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[Xmca-l] Re: Some facts about cultural "triple packages"



Yes, mike, agreed - it was an obtuse provocation (the worst sort!). It
doesn't really get to the question that David Ki was raising (or, at least,
not without playing with his meanings against his intentions). Fair enough.

So let me propose this as a topic on a separate set of issues (should I
change the thread name?), not entirely unrelated to questions about the
data presented by Wertsch or Engestrom or Luria or Salho or Edwards or
Valsiner or...

Perhaps it is useful to think about for a couple of reasons:

1. This is how academic work (of the sort mentioned) is being digested for
mass consumption. Amy and Jed put forward a theory that (purportedly) draws
on "groundbreaking" (I remember that from the video) psychological research
of the past 20 years. This makes it sound like this is the state of the art
research that they are working with (yes, it goes back to marshmallows!).
As if "just the facts."

2. Relatedly, as "academics", we need to be aware of what is passing for
common sense in order to make connections with those who self-identify as
"non-academics". Dismissing their theories as not being big enough theories
(as in Bartlett, Piaget, Vygotsky, or Foucault) does not speak to the fact
that the Amy and Jed are going to heard by and potentially have an effect
on the thinking of hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps more. And worst
of all, they are keeping hidden those important assumptions that David
spoke about. In fact, their discourse reinforces those hidden assumptions.
So where is the CHAT voice in popular books and popular press? I personally
feel like CHAT and related thinkers have lots to say about these issues, so
how can we help these voices to be heard? (and the institutional
cloistering of academia is self-imposed as much as it is externally
imposed!).

Perhaps this is old hat (and I do recall a conversation on XMCA that
touched on some of this maybe 4 or 5 years ago). But it is an issue that
will never be entirely irrelevant - until we are.

