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RE: [xmca] Project
- To: Haydi Zulfei <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Subject: RE: [xmca] Project
- From: "Glassman, Michael" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sat, 6 Apr 2013 17:13:36 +0000
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- Thread-topic: [xmca] Project
It seems like you are agreeing with Andy, or saying Leontiev would, that you might not consider operations of an infant embedded within an action because the infant can't imagine an object. But then here is my question, if infants are only engaging in operations then how does learning occur? Why does learning occur? Can you learn only by engaging in operations? Do we suggest that neonates and infants don't learn? Then what is the moment that they do start learning?
From: email@example.com [firstname.lastname@example.org] on behalf of Haydi Zulfei [email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, April 05, 2013 5:39 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Project
Hi Michael et al
No ! No ! If your notions are based on reading Leontiev's works , No !
All Leontiev tries to nullify is the formula S=====>> R .
Then , he even doesn't put 'tool' in between because tool without activity is void .
L's activity should always have an object : activity of ...
It's not the case that any object could be the object of any activity . For the object to ascend to the rank of a motive , it should satisfy a Need . It's the NATURAL NEEDS he dubs 'instincts' or 'stimulus needs' which directly affect the passive subject if any . It's DIRECT and the derivative DIRECTNESS , bipolar versus tripolar ; activity posed as sort of 'unit of life' if one is pressurized to go parallelism with the 'unit of analysis' .
It's thus : ACTIVITY
He says a No-object activity is not an activity .
For the Subject to be able to transform the object according to the particular need , she has to know about its properties ; he says acting according to the properties is not passivity but his critics focus on this ; then they conclude the object-orientedness evades the agentivity or influentiality or the willfulness of the Subject .
Activity , of necessity and of its Nature , has its due object and active subject within ; it's molar , non-atomic , non-partial , contiguous , integrated , amalgamated , blend , momentarial , etc. Can we actually separate inhalation from exhalation ?
Once again , let's remember the exemplar :
Eating is a essential need , life perpetuating ! Hence going hunting .
Eating =====> hunger drive ======> motive for hunting .
Motive of the active subject drives him towards 'games' as fit to act on .
Pusher of the animal is allocated his proper action according to the division of labour ; should be able to relate the action to the activity . should be , then , conscious about it .
Conditions assign corresponding operations : pushing to the centre ; stoning , targeting , drawing among the bushes , throwing sharp devices , etc. etc.
For L , psychical activity is different from 'conscious' , 'self-conscious' activity . The lengthening and doubling of the rod by the chimpanzee is a psychical activity . The nucleus of later phase of consciousness is formed here .
Then an infant has just its Natural instincts to be satisfied by carers .
Meshcheryakov's kids were not even able to satisfy their natural needs ; that was why the enterprise looked miraculous and so greatly appreciated by Ilyenko .
You might say that was a pathological case ; Ilyenko and M. answer they were able to drag them first to be able to satisfy their natural needs themselves ; then they were able to drag them to more complicated activities ; thus , four of them ascended to the rank of university professors . Consciousness was instilled in them through activities .
Infants here (the way you discuss) are themselves the 'object' of carers' 'activities' . Motives are assigned by the Institute . Actions are carried out by different personnel . operations were up to their then possibilities . M. criticizes the then ruling elite for their carelessness over the provision of facilities and possibilities .
Let's read you once again : [[Do infants simply engage in operations? Is that possible? Isn't there an action tied to every operation, or else why is the infant doing it. I think infants definitely do react to stimuli ... But when they react don't they have an aim of some type? It might be very rudimentary but it is an aim and the child/INFANT is developing operations to meet those aims (it also seems to me that there are much fuzzier boundaries between operations and actions at this point).]]
And if there's a type of an AIM with the infant , then why associating SOME CAREFUL MOTIVES to their aim-oriented behaviours ?
The Hindi infant/child tries to take the erected neck of a big snake ; the snake abstains , the infant/child pushes forward again and again ! Aimed ?? What motive could be associated to ?
L says eating is an instinct and natural but sitting at a table , taking the fork and the spoon , etc. , mannerism , in short , are SOCIAL .
Andy has had his critique and has aimed for projects ; I'm not well read with projects now .
From: "Glassman, Michael" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
Sent: Thursday, 4 April 2013, 19:23:40
Subject: RE: [xmca] Project
I'm trying to get an understanding from your posts (and from Andy's). Are you saying we shouldn't use both behavior and activity as they somehow represent dichotomous perspectives. It seems to me that behaviors, at least the way the term has been used, are empirical facts. We observe what is person is doing without making assumptions about a continuum of experience (including historical motivations). Activity on the other hand is a continuum, it involves the reasons behind the behavior stretching back into history, as well as the assumed projection of the behavior going forward in the service of some aim. To go back to one of the root points of this (at least I think it is) the few pages Vygotsky devotes to Stanislavskii's ideas on motivation of the actor. What the audience sees on stage is the behavior, but in order for that behavior to have ongoing meaning for the audience the actor must reach back and think about the history that led to
the motivation for the behavior coming forward, and where the actor thinks he will be going after he leaves the stage. Certainly important stuff, but then the audience really only has the observed behavior with which it can connect (unless of course you take some type of course with the actor in question - and find out you were completely wrong about everything you thought - very humbling).
