are
dialogically and hermeneutically expressed WITHIN material [artifactual]
--"meaningful" acts ====> my 'action-based meanings' . You are identifying
and recognizing the 'acts' through testifying of 'meanings' and you don't
emphasize on dialectics of processes . Then for you meanings are prior to
acts and this is against all I said . You can have your own firm belief but
you cannot present what I've said so clearly as SHELL , KERNEL , ETC.
--are dialogically and hermeneutically expressed ====> my 'practically
weighed' . You test your 'dialogues' 'hermeneutics' even the TRANSFORMATIVE
ONES with PRACTICE and results (reifications) not vice versa .
--Within material [artifactual] contexts . =====> my first/third layer
(tied to the direction you take) . I say in a dialogue either SHELLS are
exchanged ====> communication lost .
or : KERNELS are exchanged =====> might lead to transformative status or
stance (Christine's reference) , a potentiality on the threshhold of ACTUAL
realization . Compare with so-called deep-hidden desires . so think
Vasilyuk takes this to the realm of the 'unconscious' .
--interactions are due ====> realm of my focus .
Then dear Larry , we should first of all distinguish our 'gaps' . Otherwise
communication is impossible .
Now I fear really more lengthening the response . however , I'll read your
message to the end for the second time .
--We use 'reification' for the end-point of an activity rather than the
end-point of a 'dialogue' . The latter acts just as an ARCHIVE .
-- [[*for example the God Terminus [as a perspective] expressing particular
social arrangements*]] ====> you put your point of departure a priori 'God
Terminus' . Then I could ask what your premises are . God Terminus ,
whatever , comes from itself ? Just falling down ? , what about evolution ,
history ? You know we believe in historical socio-economic formations . We
have base and superstructure . We say in the days of feudalism with such
kind of particular social relations , the feudal class had to administer
society in such and such kinds of affairs , superstructurally leading
people towards and propagating them with such kind of worldview/ideology as
God Terminus (a conjecture) destroying all kinds of Pagan Gods as Idols
putting them in an unseeable Monotheism which could correspond and be in
parallel with that kind of base and that kind of social relations , as it
could be with Capitalism , too . Then I could conclude that , you dear
Larry , with so fluent a speech and so flowing a pen . do not really enter
the main arena of discussion , you , in fact , wayward it , you come with
your own separate treasure-house of ideas . Then , you're not , in fact ,
responding , you're perhaps ? uni-vocally/unil-laterally narrating your own
tale (forgive) .
Haydi, I'm going to try to "communicate" by attempting to find some "common
ground" by staying close to your phrases. This still may leave confusion
because how I "read" [understand] what you wrote may not be what you
intended to communicate.
I will begin with "perspectives" which is a key word I'm using. Your
interpretation of "perspectives", using your words is,
"a sort of world-view; being conscious of a worldview one might be
involved with takes you to the realm of the whole personality you've got,
your dealing with Nature, your dealing with social relations, your
belonging or lack of it vis a vis a social class, the whole of your
ideological stance, and so forth. It's with respect to all these that a
NEED arises and to satisfy THIS need, you have to orienton a corresponding
'object' and that object IN ITSELF does not motivate you, it should BECOME
a MOTIVE of an activity".
Haydi, I will move to a concrete example to explore how I may be seeing
this term "perspectives" not as "merely" the "whole personality" that
encompasses my unique personality. I'm trying to use perspectives as a
cultural-historical concept that does develop over time but once developed
[reified??] has profound constraints on the personalities of all the
participants who operate within its framework.
The concept of "agency" as a "perspective" is a concrete example of a
cultural-historically developed concept [emerging from
particular historically constellated social relations] that comes to be a
framework for helping to "orient" future acts. There are MULTIPLE
perspectives on "agency" and each perspective articulates and expresses
alternative "types" of personality formations. Now as these alternatives
circulate within a specific historical moment some of these perspectives on
"agency" have more or less salience [are cultural-historically validated
Some examples of alternative perspectives on agency [which come to orient a
particular person's personality] are:
Contractual agency: Where your agency is recognized through an "exchange"
of mutual recognition and you develop your agency through MUTUAL
SYMMETRICAL recognition. Acting from this particular framework forms
particular "types" of personalities
voluntaristic agency: This is a framework that posits an identity that
transcends context and through one's own voluntaristic agency can "choose"
how to act in the world. This also is a particular historically developed
framework which orients and has rofound cultural consequences for how we
constellate our social relationships.
Possessive Agency: This is the perspective or framework on agency which
Patchen Markell is challenging as "merely" another form of "sovereign"
agency [as are the contractual and voluntaristic] This framework posits
"identities" that exist "a priori" and require struggles and conflict in
order to be recognized as who we ARE.
Non-possessive agency: This is a perspective which the Buddhists call
"self-emptying" Greg's email's suggest there is a Western trope
[perspective] which has historically developed in the West that shares a
family resemblance with the Buddhist perspective on agency. This
alternative perspective embraces "action" at the center of agency but an
action that is non-possessive and ACTIVELY attempts to develop a
perspective that makes a committment to dialogue and communication that
requires a turning away from all the previous perspectives of "sovereign
What motivates trying to "possess" agency" Patchen says it is the denial of
our FINITUDE. For him this is a central motivation and desire to develop
along the path of "becoming sovereign".
Haydi, as a "worldview" the impulse to recognize MY SOVEREIGN identity also
extends to concepts such as the identity of sovereign state or the
identity of sovereign private property. Perspectives have real consequences
in our practices and our institutional formations as they express our
cultural-historically constituted personalities [our concepts, affects, and
actions] Being sovereign requires FIRM BOUNDARIES and limits. In contrast
non-possessive agency embraces uncertainty, fallibility, ambivalence at the
HEART of our humanness. From Patchen's perspective embracing the reality
of our VULNERABILITY to entering generative dialogues is avoided to
maintain our security needs to be recognized as "sovereign".
Back to Activity Theory. I hope I've shown that the concept "perspectives"
as I'm attempting to use it is much more inclusive than just "a person's
personality. I believe we can operate from ALL four of the above notions
of agency at different moments and move between them as all four
perspectives on agency are recognized culturally.
Ethically and evaluatively I would promote the non-possessive form of
agency [as a particular perspective and position] Over time if this
perspective becomes shared with many others, then a personality
"disposition" MAY develop IF WE ACT on this particular perspective.
Haydi, and everyone else
Happy New Year in 2012
Haydi, I hope this concrete example
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Haydi Zulfei <email@example.com>
To: Larry Purss <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Saturday, 31 December 2011, 6:00:52
Subject: Re: [xmca] Interpreting Leontiev: functionalism and Anglo Finnish
With a bit of corrections if this time the Internet works !
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