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[Xmca-l] Re: poverty/class



Greg--

Actually, I think of Vera's work as precisely the opposite of an
anti-social theory of creativity (but perhaps that is just what you
meant to say?). Vera's work on creative collaborations, for example,
stresses that in and alongside every famous creative voice there is at
least one and probably many more equally creative voices. It seems so
obvious to me, when I read Tolstoy, that I am really hearing the voice
of his wife, and not just when the female characters speak; I cannot
be surprised that nothing he wrote after the crackup of his marriage
measures up to War and Peace or Anna K. Of course, the social medium
of art cannot be reduced to the interpersonal in this way; but I think
Vera would say that the tragedy of our artists is that it often must
be.

Actually, reading over what I wrote, I discovered with some chagrin
that, your kind comments to the contrary notwithstanding, it is not
particularly well framed. As usual, I have left far too much daylight
between the mounting and the canvas. The Halliday quote fits
reasonably well but that is mostly thanks to him not me. But I meant
to say that Bakhtin's ideas were being portrayed at the conference as
being thoroughly "childist" and this childism was, according to many
speakers (e.g. Eugene Matusov, Ana Marjanovic-Shane and others) what
made Bakhtin preferable to Vygotsky (even though everybody has now
admitted that Bakhtin was, personally, a bit of a scoundrel, not least
for the way he treated HIS partners in dialogue, Voloshinov and
Medvedev).

This I found inexplicable. How can anyone read Bakhtin (who appears to
have loathed children and who certainly wrote that child's play had
neither a moral nor an aesthetic dimension) as a childist? But the
comments of Mike and Andy, on how creativity is being set out as a
kind of "Weak Utopianism" (to quote Michael Gardiner's phrase), make a
certain sense of this nonsense. The collapse of the USSR is to be
taken as a collapse of the cultural-historical in psychology as well.
Henceforth, the social is to be reduced to the interpersonal, and the
creative society to the clever society of one.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies


