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[Xmca-l] Re: Polysemy of "Community"

So I can see a problem with making "community" the subject matter, or "unit of analysis" for a study;

We agree. That is why activity settings are the units of analysis we use.

one would have to first select an artefact or combination of artefacts, (such as language and land) which serves to define the basis of the said "community." The point then is that the "community" is *not* defined by shared *meanings*;

	So why define community by artifacts? Why not by shared meanings?

in fact, different components of the "community" may attach diametrically opposite meanings to a given artefact (word, symbol, tool, ...) or even use it in ways which are quite incommensurable.

If community is defined by shared meanings, those with "diametrically opposite meanings" would by definition belong to different cultural communities (even if they did live in the same geographical unit).

But! the material form of the artefact is *universal* in what ever way it is used, meant or interpreted. The *materiality* of artefacts is the foundation was what is *universal* in human life. Projects give us what is *particular* in human life (ascribing different meanings to one and the same artefact), and actions (not persons) give us what is *individual* in human life, for the purposes of theoretical analysis.

The material form of an artifact may be universal in the sense that we may all agree on the label for it. However, the artifact may have very different meanings for us and these meanings may lead to quite different actions and, as you point out, be the basis for conflict.