-greg


On Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 9:58 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> Folks.
>
> I have a strong feeling that a discussion about whether or not there are
> empirical facts to counter the facts that are offered for the triple factor
> theory of demographic group academic success do not address the issues
> raised by David Ki, whatever their interest. Its important, for example, to
> know that the 3-4th generation of immigrants in some recent cases regress
> to American academic mediocrity. But is someone suggesting that this power
> couple has provided a new theory of culture, human development, and
> education that will put an end to poverty in the US, an explicit claim at
> the beginning of their talk? They are offering a theory in the sense that,
> say, Piaget, or Vyogtsky,
> or Foucault, or Bartlett, or..... were theorizing?
>
> It seems we should be examining research programs of people who are seen as
> important to the development of theories of development that accord culture
> a significant role in that process and that engage with those theories in
> terms of data generated from different settings where the theory is invoked
> as relevant to interpretation, reinterpretation, criticism.
>
> If one wants to get some idea of why it might be that Asian American kids
> are doing well in our schools and universities, at present, visit your
> local university library on a Saturday afternoon and check out the
> demographics of the students you see there.
>
> Meantime, the question put to us concerned the role of data, such as the
> data that are presented in journals such as MCA, or the data presented by
> Wertsch, or Engestrom, or Luria, or Salho or Edwards or Valsiner or
> ........ in the intellectual enterprise we might refer to as
> bio-social-historical-situated-embodied-critical-ecological-
> studies/theory/undertakings.
>
> Interesting as they are, videos such as the one Greg offered us do not
> leave me much enlightened about the question put to us. Could i get some
> help here understanding what I am missing? And how best to proceed to make
> progress on the question posed?
>
> mike
>
> On Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 7:26 AM, Katherine Wester Neal <wester@uga.edu>
> wrote:
>
> >
> > To Greg's question about the empirical stuff, yes, I think it is possible
> > to find facts that work against Amy and Jed's facts. Their facts are one
> > interpretation of what's going on based in their particular understanding
> > of how the world works, one where the triple package is what everyone
> > really needs to succeed.
> >
> > They talked about how some big charter school groups contacted them about
> > the triple package and what it could do for students, which makes me
> think
> > of New Orleans, where the public schools are currently nearly 100%
> charter.
> > It's good that the Orleans Parish School Board doesn't have much control
> > any more (I am from New Orleans and still spend a month or so there every
> > year, and the schools truly were in dire straits before Katrina). But
> > here's an article that, in part, presents some empirical research that
> may
> > help disprove the triple package idea:
> >
> > http://apps.npr.org/the-end-of-neighborhood-schools/
> >
> > I think that address will have to be cut and pasted because I can't get
> it
> > to link.
> >
> > The facts from the researchers in the article could be used to counter
> Amy
> > and Jed's facts. As one researcher said, "There is extreme effort to
> > control, rather than engage, students in the classroom." But that control
> > only leads to a definition of success that revolves around a single,
> > multiple-choice test. (Later, the same researcher says: "There aren’t
> many
> > projects, discussions, or kids reading literature. They are really
> teaching
> > what will be tested at the exclusion of all other materials. I had a
> > science teacher tell me that if there was an earthquake in New Orleans,
> she
> > wouldn’t have the time to cover it if it weren’t on the test.") I think
> > this kind of control, or as Greg said "delay of gratification," is what
> Amy
> > and Jed are selling in the triple package; it's the magic bullet. But if
> > this sort of control in schools doesn't lead to useful learning, doesn't
> > that fact show that the triple package isn't actually what one needs for
> > success? A deeper reading of the research might turn up more facts that
> > don't line up with what Amy and Jed present.
> >
> > Katie
> >
> > Katie Wester-Neal
> > Doctoral candidate
> > University of Georgia
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________
> > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> > on behalf of Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
> > Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2014 1:59 AM
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Some facts about cultural "triple packages"
> >
> > As I said before I found the individualism positively scary.
> > And we see, don't we, what kind of society is produced by this "I will
> > get to the top of the heap by whatever it takes" mentality produces.
> > And as from David Ke's interesting post, we see that whoever gets to the
> > top of the heap will inevitably do so over the bodies of those who come
> > second, and be desperately unhappy about their success anyway.
> > But since culture is not something one can acquire at Saturday homework
> > club, I guess we should not worry too much about the damage they might
> do.
> > Andy
> > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > *Andy Blunden*
> > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >
> >
> > Greg Thompson wrote:
> > > Thanks David and others.
> > >
> > > I guess I posted the video as something of a meditation on the question
> > > that had been posed on the other thread - namely: what to do with