But I also I think disagree with Andy to some extent. Do infants simply engage in operations? Is that possible? Isn't there an action tied to every operation, or else why is the infant doing it. I think infants definitely do react to stimuli (feedback I think can be define through information processing but it can also perhaps be defined through social cognitive theory which is more behavior oriented). But when they react don't they have an aim of some type? It might be very rudimentary but it is an aim and the child is developing operations to meet those aims (it also seems to me that there are much fuzzier boundaries between operations and actions at this point).
But I think here is a really good example of why it is important to maintain both behavior and action as ways of understanding what the child is doing. The only information we have, especially from an infant, is the behavior, and we have to be really carefully about associating motives, no matter how basic, to those behaviors. In James' and then Dewey's famous example of the infant with the candle we can see the behavior of the child putting their hand towards the flame, but from that individual observation we can't know why, and shouldn't make assumptions, which may lead us to a truth that is not shared with the child we are observing.
So I guess this finally gets to the reason I put this on the project page, and my idea of why a project should be the unit of analysis. The only place we really get a good idea about motivations of individuals is by how their behaviors play out in a project.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [email@example.com] on behalf of Martin Packer [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2013 9:39 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Project
You've said, "By the way, the bakery is a behavior setting." What I would have expected you to say is something like, 'Roger Barker would have viewed the bakery as a behavior setting. But we now know that it makes more sense to view it as an activity setting.'
How would you, using your concept of 'activity setting,' approach the task of conducting field work regarding the 'form of life' that one encounters at the bakery? Or would you buy your bread somewhere else?
On Apr 3, 2013, at 9:07 AM, Lubomir Savov Popov <email@example.com> wrote:
> Dear Martin and Andy and all participants in this dicsussion,
> I just get into this dconversation. It is fascinating. The concept of the project as an activity system offers heuristic advantages. It is obviously an activity system, a molar phenomenon, not a molecular phenomenon. I would mention here the concept of behavior setting by Roger Barker, the founder of ecological psychology (now environmental psychology). By the way, the bakery is a behavior setting.
> For a long time I am trying to promulgate the concept of activity setting instead of behavior setting. By the way, I use activity setting as a analytical framework for analyzing build environment. I apologize to all Barker followers for my boldness, but coming from the domain of activity theory I believe that the concept of activity has stronger heuristic power than the concept of behavior. In the East European tradition, behavior is only the manifested facet of activity. In the American tradition, behavior refers to most of the content of activity. These conceptual and terminological differences produce a number of difficulties in justifying the concept of activity setting.
> However, I am also working on the concept of activity system. The activity system is a broader category, with a major emphasis on the social facets, although the mat4erial/physical aspects are considered as well.
> The project can be seen an activity system with all ensuing implications.
> If we look at the project as a personals endeavor, it might be better to talk about design activity. This will lead to major insights into personal decision-making, invention, factors influencing the decision-making process, and so forth.
> If we look at the project as a group activity, then we need to expand our framework or use a somewhat different framework that is designed to account for social relationships. There are cooperation, collaboration, and so forth. Motivation is very important. There are also power play, envy, confrontation, and other phenomena of that kind.
> One interesting approach to the study of individual and group design activities is the activity methodology developed in the 1960 by the Moscow Methodological Circle (MMC) lead by Lefebvre and Shchedrovitsky. http://www.fondgp.org/gp/ Lefebre was the mastermind, but after he immigrated to the U.S.A. in the 1970s (if memory serves), he stagnated. Shchedrovitsky and a number of other people, actually all comparable to him in their achievements, have achieved quite of a progress in development of their kind of activity theory, despite of obstructions from the Soviet system. Although they were not considered political dissidents, they were evidently political and scientific outcasts. They had harder time getting promotions and being published, although they managed well their careers in a quite unfriendly environment.
> There are still people in Russia working with that approach, but for linguistic reasons, they are not well known in the West, not well published, and virtually dwelling in their own consciousness.
> In the 1970s and 1980s the MMC start developing the methodology of organizational games. This is a practical application of activity theory for designing and managing social organisms and situations. It was also quite unexpected phenomena for the Soviet scientific community, which dwelled at the philosophical and theoretical layers of thinking and didn't try to get into practice, despite of formal slogans to fuse science and practice. The progress of organizational games was slowed significantly after the political transition.
> Kind regards,
> Lubomir Popov, Ph.D.
> School of Family and Consumer Sciences
> American Culture Studies affiliated faculty
> 309 Johnston Hall,
> Bowling Green, Ohio 43403-0059
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Martin Packer
> Sent: Wednesday, April 03, 2013 9:27 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>> 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>(r) with a donation to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.
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