On 23 March 2014 14:29, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> wrote:
> David,
> Loved your framing of this as "Anti-social creativity". This is the model
> of creativity in much of the West! (cf. Vera John-Steiner's work). It's
> everywhere. Read that biography of Steve Jobs - wait, no don't do that...
>
> Also, fascinating (and sad) to hear about how capitalism is wrenching older
> workers in Korea. Sounds to me like "Abstract labor" concretized! (i.e.,
> here is the concrete manifestation of "abstract labor" - labor viewed in
> the abstract - one worker is as good as another regardless of who that
> laborer is).
>
> Nothing is sacred with capitalism, seems another "Chinese wall" is
> crumbling under the weighty flow of global capital...
>
> Very sad (and I suspect that those older workers never knew what hit them -
> they certainly didn't expect it).
> -greg
>
>
>
> On Sat, Mar 22, 2014 at 3:52 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> As you probably know, Korea is currently run by the neomilitaristic
>> scion of the previous dictator, who took power in a transparently
>> rigged election. No, I don't mean that Korea--I mean this one.
>>
>> Park Geunhye, the daughter of our former dictator Park Cheonghi, came
>> to power about a year ago, first by stealing the opposition's clothes
>> (to be fair, they made it very easy for her by having such a very
>> unambitious programme to begin with). The National Intelligence
>> Service then flooded the country with highly creative Tweets alleging
>> that her opponents were soft on communism, one of those new
>> mobilizations of social media that you may not have heard so much
>> about.
>>
>> Anyway, to make a short story long, having stolen the opposition's
>> clothes, she is now obliged to renege on her promises in the interests
>> of those who financed her campaign. Now, part of this involves
>> reneging on a massive programme of social welfare that Koreans
>> desperately wanted (they deposed the mayor of Seoul in the interests
>> of keeping a free lunch programme, for example). But surely, one must
>> put something in the place of a promise of pensions, job creation
>> schemes, minimum wage, etc, mustn't one?
>>
>> No, not really--all you have to do is babble and blather about a new
>> "creativity-driven economy". The "creativity driven economy" is a
>> pleasant way of referring to a highly unpleasant fact of life. In
>> South Korea, where we nominally respect the elderly (and we certainly
>> pay them more than the young) it soon becomes cheaper to employ four
>> or five young people rather than one older one. This means,
>> necessarily, booting out older workers around age fifty and hiring
>> younger ones to replace them. The older workers (and, for that atter,
>> younger ones who cannot find unemployment) are then given a little
>> handout and encouraged to "create" their own jobs.
>>
>> Of course, for this to work (as a scam, I mean, it's obviously a
>> non-starter as a social welfare scheme), one really has to try to
>> inculcate the kind of "every man for himself" mentality that people
>> have in other countries, and that is really a bit of a poser in a
>> country which, although highly stratified socially, is still very
>> collectivistic culturally. That is where education comes in.
>>
>> Consider the folllowing quotation from Halliday (2004, the Language of
>> Early Childhood, p. 251):
>>
>> "Much of the discussion of chlidren's language development in the last
>> quarter of a century (Halliday is writing in 1991--DK), especially in
>> educational contexts, has been permeated by a particular ideological
>> construction of childhood. This view combines individualism,
>> romanticism, and what Martin calls 'childism', the Disneyfied vision
>> of a child that is constructed in the media and in certain kinds of
>> kiddielit. Each child is presented as a freestanding, autonomous
>> being; and learning consists in releasing and brining into flower the
>> latent awareness that is already there in the bud. This is the view
>> that was embodied in the 'creativity' and 'personal growth' models of
>> education by James Britton, John Dixon, and David Holbrook in Great
>> Britain; and more recently, from another standpoint, in the United
>> States in Donald Graves' conception of chldren's writing as process
>> and of their texts as property to be individually owned. It has been
>> supported theoretically first by Chomskyaninnatism and latterly by
>> cognitive science models which interpret learning as the acquisition
>> of ready0made information by some kind of independent process device."
>>  (I omit Halliday's references).
>>
>> My wife and I recently attended the Dialogic Pedagogy conference on
>> Bakhtin in New Zealand where these "childist" ideas were very much in
>> evidence, and where they were explicitly opposed to Vygotskyan ones!
>> At first I found this opposition rather bizarre, not least because I
>> had recently reviewed an excellent piece of work by our own
>> Wolff-Michael Roth for the Dialogic Pedagogy Journal. Roth's piece,
>> which you can read in the DPJ archive, had argued for the
>> compatibility of Bakhtin and Vygotsky (on theoretical grounds it is
>> true). There was also a very fine presentation by Michael Gardiner on
>> Bakhtin, the autonomists, and the 99/1% discourse surrounding the
>> Occupy movement.
>>
>> Now I am starting to understand a little better. There is, actually, a
>> model of creativity out there which is individualistic,
>> entrepreneurial, anti-socialist, and even anti-social. The problem is,
>> it's also anti-creativity.
>>
>> David Kellogg
>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
>>
>> On 23 March 2014 04:26, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
>> > Andy,
>> > Your comment:
>> >
>> >  "Avram, I am not convinced that creating niche economies can in any way
>> > ameliorate the domination of big capital. We have to find a way to
>> > penetrate and subvert the sources of capitalist exploitation, rather than
>> > offering "alternatives,"
>> >
>> > suggests there may be ways to potentially penetrate and subvert "at the
>> > source" rather than act to *create* alternatives.
>> >
>> >  I have wondered if my utopian sympathies which show my curiosity with
>> > exploring *alternatives* can be viewed as *living experiments* or *living
>> > laboratories* where alternative life styles and attitudes are generated
>> and
>> > lived.
>> > It must be my personal experiences with *alternate communities* which
>> have
>> > attempted to actualize their ideal alternatives. I must admit, most of
>> > these experiments are failures. However Cultural Historical Theory
>> > developed in an *alternate setting* and Dewey and Mead in Chicago
>> gathered
>> > together a committed group with shared ideals.
>> >
>> > In order to penetrate capitalism *at its source* may require
>> demonstrating
>> > other ways of life as experiments which express other *values*. Some of
>> > these alternative approaches will include *alternative community*.
>> >
>> > The current discussion on the drift of *university departments*
>> > suggests alternative forms of gathering may need to come into existence
>> to
>> > express alternative *values* However I also accept this *hope* may be
>> naïve
