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

Actually, taking your observation a little more seriously, Mike. ...

I think it would be tactically very beneficial if we cultural psychologists got used to the idea of referring to *consciousness* as an "illusion". But for us, following Marx's idea of "real illusions", illusions which act as real factors in social life and are as imporant in social life as material objects, this by no means detracts from the centrality of "consciousness" as the subject matter of psychology. This offers a point of contact with the neuroscientists, who, seeing themselves as "materialists," also declare that consciousness is an "illusion", because they have been searching high and low for it in the cranium and cannot find it anywhere in there.


Andy Blunden wrote:
But fortunately you do know me better ... don't you? :)

mike cole wrote:
If I didn't know you better, Andy, I could take your opening sentence to be a declaration of your adherence to idealism.

That aside, for sure prolepsis is involved. It is central to the imagined futures of valued life ways, that are then embodied in the larger structures of our everyday involvement in activities. Culturally mediated time is non-linear. Whence our second nature.

On Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 5:15 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    Yes greg, kinship is an ideal, a cultural construct, necessary for
    the maintenance of certain kinds of project. In cultures where
    primogeniture prevailed (Jane Austen's England, Japan, for
    example), if the eldest son was a ne'er-do-well, the head of the
    household would adopt a young man from another family and simply
    declare him eldest son. Just as today, couples seek to adopt in
    order to realise their commitment to project their own life
    project into future generations (prolepsis?). There are many forms.


    Greg Thompson wrote:

        Yes, this idea of projects works very nicely for capturing the
        mutual imbrications of persons in one another's lives.

        But I'm still caught up on "voluntary associations" vis a vis
        kinship. My "beef" here is with the idea of historical
        discontinuity of primitive vs. modern systems. I think there
        always were "voluntary association" as you put it, and perhaps
        the major difference is one of scale.
        Consider this passage from Marshall Sahlins on kinship:

        "On the Alaskan North Slope, the Iñupiat will name children
        and sometimes adults after dead persons, thus making them
        members of their namesakes’ families.  Over a lifetime,
        reports Barbara Bodenhorn (2000: 137), an Iñupiat may acquire
        four or five such names and families, although those who
        bestow the names were not necessarily related before, and in
        any case they are never the birth parents. Begetters, begone:
        natal bonds have virtually no determining force in Iñupiat
        kinship. Kinship statuses are not set by the begetters of
        persons but by their namers. Indeed, it is the child who
        chooses the characteristics of birth, including where he or
        she will be born and of what sex.""

        Thus, kinship itself can be a "voluntary association" that
        holds different groups together. Exogamous affinal kinship
        relationships make the point still more clearly - kinship is
        always a "voluntary association" and one that holds groups
        together in projects by virtue of imputing a sameness of
        Today it seems that the modes of establishing a sameness of
        substance are making all kinds of inter-relations possible
        that were previously unthinkable. Creating bonds by marital
        relations are rather limiting in terms of bond-forming since
        marriages typically involve small numbers of persons -
        notwithstanding polygynous and polyandrous marriages - which
        increase the numbers of connections only slightly. Those
        numbers are miniscule in comparison to the bonds that are
        formed by modern statehood and nationality.

        Benedict Anderson's book Imagined Communities provides a nice
        case study of the kinds of projects that you speak of, Andy,
        and with respect to the emergence of "nationality". In
        Anderson's narrative, states are formed by the process of
        nationalization of a language and, critically, by the creation
        of a national press. Collective projects (the basis for
        imagined communities such as a "state") thus are implied by
        collective representations of happenings in the world.

        But the situation has been transformed still more by recent

        Today a student in Brazil can watch a video of the tazing (or
        pepper-spraying) of a student or bunch of students in
        California and feel a kind of shared substance - that she and
        I share some essential substance of commitment to a cause or
        oppression by a dominant power. It would seem that this
        creates whole new possible forms of
        kinship/nationalism/solidarity. A step towards conditions in
        which workers of the world might begin to see their common
        maybe that's taking things too far.


        On Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 7:16 AM, Andy Blunden
        <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>> wrote:

            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
            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
            with one another.

            Formally speaking, the "systems of activity" which Yrjo
            are indeed processes of development; but "project" is much
            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


            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
        <mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu>>] k&#228;ytt&#228;j&#228;n
                Andy Blunden [ablunden@mira.net
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net

                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

                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
                travelling long distances to stitch together the
        fabric of the
                nation. In the US, the parallel role was played, I
        believe, to
                a great
                extent, also by Protestant sects, who pioneered the
                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
                force in a state, by voluntary associations, such as
                associations or regional community organisations,
        where people of
                differing traditions construct new modern conditions of
                But of course, the family and the state both remain in


                Greg Thompson wrote:
Yes, Andy, I think the anthropological notion of
                    captures your
                    point that not all biological relatives are "kin".
                    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
                    (scare quotes because of skepticism of notions of
                    voluntary and the
                    assumptions it makes about us as subjects). Any
                    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
                    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>
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>
        <mailto:ablunden@mira.net> <mailto: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
                        project in fact. "Voluntary associations" are
                    historically a
                        relatively recent invention, prior to which
                    was possibly
                        the most significant project in human life. Of
                    it is not
                        always the case that a kinship relation always
                    indicates the
                        relevance of the concept of "project" - I have
                    whom I have
                        never met and to whom I have no commitment


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-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------
            *Andy Blunden*
            Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
        <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/> <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
            Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts

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        --         Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
        Visiting Assistant Professor
        Department of Anthropology
        883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
        Brigham Young University
        Provo, UT 84602

-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    *Andy Blunden*
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
    Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts

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Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts

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