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[Xmca-l] Re: Activity Setting: Shared Meaning


To further reflect on the other central term *intersubjectivity* within the
article. In the native community the adults observed the youth and
reflected from a distance and composed reasons [within the adult
conversations] ABOUT the youth. John Shotter would describe that type of
knowing [knowing-that] The youth also reflected on the adults and composed
reasons why they were turning away from the adult community [knowing-that]
Shotter is drawing our attention to a realm of intersubjectity which occurs
as [knowing from within]. This is not an intersubjectivity that is formed
[past tense as reflected intersubjectivity]. It is an intersubjectivity
forming within our ways of talking as direct conversation [con=with]
This is reminiscent of Mead's conception of "calling out the response of
the other"
Alfred Schultz also explored *intersubjectivity* as a situation of
elliptical communicative practices: one situation, two subjective
perspectives. Schultz assumed the two subjects within the situation if
sharing complementary or common purposes would relegate the coexisting
individual differences to the background as the communicative common
situation *constitutes* a "we-relationship. Notice the highlighting of the
relational we-relationship as primaryand not highlighting the *I* or the
Schultz said it was in the face to face TURNING towards the other [and the
other responding by turning] which constituted the *we-relationship* within
the action of intentionally turning toward the other.
I read Mead, Schultz, Shotter, exploring a different realm of forming
intersubjectivity in contrast to formed intersubjectivity.

Schultz used the term *intercommunication* to draw attention to the
contrast of focusing on one way communication [knowing-that, or
knowing-how] on the one hand, TOWARDS  what he, Mead, and Shotter are
privileging as *knowing-within* as we-relationship.

The act of each turning toward the other as  reciprocal intersubjective
forming within conversation contrasts with the reflective [past] awareness
of formed intersubjectivity as we come to share common meanings and goals.

The quality Mead is presenting [calling out the response of the other by
turning toward the other] I read as a *moral question* about how we ought
to respond to the call of the other. This is an intersubjective  conception
but may emphasize another aspect of intersubjectivity.

Community and culture within this understanding of intersubjectivity must
include both shared meanings, shared activities, but also include how
culture and community encourage calling out and turning towards the call
and responding.

Cliff, the question of intersubjectivity [forming and formed] within
activity settings, which brings in other discourses [genres] exploring
intersubjectivity may be my own  idiosyncratic perspective. Shared meaning
may form when perception and action are mediated TROUGH affective turning
towards the other, as well as shared activities where activity develops
shared meanings. I sense the forming and formed intersubjectivity as
complementary but wanted to bring to the fore another realm of knowing.
What Shotter calls knowing of a third kind [knowing from within as a moral

On Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 7:21 PM, Cliff O'Donnell <cliffo@hawaii.edu> wrote:

