[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: VS: [xmca] Re: Knotworking (ex: Double stimulation?)

And as Mike sketched a few days ago, what an amazing little country Finland is!!

The point is that in order to understand an object (such as the unique nature of Finland, or the upsurge in Brazil) - complex, dynamic entities - we need *units* which are themselves processes of development. For example, I don't believe we can understand a nation state as a collection of *social groups* (eg ethnic, or economic, etc.), but rather as a process made up of many other distinct processes of development, i.e., projects, which interact with one another.

Formally speaking, the "systems of activity" which Yrjo introduced are indeed processes of development; but "project" is much more explicitly so. Further, we individuals apprehend these units (be they "systems of activity" or "projects") as *concepts*, and the rules, norms, community, division of labour, etc. etc., *flow from the concept* as does the *ever-changing conception of the *object*. If objects (and community, norms, etc.), pre-exist an activity, then we don't have Activity Theory at all, we have some variety of structuralism of functionalism.

So it is important to begin from the project, each of which is a particular instance of a concept, and all the elements (norms, tools, etc.) of the project flow from its concept and the conditions in which it is developing.

So for example, I don't think it is appropriate to conceive the social movements, voluntary associations, protests, political conflicts and alliances of 20th century Finland as "systems" or "institutions." They are projects, projects which constructed modern Finland, and which indeed, one day, become "systems", but never irreversibly. The institutions which are the products of social movements, protests, and so on (projects) are never irreversibly reified as "fields" or "figured worlds" or "pratico-inerts" or "structures" or any of the other renderings of the social fabric as composed of dead and lacking in teleological content.


Rauno Huttunen wrote:

Similar things happened in Finland too. See article by professor Martti Siisiäinen: Social Movements, Voluntary Associations and Cycles of Protest in Finland 1905-91 (Scandinavian Political Studies, Bind 15, 1992).



Lähettäjä: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] käyttäjän Andy Blunden [ablunden@mira.net] puolesta
Lähetetty: 26. kesäkuuta 2013 3:30
Kopio: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Aihe: Re: [xmca] Re: Knotworking (ex: Double stimulation?)

But to make a distinction is not necessarily to set up a dichotomy.

In Australian social history the appearance of voluntary associations n
the 19th century (mostly trade union-type organisations, but also sports
and recreation, mutual-aid of various kinds, and later political parties
and groups) was a significant development, which meant people regularly
travelling long distances to stitch together the fabric of the emerging
nation. In the US, the parallel role was played, I believe, to a great
extent, also by Protestant sects, who pioneered the building of new
bonds of sociability and trust across great distances.

These New World projects constructed a new kind of civil society and the
basis for modernity. According to Hegel for example, modernity is
characterised by the eclipse of family as the chief bond and political
force in a state, by voluntary associations, such as professional
associations or regional community organisations, where people of
differing traditions construct new modern conditions of collaboration.
But of course, the family and the state both remain in place!


Greg Thompson wrote:
Yes, Andy, I think the anthropological notion of kinship captures your
point that not all biological relatives are "kin". Anthropologist
David Schneider, for example, points out how kinship is really just
the Aristotelian notion of "identity", and that "kinship" is
fundamentally a matter of sameness of substance. Thus, political and
religious affiliations are, in his view, systems of kinship.

Seems like the same would be true of so-called "voluntary association"
(scare quotes because of skepticism of notions of voluntary and the
assumptions it makes about us as subjects). Any voluntary association
worth its salt will surely have this sense of shared substance (and
with regard to the making of this shared substance, Durkheim is
essential - but that's a different story for a different time!). And
don't most of these organizations have some sense of kinship built
into their relational terms, whether "brother" or "brotherhood" or
"family" or whatever?


On Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 6:47 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
<mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    Yes, there is no doubt that the commitment many people have to
    continuing the work of their parents and even ancestors, and their
    investment in their children, evidences a project, an archetypal
    project in fact. "Voluntary associations" are historically a
    relatively recent invention, prior to which kinship was possibly
    the most significant project in human life. Of course, it is not
    always the case that a kinship relation always indicates the
    relevance of the concept of "project" - I have cousins whom I have
    never met and to whom I have no commitment whatsoever.


xmca mailing list

*Andy Blunden*
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts

xmca mailing list