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Re: [xmca] Re: Luria - New Vodka Old Bottle PDF
I think your question why the exclusion of the integration of the
humanities and philosophy into the social sciences [or is it the return
to?] is a founding question if we are to arrive at a creative turning point
in our understandings. I would make an appeal in particular for literature
and historical consciousness to have a central place within the academy.
And within the social *sciences* or social *studies* in particular [as
Cultural-historical and sociohistorical verses must also be included and
seen to be included in our universities of *higher* learning.
On Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 6:36 AM, <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I imagine Nicholas would find mikes suggestion of ethnographic psychology
> to be BORING. Why no call for the integration of philosophy or other
> humanities into the social sciences?
> This sounds to me like the very old argument that the social sciences need
> to be more like the natural sciences.
> Old whine, new bottle...
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Jul 23, 2013, at 3:25 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <email@example.com> wrote:
> > The NY Times ran an op-ed on Sunday that might be of interest to people
> dissatisfied with the current state of academic disciplines:
> > Gray Matter
> > Let's Shake Up the Social Sciences
> > By NICHOLAS A. CHRISTAKIS
> > Published: July 19, 2013
> > TWENTY-FIVE years ago, when I was a graduate student, there were
> departments of natural science that no longer exist today. Departments of
> anatomy, histology, biochemistry and physiology have disappeared, replaced
> by innovative departments of stem-cell biology, systems biology,
> neurobiology and molecular biophysics. Taking a page from Darwin, the
> natural sciences are evolving with the times. The perfection of cloning
> techniques gave rise to stem-cell biology; advances in computer science
> contributed to systems biology. Whole new fields of inquiry, as well as
> university departments and majors, owe their existence to fresh discoveries
> and novel tools.
> > In contrast, the social sciences have stagnated. They offer essentially
> the same set of academic departments and disciplines that they have for
> nearly 100 years: sociology, economics, anthropology, psychology and
> political science. This is not only boring but also counterproductive,
> constraining engagement with the scientific cutting edge and stifling the
> creation of new and useful knowledge. Such inertia reflects an unnecessary
> insecurity and conservatism, and helps explain why the social sciences
> don't enjoy the same prestige as the natural sciences.
> > One reason citizens, politicians and university donors sometimes lack
> confidence in the social sciences is that social scientists too often miss
> the chance to declare victory and move on to new frontiers. Like natural
> scientists, they should be able to say, "We have figured this topic out to
> a reasonable degree of certainty, and we are now moving our attention to
> more exciting areas." But they do not.
> > I'm not suggesting that social scientists stop teaching and
> investigating classic topics like monopoly power, racial profiling and
> health inequality. But everyone knows that monopoly power is bad for
> markets, that people are racially biased and that illness is unequally
> distributed by social class. There are diminishing returns from the
> continuing study of many such topics. And repeatedly observing these
> phenomena does not help us fix them.
> > So social scientists should devote a small palace guard to settled
> subjects and redeploy most of their forces to new fields like social
> neuroscience, behavioral economics, evolutionary psychology and social
> epigenetics, most of which, not coincidentally, lie at the intersection of
> the natural and social sciences. Behavioral economics, for example, has
> used psychology to radically reshape classical economics.
> > Such interdisciplinary efforts are also generating practical insights
> about fundamental problems like chronic illness, energy conservation,
> pandemic disease, intergenerational poverty and market panics. For example,
> a better understanding of the structure and function of human social
> networks is helping us understand which individuals within social systems
> have an outsize impact when it comes to the spread of germs or the spread
> of ideas. As a result, we now have at our disposal new ways to accelerate
> the adoption of desirable practices as diverse as vaccination in rural
> villages and seat-belt use among urban schoolchildren.
> > It is time to create new social science departments that reflect the
> breadth and complexity of the problems we face as well as the novelty of
> 21st-century science. These would include departments of biosocial science,
> network science, neuroeconomics, behavioral genetics and computational
> social science. Eventually, these departments would themselves be
> dismantled or transmuted as science continues to advance.