> > empirical
> > > stuff?
> > >
> > > The video is one where I feel a bit frustrated with the argument and am
> > > tempted to theorize away their findings but can't help but wonder how
> to
> > > confront their facts and figures with other facts and figures.
> > >
> > > I think David has at least pointed in the direction of the facts and
> > > figures that are needed. Most notably something that points to the
> > > particular configurations of capitalism that one confronts in different
> > > national settings and how these configurations of capitalism foster
> > > inequality and inevitably become top heavy (with 1% owning 50% of
> > > everything). The Amy/Jed solution suggests that everyone altogether
> could
> > > be just as successful as the current 1% if they just knew how to delay
> > > gratification (and were as self-assured and self-doubting as Amy and
> > Jed).
> > >
> > > Anyone else have any other takes on their argument?
> > >
> > > And do you see this as the latest incarnation of the cultural deficit
> > > model, just with a few minor tweaks to make it sound less offensive?
> > >
> > > -greg
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > On Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 9:43 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > >> Interesting contextualization, David. thanks
> > >> mike
> > >>
> > >> On Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 6:10 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> > >> wrote:
> > >>
> > >>
> > >>> Amy Chua and her husband are both, like Obama, professors of
> > >>> constitutional law, and this explains a lot: their individualism,
> > >>> their idealism, and their anecdotal approach to psychological
> > >>> research. Naturally, I agree with all of the criticisms made on those
> > >>> fronts; nevertheless I find myself in perverse sympathy with the
> talk,
> > >>> particularly the point she made about the non-cultural sources of
> > >>> poverty which seem to have been ignored by people on the list,
> perhaps
> > >>> because they come near the end of the talk.
> > >>>
> > >>> "The Triple Package" is not a great book (as you can probably tell
> > >>> from the "Seven Habits" style title). But it's still a book worth
> > >>> putting in context. I don't think it is really a generalization of
> > >>> Chua's book on parenting (which was actually very self-critical and
> > >>> not at all self-congratulatory). I think it is a generalization of
> > >>> Chua's last book, which was right in her own field, although like
> many
> > >>> books which lie in the middle of one's field it did have a quite
> > >>> personal trigger.
> > >>>
> > >>> As they say in their talk: all nations are unequal, but some are more
> > >>> unequal than others. The Philippines are one of those more unequal
> > >>> nations: Chua's grandparents are Filipino Chinese, and the Chinese in
> > >>> the Philippines are about one percent of the population and own some
> > >>> forty or fifty percent of the country's capital. So Chua's
> grandmother
> > >>> (or perhaps it was an aunt--I'm don't exactly remember) was horribly
> > >>> murdered by her driver. Nobody was punished, and the reason was that
> > >>> the police felt enormous sympathy for the driver's hatred of rich
> > >>> Chinese and released him on a technicality.
> > >>>
> > >>> At first, Chua was overcome with rage. But then she began to
> > >>> generalize; she realized that her grandmother's murder was actually
> > >>> part of a much wider pattern of constitutional change, where
> political
> > >>> democracy is combined with extremes of economic oligarchy, and
> > >>> consititutions make possible and even encourage demagogy and ethnic
> > >>> scapegoating of what we might call the richer oppressed (e.g. Indians
> > >>> in Uganda, Lebanese in Liberia, Tutsis in Rwanda, Croats in Serbia,
> > >>> Chinese in Indonesia, Jews just about everywhere).
> > >>>
> > >>> This is "culture" as a weapon in the hands of the powerful
> > >>> poor--people like Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Idi Amin, Slobadan Milosevic.
> > >>> But it must have occurred to Chua while she was writing the book that
> > >>> demagogy and scapegoating was only part of the story--I think this
> > >>> book is actually an argument that culture can also be forged into a
> > >>> weapon in the hands of the poor by precisely the family members who
> > >>> seem most powerless--not her own grandmother, but grandmothers like
> > >>> that of Sonja Sotomayor.
> > >>>
> > >>> Idealism? Of course. Chua ignores the real reasons for the success
> > >>> stories she tells, because they have nothing to do with these triple
> > >>> package values (values which she admits are shared by almost all
> > >>> ethnic groups). As Thomas Piketty points out in "Capital in the
> > >>> Twenty-first Century", economics seen over the long run is...well,
> > >>> it's a long arc, and it bends towards injustice. But precisely
> because
> > >>> the injustice towards which it bends admits so very few to the very
> > >>> rich, the very poor eventually play catch up, both iinternationally
> > >>> (China) and intra-nationally, while the majority of the ruling ethnic
> > >>> power are forced into the actual, not the nominal, middle class (i.e.
> > >>> in the USA, people who live on earned income and not returns on
> > >>> capital).
> > >>>
> > >>> There were two exceptions to all of this playing catch-up, and they
> > >>> happen to be the real "double package" on which American culture was
> > >>> materially founded: genocide and slavery. That is why I feel that
> > >>> treating the Native American and the black American experience as if
> > >>> it were somehow comparable to other immigrant experiences is really a
> > >>> form of Holocaust denial. The building where I live lodges mostly
> > >>> foreigners, and there are many Americans. One of the professors is
