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Re: [xmca] Project

It probably seems as though I am simply trying to rain on Andy's parade, or on his project. And I'm really not. There are important issues here.

Remember LSV's advice that the unit of analysis should still have the key characteristics of the phenomenon we're trying to understand. So to study water you don't study its elements, hydrogen and oxygen, you study the molecule, H2O, in its various qualitative forms.

That begs the question, then, what are the characteristics of the phenomenon we're trying to understand? Recall that we were discussing occasions of emotion - my example of a 'Gott!' when trying to open the window; Manfred's example of the bank worker getting angry at her boss.

Brecht gave us a wonderful detailed portrait of what's happened in Egypt - in which exploitation and conflict seemed to me to be write large. So let's select those two as key characteristics. Surely there are others; I've suggested reproduction (we don't want to be asking, does the chicken produce the egg or does the egg produce the chicken).

We need, then, a unit for the analysis of human activity that includes at least exploitation and conflict and reproduction. Activity (as per activity theory) doesn't seem to have these. Neither, in my view, does "project" - at least I don't yet see how it does.

Don't ask me to define it (!), but I've been having my students go out to conduct field work in a 'form of life' that they select. One group has been visiting a panaderia (a bakery, basically) - and they've done a great job describing the production (of breads) and exchange (to customers), the way the business is being reproduced on a daily basis, the degree of exploitation of workers, tempered somewhat because it is a "family business," in detail.

So what is all that? A project? An activity? An assemblage? That's what we need to figure out.


On Apr 2, 2013, at 9:04 PM, Ron Lubensky <rlubensky@deliberations.com.au<mailto:rlubensky@deliberations.com.au>> wrote:

I am going to wade warily into this discussion. I think asking for a *definition* for project is fraught in itself, because it demands ontological decomposition or deconstruction, which we resist in a dialectic analysis and an immanent critique. Andy has stated in many places that a project is "an activity". A particular activity. With an emergent concept of itself arrived through socio-cultural development and collaboration. I don't need much more to understand it.

Ron Lubensky
0411 412 626
Melbourne Australia

Please support my 200km bicycle Ride to Conquer Cancer<http://ml13.conquercancer.org.au/goto/support-ron-lubensky>® with a donation to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

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