>> > and not grounded in recognition of the depth of capitalist ideology which
>> > co-ops ALL utopian ideals.  Therefore the requirement to subvert the
>> > *source*?
>> >
>> > To once again return to Alex Kozulin's book which is expressing a theme.
>> >  He is exploring the *double-faceted* nature of consciousness and
>> suggests
>> > the
>> >
>> > "interpretive or metacognitive function [aspect?] of consciousness may
>> have
>> > an AUTONOMY from REGULATIVE AND CONTROLLING functions.
>> >
>> > I wonder if this *autonomy* can extend to *alternative communities*
>> forming
>> > to express alternative *values*?
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > On Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 7:50 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> >
>> >> One of the themes of the correlation you mention, Mike, is the focus on
>> >> "the creative industries." There are theories about the way cities can
>> >> escape from their rust-bucket depression by promoting "the creative
>> >> industries." These include software development (e.g. computer games),
>> >> advertising, packaging and fashion. That's probably fine for urban
>> renewal,
>> >> except for the artists who get booted out of their old warehouses which
>> get
>> >> done up for the expected "creative industries," but where it's has a big
>> >> negative impact in the academy is in the "critical sciences." People
>> >> involved in social and political criticism are suddenly faced with
>> >> imperatives to serve the "creative industries." So feminist,
>> philosophical
>> >> and  political critiques, which were surviving by a thread, now have to
>> >> educate software makers who are building computer games or artists who
>> are
>> >> designing advertisements all in the name of needing to support the
>> >> "creative industries."
>> >>
>> >> Avram, I am not convinced that creating niche economies can in any way
>> >> ameliorate the domination of big capital. We have to find a way to
>> >> penetrate and subvert the sources of capitalist exploitation, rather
>> than
>> >> offering "alternatives," I think. Capitalism can do perfectly well
>> without
>> >> a certain percentage of the world's population who find an
>> "alternative".
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> Andy
>> >>
>> >> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> >> *Andy Blunden*
>> >> http://home.mira.net/~andy/
>> >>
>> >>
>> >> mike cole wrote:
>> >>
>> >>>
>> >>> So my noticing of the fascination and promotion of "culture and
>> >>> creativity" discourse, design schools, and neoliberalism may be more
>> than a
>> >>> symptom of failing eyesight?
>> >>> Mike
>> >>>
>> >>> On Friday, March 21, 2014, Avram Rips <arips@optonline.net <mailto:
>> >>> arips@optonline.net>> wrote:
>> >>>
>> >>>     The problem is the connection between people alienated from their
>> >>>     labor, or no labor and building a new democratic structure- that
>> >>>     can happen in a small scale , and spread out to new modes of
>> >>>     production away from the destruction of capital-such as chiapas
>> >>>     and taking over factories in Argentina.
>> >>>     ----- Original Message ----- From: "Andy Blunden" <
>> ablunden@mira.net>
>> >>>     To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>> >>>     Sent: Friday, March 21, 2014 8:35 AM
>> >>>     Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: poverty/class
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>         Yes, it seems to me that the burgeoning inequality created by
>> >>>         neoliberalism is a situation crying out for imaginative social
>> >>>         entrepreneurship, i.e., social movement building. It is good
>> >>>         to hear that the 1/99 protests have generated talk about
>> >>>         inequality, but that in itself does not create a solution,
>> >>>         does it?
>> >>>         Andy
>> >>>         ------------------------------------------------------------
>> >>> ------------
>> >>>         *Andy Blunden*
>> >>>         http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>         Avram Rips wrote:
>> >>>
>> >>>             Innovation and entrepreneurship  in some ways means
>> >>>             capital crowding out social space and solidarity. This is
>> >>>             evident in cities-whole neighborhoods taken over by
>> >>>             wealthy crafts people, and little focus on co-operative
>> >>>             movements for working class people-where a new focus on
>> >>>             participatory democracy can be developed ,and working
>> >>>             class culture in the Gramscian sense. take care! Avram
>> >>>             ----- Original Message ----- From: "mike cole"
>> >>>             <lchcmike@gmail.com>
>> >>>             To: "Andy Blunden" <ablunden@mira.net>
>> >>>             Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
>> >>>             <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>> >>>             Sent: Friday, March 21, 2014 12:31 AM
>> >>>             Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: poverty/class
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>                 Andy--- My intent in the garbled sentence you query
>> >>>                 was to suggest that the
>> >>>                 discourse in the US around vicious inequalities has
>> >>>                 increased markedly in
>> >>>                 the past year in tandem with a kind of frenzy in those
>> >>>                 parts of academia I
>> >>>                 come in contact with about "design, culture, and
>> >>>                 creativity" all of which
>> >>>                 are linked to innovation and entrepreneurship. I very
>> >>>                 interested in the
>> >>>                 nature of imagination and creativity but I they often
>> >>>                 appear to be new code
>> >>>                 words for social and individual salvation in a lean,
>> >>>                 mean, neo-liberal
>> >>>                 world.
>> >>>
>> >>>                 Maybe just another of my confusions.
>> >>>                 mike
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>                 On Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 6:14 PM, Andy Blunden
>> >>>                 <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> >>>
>> >>>                     Mike, could you clarify a little your comment
>> >>>                     below ...
>> >>>                     ------------------------------
>> >>> ------------------------------------------
>> >>>
>> >>>                     *Andy Blunden*
>> >>>                     http://home.mira.net/~andy/
>> >>>                     <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>                     mike cole wrote:
>> >>>
>> >>>                         ... My fear that is appearance is
>> >>>                         non-accidentally rated to explosion of
>> >>>                         concern about poverty/class (the 1%/99% idea
>> >>>                         has become ubiquitous in
>> >>>                         American
>> >>>                         discourse).
>> >>>
>> >>>                         mike
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>
>>
>>
>
>
> --
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson

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