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[Xmca-l] Re: poverty/class

why do you say "pace Hegel" Greg?
*Andy Blunden*

Greg Thompson wrote:
Yes, you caught what I was saying in your parenthetical. My point was that
Vera nicely lays out and critiques the dominant view of creativity - i.e.
the one where creativity is anti-social.

And I'd add that in my reading of Bakhtin, I have difficulty imagining him
as a childist, not because of his disdain for children (a topic of which I
had no knowledge prior to your post), but because I see him as drawing on a
different understanding of human subjectivity - one that draws from a
tradition that is not about the intrinsic flowering of the individual but
rather is about the imbricated emergence of an individual who is shot
through / consummated by others. (pace Hegel, imho).


On Sun, Mar 23, 2014 at 1:00 AM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:


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

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

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:
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
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).

On Sat, Mar 22, 2014 at 3:52 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
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

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:
Your comment:

 "Avram, I am not convinced that creating niche economies can in any
ameliorate the domination of big capital. We have to find a way to
penetrate and subvert the sources of capitalist exploitation, rather
offering "alternatives,"

suggests there may be ways to potentially penetrate and subvert "at
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
laboratories* where alternative life styles and attitudes are
It must be my personal experiences with *alternate communities* which
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
together a committed group with shared ideals.

In order to penetrate capitalism *at its source* may require
other ways of life as experiments which express other *values*. Some
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
express alternative *values* However I also accept this *hope* may be
and not grounded in recognition of the depth of capitalist ideology
co-ops ALL utopian ideals.  Therefore the requirement to subvert the

To once again return to Alex Kozulin's book which is expressing a
 He is exploring the *double-faceted* nature of consciousness and

"interpretive or metacognitive function [aspect?] of consciousness may

I wonder if this *autonomy* can extend to *alternative communities*
to express alternative *values*?

On Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 7:50 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
One of the themes of the correlation you mention, Mike, is the focus
"the creative industries." There are theories about the way cities
escape from their rust-bucket depression by promoting "the creative
industries." These include software development (e.g. computer
advertising, packaging and fashion. That's probably fine for urban
except for the artists who get booted out of their old warehouses
done up for the expected "creative industries," but where it's has a
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,
and  political critiques, which were surviving by a thread, now have
educate software makers who are building computer games or artists
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
ameliorate the domination of big capital. We have to find a way to
penetrate and subvert the sources of capitalist exploitation, rather
offering "alternatives," I think. Capitalism can do perfectly well
a certain percentage of the world's population who find an

*Andy Blunden*

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?

On Friday, March 21, 2014, Avram Rips <arips@optonline.net <mailto:
arips@optonline.net>> wrote:

    The problem is the connection between people alienated from
    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" <
    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
        neoliberalism is a situation crying out for imaginative
        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 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
            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"
            To: "Andy Blunden" <ablunden@mira.net>
            Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
            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
                parts of academia I
                come in contact with about "design, culture, and
                creativity" all of which
                are linked to innovation and entrepreneurship. I
                interested in the
                nature of imagination and creativity but I they
                appear to be new code
                words for social and individual salvation in a lean,
                mean, neo-liberal

                Maybe just another of my confusions.

                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*

                    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


Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

Status: O