> > Some recent examples offer a glimpse of the potential. At Yale, the
> Jackson Institute for Global Affairs applies diverse social sciences to the
> study of international issues and offers a new major. At Harvard, the
> sub-discipline of physical anthropology, which increasingly relies on
> modern genetics, was hived off the anthropology department to make the
> department of human evolutionary biology. Still, such efforts are generally
> more like herds splitting up than like new species emerging. We have not
> yet changed the basic DNA of the social sciences. Failure to do so might
> even result in having the natural sciences co-opt topics rightly and
> beneficially in the purview of the social sciences.
> > New social science departments could also help to better train students
> by engaging in new types of pedagogy. For example, in the natural sciences,
> even college freshmen do laboratory experiments. Why is this rare in the
> social sciences? When students learn about social phenomena, why don't they
> go to the lab to examine them - how markets reach equilibrium, how people
> cooperate, how social ties are formed? Newly invented tools make this
> feasible. It is now possible to use the Internet to enlist thousands of
> people to participate in randomized experiments. This seems radical only
> because our current social science departments weren't organized to teach
> this way.
> > For the past century, people have looked to the physical and biological
> sciences to solve important problems. The social sciences offer equal
> promise for improving human welfare; our lives can be greatly improved
> through a deeper understanding of individual and collective behavior. But
> to realize this promise, the social sciences, like the natural sciences,
> need to match their institutional structures to today's intellectual
> > Nicholas A. Christakis, a physician and sociologist at Yale University,
> is a co-director of the Yale Institute for Network Science.
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
> On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> > Sent: Monday, July 22, 2013 9:16 PM
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: Luria - New Vodka Old Bottle PDF
> > Greg, I think you are completely right with the way you describe the
> interdisciplinary blindness inquestion. Michael Hedelberger (for yet
> another example) referred to the "folk psychology" of natural scientists,
> neuroscientists in particular, when they unwittingly step outside their
> discipline and talk about psychology instead of brains.
> > Also, I think you are completely right in disagreeing with suggestions
> to replace the relevant interdisciplinary gulf with a dichotomy beween
> thinking and speaking, and insisting that actions always include thinking
> and that speaking is an action. Otherwise, we are not talking about
> actions, but behaviour. Behaviour is the result of abstracting actions away
> from consciousness. And thinking cannot be abstracted away from voluntary
> motor actions which was the topic of Luria's book, of course.
> > And this is the point isn't it? Whether a sensible social science can
> abstract from (individual) consciousness and rely only on objectified forms
> of mind (such as the recorded word), and whether a sensible psychology can
> absrtact away from the formative processes of the practical and material
> objectifications of thought inherited by every individual from their
> societal environment.
> > Andy
> > Greg Thompson wrote:
> >> Michael,
> >> I'm still having a hard time figuring out how any instance of speaking
> >> even thinking about speaking is not action.
> >> But Philip's post suggests a slightly different way of thinking about
> >> discourse/action distinction.
> >> Perhaps the discourse/action distinction is better captured by
> >> vs. group than by ideal vs. material, with discourse being the group
> >> phenomena that makes certain ways of thinking about things more or less
> >> available, and action being the way that people use discourse in actual
> >> practice (and which, in the collective, becomes discourse). Discourse is
> >> the thing that circulates in society and is instantiatable in any
> >> individual instance of bringing discourse to life by action (whether
> >> speaking or doing).
> >> I'd be happy to talk Treyvon, but maybe better to stick to the question
> >> why a google search of "ethnographic psychology" turns up only a
> handful of
> >> articles and no insitutional centers? This is a fantastic idea - so why
> >> hasn't it caught hold?
> >> Thinking through discourse and action (which have to be two sides of the
> >> same coin), "ethnographic psychology" doesn't take hold because it
> >> fit with discourse or with action (and I would still prefer to put these
> >> together, b.c. in academia, let's face it, if discourse isn't action,
> >> we are doing a whole lotta nothing! But I'll keep them separate in
> order to
> >> try them on). Where discourse includes the predominant ways of thinking
> >> about what psychology is and action involves things like publishing in
> >> actual journals that will allow one to keep one's job. The configuration
> >> that rules out "ethnographic psychology" is thus very complex. I don't
> >> that changing discourse or actions is really going to change things
> >> the supports of discourse and action are altered in some way. And I
> >> think it is just one single support that can be knocked out (e.g.
