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[Xmca-l] Re: Leontyev's activities

Lubomir, thanks for suggesting symbolic interactionism as a frame of
incorporating these ideas. Anna-Maija Puroila discusses the legacies of
Goffman in her dissertation (in Finnish) and mentions that there are many
competing and contested interpretation's of Goffman's work. Some say that
his work was structuralist but more often he is associated with symbolic
interactionism, ethnomethodology, or phenomenological sociology. Where
would activity theory fit in among these?

To me Goffman's student's Goodwin's ethno-methdological approach seems
partly compatible with CHAT. In his paper, Action and embodiment within
situated human interaction (2000), Goodwin writes:

"This emphasis on cognition as a public, social process embedded within an
shaped material world is quite consistent with both Vygotskian perspectives
recent work in the social and anthropological study of scientific and
workplace practice
..., but adds to such perspectives an equally strong focus on the details
of language
use and conversational organization."

Like Goodwin, I believe that this attention to details of language use and
conversational organization, and to embodied interactions, in particular,
can enrich CHAT analyses. After all, in many classical CHAT work, we mainly
see analyses of spoken interaction. Greg, to me Goodwin's work on
professional vision gives an elaborate account on the relationships between
meanings and sensory fabric. In particular, in my case of students in a
bird-watching field trip the way he analyzes expert-novice interaction is
very valuable. I can, for example, see lots of highlighting on the part of
the bird expert.

Goodwin's focus on the practices of seeing seems to me very compatible with
Leontiev's theorizing of sensory fabric as constituting and being
constituted of action. Yet, in Goodwin's work the socio-emotional issues
brought in with the Leontiev's personal sense - in line with what Larry has
written - seems to be given less attention in Goodwin. I wonder whether
Goodwin's approach contradicts Leontiev's approach that emphasizes such
internal issues as goals and motives. In my understanding
ethnomethdologists do not usually focus on goals and such.

The Gothenburg center lead by Roger Säljö has explored ethnomethodological
inspired aspects of Goffman in relation to their version of sociocultural
perspective. See e.g the dissertation of Annika Lantz-Andersson:

Greg, Greeno has theorized the ways in which frames "create certain
affordances that solicit various types of behavior (whether 'cognitive',
'emotional', or some other emically named type)." To my knowledge Greeno's
work here focuses more on cognitive aspects and not that much on emotional
aspects. He uses the notion of positioning in association with frames
(which he relates to Goffman).  "This refers to ways in which an individual
entitled, expected, or perhaps obligated to participate in interactions of
an activity system, such as a classroom or an experimental session
involving interaction with a computer program." (see, A Theory Bite on
Contextualizing, Framing, and Positioning: A Companion to Son and
Goldstone, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07370000903014386)

Greg wrote:
"I might add to this that Goffman speaks of the way in which motivations
are, to a certain extent, entailed by frames (yes, "to a certain extent" -
this does not mean the frames determine them!). Thus, frames bring with
them motivational relevancies as much as individuals do!"

I wonder if this interplay between collective frames and individuals can be
conceptualized with meaning and sense. Object of an activity is framed in
terms of collectively shared meanings. Yet, each individual develops a
personal relationship to the object, that is, a personal sense.

By the way, thanks Mike for pointing out this overstatement of stability
with respect to meanings. This has bothered me a lot, too. A colleague of
mine even asserts that sense is never shared enough to become legitimately
called a shared meaning in Vygotsky/Leontiev sense.


On Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 3:01 AM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

> I agree, very clearly statements of the sense/meaning relation, along with
> the Mandelshtam line, " I forgot the thought I wanted to say, and thought,
> unembodied, returned to the hall of shadows."
> In the quote here, I think LSV is somewhat overstating the stability of
> meaning across contexts; yes relative to the microgenetic processes of
> sense making capturable with
> modern technologies, but not totally "context independent." Even dictionary
> meanings change, as LSV was well aware from his interest in the history of
> words in relation to their appearance in children's vocabularies in
> ontogeny.
> Keeping the simultaneous relevance of several time scales in mind in these
> discussions seems really important, as hard as it is to do.
> mike