> Thanks for your thoughts, Lubomir and David. We agree that community and
> culture can be defined many ways for different purposes. One of the
> purposes of our article was to invite others to offer ways that they would
> unite the concepts. We also agree that individuals in the same cultural
> community may differ in their personal understanding of the shared meanings
> of the cultural community, just as individuals differ in their skills,
> thoughts, experiences, and emotions. All of us are a combination of the
> cultures of gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, social economic
> status, etc.
> In our formulation, defining community by shared activities allows the
> assessment of communities by the degree and attributes of the activities
> they share. Also, defining culture by shared meanings allows the assessment
> of cultures by the meanings they share. In our example of the youth and
> adults in a Native American community, the activities and meanings of those
> activities differed dramatically between the youth and adults. The
> difference was so pronounced that the groups formed different cultural
> communities, even though they all lived in the same small town and were all
> from the same Native American tribe. Knowledge of their activities and
> shared meanings was essential in developing an intervention plan and is an
> example of cultural community psychology using CHAT concepts.
> Thanks again for your contributions to this discussion.
> Cliff
> On Aug 13, 2013, at 11:50 AM, David H Kirshner wrote:
>  Just to add a thought on the tricky notion of "shared meaning" that
>> Lubomir focusses on in discussion of culture and community; it seems
>> important to differentiate shared meaning from shared understanding. What
>> is shared in a culture or community are categories of meaning. Individuals
>> who are participants in the culture, or members of the community, may draw
>> quite differently from the shared categories in constructing personal
>> understandings. To push this a bit further, we might say that a culture may
>> be comprised of (or may encompass) a range of discrete categories or
>> paradigms of meaning. Cultures can be distinguished from one another by
>> substantially different constellations of categories. However, communities,
>> as more local entities constituted within cultures, are defined in terms of
>> a politics of interpretation. Personal understandings within a community
>> are bounded by community norms regarding appropriate categories of meaning
>> that can be drawn upon with respect to those critical matters of interest
>> that define the community.
>> David
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.**edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>[mailto:
>> xmca-l-bounces@**mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On
>> Behalf Of Lubomir Savov Popov
>> Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 1:25 PM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Activity Setting
>> Dear Cliff,
>> Just to respond to your request:
>> You have good grounds for the integration of culture and community. In
>> sociology and anthropology, it is pretty common to treat a community as a
>> culture. On the other hand, a culture can or might define a community,
>> build cohesion, we-feeling, etc. Of course, the
>> definition/conceptualization of community is very complex, but I am talking
>> only in respect to the question you formulated.
>> Culture can be conceptualized in the framework of the subject; in the
>> framework of activity, and as on object of study by itself. Culture is also
>> materialized in the object of activity, but this forms a different plane of
>> study. Other options are possible too. I need to keep short here.
>> Community can be conceptualized as an activity system, as a culture, as a
>> social group, etc., depending on the scholarly objectives. When community
>> is conceptualized as an activity system, culture can be treated as an
>> inherent component of activity. However, this is not the only way to treat
>> culture in this situation. I just mention this one. Culture is about shared
>> meanings, but it is also more than shared meanings. Of course, you can keep
>> that shared meaning definition if you interpret many other components as
>> shared or shared meanings.
>> You focus on the development of shared meanings in shared activities.
>> However, the concept of community can be delineated with different foci
>> depending on the scholarly objectives. We cannot describe or analyze all
>> aspects of a phenomenon. We have to select several. I mean when we are
>> interdisciplinary. Otherwise, we select only one aspect that is core for a
>> particular discipline or a research goal.
>> Community is a very complex category. It stands for many types of social
>> groups and also for many other social and cultural phenomena. I will stop
>> here.
>> Best wishes,
>> Lubomir
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.**edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>[mailto:
>> xmca-l-bounces@**mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>] On
>> Behalf Of Cliff O'Donnell
>> Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 2:06 PM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Activity Setting
>> Thanks, Larry. You are highlighting a key point in our article.
>> Quoting again,
>> "If we define community by shared activity and culture by shared
>> meanings, the basis for a theoretical integration of the concepts of
>> community and culture into cultural community psychology becomes apparent.
>> The key concept needed for such integration is one that can show how shared
>> meanings develop from shared activities. That key concept is
>> intersubjectivity." (p. 23)
>> Following up on that point, we would greatly appreciate the thoughts of
>> the XMCA group on the value of integrating the concepts of culture and
>> community. Our article presents the implications of doing so for cultural
>> community psychology. What implications does the XMCA group see for CHAT?
>> Cliff
>> On Aug 13, 2013, at 7:36 AM, Larry Purss wrote:
>>  Cliff,
>>> The shift from the individual TO *intersubjective* within activity
>>> settings seems central.
>>> As we explore activity settings, *inter-subjectivity* is also a
>>> central term Larry
>>> On Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 11:01 PM, Cliff O'Donnell <cliffo@hawaii.edu>
>>> wrote:
>>>  Thank you for your response, Lubomir. Roger Barker was an important
