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[Xmca-l] Re: Black Underachievement, etc.
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- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Black Underachievement, etc.
- From: Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2013 09:24:05 +1100
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I was hoping that others on the list may have intervened by now. I guess
people are still reading your very dense prose! :) But let me respond.
My investigations of radical activity effectively turns the "negative
dialectic," as you call it, back on you. The style of critique which
claims to show that "there is no outside" to the dominant ideology of a
form of society, late capitalist society in particular, first emerged
with Althusser, and became in recent decades, with post-structuralism,
the most powerful mode of argumentation and social philosophy. In other
words, what you call the "negative dialectic" is absolutely a product of
the deology of late capitalism. And it seems to me it is transparently
an "ideological state apparatus," if I may use the term in this way, as
it functions to defend the relations of exploitation against attack. It
also reflects a pervading illusion of life in contemporary capitalism,
viz., that there is no outside, that the great processes of global
markets and capital flow, transnational corporations and so on, leave no
opening for counter-activity, beyond (perhaps) futile protests like the
Occupy movement (which after all only lauds extreme libertarianism). The
challenge for social philosophers is to develop a theory of how
individual may exercise genuine agency in relation to this situation. No
easy matter, granted. I think CHAT offers a crucial element of such a
philosophical standpoint, because it brings to its theory of the
development of the psyche an undersanding of how the artefacts and
activities of the wider cultural are appropriated and reconstituted in
action. Furthermore, many educational researchers in the CHAT tradition,
and in the broader sociocultural domain, strive to understand how
relations of domination can be (and frequently are) reproduced in the
classroom, unwittingly, as teachers strive to provide an education
whilst treating the students as moral quals.
Are religious fundamentalism and catastrophe really the only alternatives?
Dr. Paul C. Mocombe wrote:
Your assessment of the article is correct. However, I see no
alternative within the dialectic, a la the negative dialectic of the
frankfurt school. I see only three alternatives, which are outside
the dialectical process...islamic fundamentalism, the limits to growth
metaphysics of the earth itself, and haitian vodou? (See my work,
"liberal bourgeois protestanism"...I do not see any solutions that can
emerge out of any dialogue with capital for it inherently implies
maintaining the status quo and giving room to capitalist organization.
We must throw out the baby with the bath water if we are to resolve
the problems with capitalism. ..as an example, jean jacques dessalines
in his debate with toussaint louverture regarding the role of
mulattoes in the haitian revolution suggested that the mulatto elites
must also be killed, along with whites...he felt that in their
identification with their white fathers, the mulatto elites would
reproduce slavery and white supremacy on the island. Toussaint, on
the contrary felt that their technical skills would be needed to
rebuild the island following the revolution. Following the capture of
toussaint. ..dessalines adopted toussaint's position, but was
assassinated by the mulatto alexander petion, who was sent by napoleon
to recapture the island for France. Whereas, dessalines had refused
to pay reparations to France, the two mulatto generals of the
revolution, Petion and Boyer agreed to, and sought to reproduce the
plantation system and franco relations on the island. They had no
alternative logic...metaphorically speaking, the slave sought to be
like the master. That is what is happening in black communities
around the globe....
Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
-------- Original message --------
From: Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 11/01/2013 5:07 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
Subject: [Xmca-l] Black Underachievement, etc.
Paul (one of the authors, who has joined the xmca to paricipate in this
discussion), I want to take out just one point in your paper.
You point out that the workplace relations of industrial and
post-industrial capitalism are reproduced in the classrooms of those
societies. This is unquestionably true. I'll go further. In a study of
forms of radical organisation from 1830 to the present, I observed that
the forms of organisation with which the oppressed groups and classes
have directly and consciously challenged capital have also borrowed
their forms from the contemporary capitalist workplaces. And even the
weapons themselves actually, as well.
However, this general law that the forms of oppression and exploitation,
and even the oppositional forms of activity and modes of thinking spring
from the same social conditions as the relations of production, does not
lead to the conclusion that *therefore* they "lack the potential for
liberation" (p. 362). On the contrary actually.
In particular, I would challenge the contention that dialogical and/or
constructivist forms of teaching/learning necessarily reproduce the
relations of domination of postindustrial societies. I agree that your
observations do make it transparent how such methods, expressive as they
are of the Zeitgeist, may prove ineffective and efforts to transcend the
dominant relations may easily be subverted. But that is not saying very
And what is the alternative? I suspect any real alternative would prove
only to be an insight into emergent forms of capital accumulation (See
Luc Boltanski's "New Spirit of Capitalism" for example).
Troy Richardson's tirade against CHAT (discussed on xmca in July last
year) makes a similar point about dialogical methods of teaching and
learning. I find it more plausible that - attractive as dialogical
teaching and learning may be to us - it may be alien to indigenous and
subaltern cultures (as well as industrial capitalism), and consequently
cross-cultural problems may arise in unwitting application of these
methods across cultural differences. But this is not your claim, is it?
You are saying, I think, that dialogical teaching and learning actually
contributes to the *construction* of these inequalities, and precisely
because it owes it origins to the most advanced methods of thinking of
our postindustrial capitalist society.
Do you have an alternative?