> >> capitalism). Rather, I think there are lot of interconnecting supports
> >> make "the way things are (e.g., no "ethnographic psychology")" appear to
> >> most to be right and good and true. These include such myriad things as
> >> language (in the broadest sense of Western languages, but also in the
> >> specific sense of the arcane lingos of different disciplines),
> >> institutitutional structures ("joint" appointments remain the exception
> >> most universities), sociopolitical arrangements, and, yes, capitalism.
> >> isn't a perfect impenetrable Althusserian structure, some of the
> >> may contain contradictions that make them prone to collapse, and others
> >> be less well interconnected. This is all just to say that there is hope,
> >> but the challenge is to identify where the shaky supports are and to
> >> out how to encourage their collapse. And I'll do my part at pointing
> >> out.
> >> So, yes, discourse and action are the place to start.
> >> -greg
> >> On Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 12:52 PM, White, Phillip <
> >>> wrote:
> >>> Michael, in response to your multiple questions here, i'm going to
> >>> a guess based on my experiences teaching children who are learning a
> >>> language as well as teaching teachers how to teach second language
> >>> for me, the communicative discourse drives our actions.
> >>> when working with second language learners, when the learners had
> >>> supports, particularly visual and auditory, they were often stronger in
> >>> mastering an activity. for example, in science when comparing two
> >>> and finding similarities and differences. if on the board that
> >>> was posted, "I noticed that _____________ was similar to
> >>> because ___________________."
> >>> in time, i noticed that when the teachers were learning teaching
> >>> strategies, and, say, i'd focus on utilizing open questions, when i
> >>> provided them with a piece of paper with specific open question
> >>> they were more easily and more quickly able to change their questioning
> >>> behaviors.
> >>> while the teachers knew the difference between a closed question and
> >>> open question, they didn't have the language structures, say, on the
> tip of
> >>> their tongue. as time passed and they became more fluent with open
> >>> questions, then they were better able to control their questioning
> >>> strategies, which also demanded that the students then had to respond
> >>> more than "yes", "no" or other monosyllabic discourses.
> >>> my two bits.
> >>> phillip
> >>> Phillip White, PhD
> >>> Urban Community Teacher Education Program
> >>> Site Coordinator
> >>> Montview Elementary, Aurora, CO
> >>> firstname.lastname@example.org
> >>> or
> >>> email@example.com
> >>> ________________________________________
> >>> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [email@example.com] On
> >>> Of Glassman, Michael [firstname.lastname@example.org]
> >>> Sent: Monday, July 22, 2013 12:16 PM
> >>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> >>> Subject: RE: [xmca] Re: Luria - New Vodka Old Bottle PDF
> >>> There is, it seems to me, a really big problem, or divide, that has
> >>> haunting the issue of communicative discourse and action.
> >>> Which is primary? And I don't think this is a frivolous question - and
> >>> the idea that it is in a constant cycle has a difficult time working
> >>> because the question always comes up where do we as researchers enter
> >>> cycle?
> >>> Does communicative discourse drive our actions? And do we change our
> >>> actions by changing communicative discourse?
> >>> Or does action drive our communicative discourse? And we change our
> >>> communicative discourse through changing our actions.
> >>> Do we change racism in America by getting people to change their
> >>> communicative discourse about Treyvon Martin?
> >>> Or do we get people to engage in more just actions and allow this to
> >>> to a change in communicative discourse.
> >>> One of the difficulties with Vygotsky, at least from my view, is that
> >>> can be interpreted both ways, depending of course on what you are
> >>> and level of confirmation bias.
> >>> Michael
> > --
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > *Andy Blunden*
> > Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> > Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts
> > http://marxists.academia.edu/AndyBlunden