>>>> influence on my thinking earlier in my career. His work is highly
>>>> respected in community psychology. Quoting from our article, here is
>>>> the distinction we see between behavior setting and activity setting:
>>>> "The subjective focus of activity settings distinguishes them from
>>>> the behavior settings developed by Barker
>>>> (1960 , 1968 ). In behavior settings, the focus is on objective molar
>>>> behavior specified by time and place. Behaviors are defined by the
>>>> roles or positions of people in the setting and activity is used to
>>>> coordinate their behaviors. Suggestions have been made to alter
>>>> behavior setting theory to include a wider range of individual
>>>> behaviors, cognitions, and interventions in the setting (e.g., Luke
>>>> et al. 1991 ; Schoggen
>>>> 1989 ; Wicker 1987 ). In contrast, activity setting theory unifies
>>>> the objective and subjective by showing how activity is influenced
>>>> and intersubjectivity developed.
>>>> Rather than a collection of individual behaviors and cognitions,
>>>> intersubjectivity develops as a setting characteristic that becomes
>>>> the shared meanings of culture and provides the basis for cultural
>>>> community psychology." (p. 24)
>>>> For a more thorough presentation of our use of the concept of
>>>> activity setting, please see:
>>>> O'Donnell, C. R. & Tharp, R. G. (1990). Community intervention guided
>>>> by theoretical developments. In A. S. Bellack, M. Hersen, & A. E.
>>>> Kazdin (Eds.), International handbook of behavior modification and
>>>> therapy, 2nd Edition (pp. 251-266). New York: Plenum Press.
>>>> Cliff
>>>> Clifford R. O'Donnell, Ph.D.
>>>> Professor Emeritus
>>>> Past-President, Society for Community Research and Action (APA
>>>> Division 27)
>>>> University of Hawai'i
>>>> Department of Psychology
>>>> 2530 Dole Street
>>>> Honolulu, HI 96822
>>>> On Aug 12, 2013, at 7:12 AM, Lubomir Savov Popov wrote:
>>>> Hi Andy,
>>>>> I am also interested to find the term "activity setting" in
>>>>> Vigotsky's writings or those of his followers, including everyone in
>>>>> the East European activity theory tradition. I would appreciate
>>>>> articles or specific references and page numbers. I need this to
>>>>> anchor some ideas and to pay tribute to earlier theorists if they
>>>>> have worked on this.
>>>>> I am also interested if there are people on this list who work on
>>>>> the development of the concept of activity setting or on activity
>>>>> theory in relation to the planning and design of built environment.
>>>>> They can contact me at the e-mail below my signature or via this
>>>>> list, whichever is more convenient. I was going to make such a
>>>>> request on this list some time ago, but now is a good occasion for
>>>>> this.
>>>>> To my knowledge, no one in the East European activity theory
>>>>> tradition has used the term "activity setting," at least till the
>>>>> late 1980s. If I have missed something, it is good to catch up.
>>>>> I personally work (on and off) on the concept of activity setting
>>>>> since the early 1980s. However, I develop it as a methodological
>>>>> category for the study of built environment. I have to acknowledge
>>>>> that I got the idea for activity setting from Roger Barker's
>>>>> "behavior setting." At that time, in East Europe, the concept of
>>>>> behavior was considered one-sided and with less explanatory power
>>>>> than the concept of activity. There was no way to introduce the
>>>>> behavior setting concept without setting the reaction of mainstream
>>>>> social scientists. Even if someone dared to suggest the behavior
>>>>> setting concept in an article, the reviewers will automatically
>>>>> recommend to rework it as "activity setting." In East European
>>>>> social science of that time, behavior referred mostly to the
>>>>> visible, mechanistic aspects of activity or in the sense of
>>>>> "demeanor."
>>>>> Bob Bechtel has done a good work in the early 1980 expanding on
>>>>> Barker's behavior setting, operationalizing his ideas for the field
>>>>> of Environment and Behavior (Architecture and Human Behavior;
>>>>> Man-Environment Systems).
>>>>> However, this work didn't continue. On the other hand, at that time,
>>>>> it was too early to talk about activity settings in the USA. It is
>>>>> early even now, in particular in the field of Environment and
>>>>> Behavior. Many people in that field resent the idea of ditching
>>>>> behavior for activity. They believe that the concept of behavior
>>>>> setting is good enough and there is no need to introduce one more
>>>>> concept of similar kind.
>>>>> In relation to the field of Environment and Behavior, I personally
>>>>> believe that Barker has offered very useful ideas and they can
>>>>> become a stepping stone for developing the concept of activity
>>>>> setting. The activity setting concept will allow us to use the
>>>>> apparatus of activity theory which is more powerful than the concept
>>>>> of behavior. I also believe that the development of the activity
>>>>> setting theory for the fields of teaching or management or social
>>>>> work and community building will be somewhat different. Their focus
>>>>> will be different and this will lead to working on different
>>>>> details. As usual, it is not possible to study everything about one
>>>>> object of study. We have to make difficult choices regarding aspects
>>>>> and depth: what to study first, what to defer, and what to skip.
>>>>> Barker had a lot of conflicts with main stream psychologists (not
>>>>> activity theorists). I have heard from Bob Bechtel (a student of
>>>>> Barker)
>>>>> that psychologists were telling Barker: Roger, you think just like a
>>>>> sociologist, which in psychological parlance meant Roger, you are a
>>>>> SOB.
>>>>> This illustrates the disciplinary biases and divisions.
>>>>> Best wishes,
>>>>> Lubomir
>>>>> Lubomir Popov, Ph.D.
>>>>> School of Family and Consumer Sciences American Culture Studies
>>>>> Affiliated Faculty Bowling Green State University
>>>>> 309 Johnston Hall,
>>>>> Bowling Green, Ohio 43403-0059
>>>>> Lspopov@bgsu.edu
>>>>> 419.372.7835
>> Clifford R. O'Donnell, Ph.D.
>> Professor Emeritus
>> Past-President, Society for Community Research and Action (APA
>> Division 27)
>> University of Hawai'i
>> Department of Psychology
>> 2530 Dole Street
>> Honolulu, HI 96822
> Clifford R. O'Donnell, Ph.D.
> Professor Emeritus
> Past-President, Society for Community Research and Action (APA Division 27)
> University of Hawai‘i
> Department of Psychology
> 2530 Dole Street
> Honolulu, HI 96822