> > >>> black, American, and an incredibly successful and well known author
> in
> > >>> business studies. Like Barack Obama, he has a name--it's an African
> > >>> name, not the name of some slave-owning scoundrel; from the sound of
> > >>> it I suspect he calls himself a "Nigerian-American" and not
> > >>> "African-American". The other day I met his son in the elevator, and
> > >>> when I heard his name I told him I recognized it, because it goes at
> > >>> the top of every article his dad publishes. The kid was fairly
> > >>> incandescent with pride.
> > >>>
> > >>> David Kellogg
> > >>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>> On 17 September 2014 02:45, Dr. Paul C. Mocombe <
> > pmocombe@mocombeian.com
> > >>>
> > >>> wrote:
> > >>>
> > >>>> I am not a psychologist, but is this what is passing off as
> empirical
> > >>>>
> > >>> psychological research?  On another note, can we get some real
> > >>> psychologists to weigh in on the impact of spanking children on their
> > >>> psychological development.  This Adrian Peterson thing is getting
> > racial
> > >>> really quickly.  By the way, my parents would be in prison today
> based
> > on
> > >>> how I was spanked....
> > >>>
> > >>>> Dr. Paul C. Mocombe
> > >>>> President
> > >>>> The Mocombeian Foundation, Inc.
> > >>>> www.mocombeian.com
> > >>>> www.readingroomcurriculum.com
> > >>>> www.paulcmocombe.info
> > >>>>
> > >>>> <div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: "Henry G.
> > >>>>
> > >>> Shonerd III" <hshonerd@gmail.com> </div><div>Date:09/16/2014  1:12
> PM
> > >>> (GMT-05:00) </div><div>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <
> > >>> xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> </div><div>Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Some facts
> > >>> about cultural "triple packages" </div><div>
> > >>>
> > >>>> </div>I am struck by how inauthentic (phony?) Chua and her husband
> > are,
> > >>>>
> > >>> even more so than most TED talks. As I listened, I remembered the
> work
> > by
> > >>> Ogbu on oppositional responses of "involuntary immigrants" (Blacks as
> > >>> slaves, Native Americans and Hispanics caught up in the movement of
> > >>> national borders). I have heard Ogbu has been criticized, but he
> > >>>
> > >> convinced
> > >>
> > >>> me.
> > >>>
> > >>>> Henry
> > >>>>
> > >>>> On Sep 16, 2014, at 4:59 AM, Katherine Wester Neal <wester@uga.edu>
> > >>>>
> > >>> wrote:
> > >>>
> > >>>>> Thanks for sending, Greg. I also found it hard to keep watching. I
> > >>>>>
> > >> have
> > >>
> > >>> read Amy Chua's "tiger mom" book, and this TED talk seems to be a way
> > to
> > >>> validate and extend the parenting ideas that she lays out in the book
> > >>> (which I find to be harsh and a bit mean-spirited). I have many
> issues
> > >>>
> > >> with
> > >>
> > >>> their claims, but I'll just mention two.
> > >>>
> > >>>>> First, I don't think their generalizations/facts are very useful.
> > They
> > >>>>>
> > >>> perpetuate the idea, for example, that stereotypes are acceptable,
> > >>> especially if they're "true," which is probably where the comment
> that
> > >>> they're racist came from. It is also unhelpful to tell white, middle
> > >>>
> > >> class
> > >>
> > >>> parents one more time that "other" kids are going to outperform their
> > >>>
> > >> kids
> > >>
> > >>> and their kids are falling behind. This sort of scarcity rhetoric
> hurts
> > >>> kids and parents, in part because it sets up an us/them dichotomy.
> > >>>
> > >>>>> Second, as Greg said, there's no theory. I am suspect of facts,
> such
> > >>>>>
> > >> as
> > >>
> > >>> these, without theory because they don't account for how the facts
> were
> > >>> produced.
> > >>>
> > >>>>> Katie
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> Katie Wester-Neal
> > >>>>> Doctoral Candidate
> > >>>>> University of Georgia
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> On Sep 15, 2014, at 11:41 PM, "Greg Thompson" <
> > >>>>>
> > >>> greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> wrote:
> > >>>
> > >>>>> Been enjoying the party, and apropos of David's call for some facts
> > >>>>>
> > >>> (which
> > >>>
> > >>>>> I'm in full support of - despite being a theory-wonk), I thought
> I'd
> > >>>>>
> > >>> offer
> > >>>
> > >>>>> this Ted talk that was sent to me by an LCHC colleague:
> > >>>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHUMcxaqm9U
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> Lots of facts in there, and not a little theory.
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> They've got big claims about the facts of their program in
> inner-city
> > >>>>> schools and about inequality too (you have to listen to the end to
> > >>>>>
> > >> hear
> > >>
> > >>>>> about that).
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> What do you think?
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> Anything to it?
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> Anyone have any facts to counter their facts?
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> -greg
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> p.s., I'm still listening to it right now. Not sure I'm going to be
> > >>>>>
> > >> able
> > >>
> > >>>>> to stomach the entire talk... getting a little queasy. Feeling like
> > >>>>>
> > >>> someone
> > >>>
> > >>>>> is selling me something that is going to cost me a ton and I'm not
> > >>>>>
> > >>> going to
> > >>>
> > >>>>> like. Ugh...
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>> --
> > >>>>> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> > >>>>> Assistant Professor
> > >>>>> Department of Anthropology
> > >>>>> 882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> > >>>>> Brigham Young University
> > >>>>> Provo, UT 84602
> > >>>>> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>>
> > >>>>
> > >>>>
> > >>>
> > >> --
> > >>
> > >> Development and Evolution are both ... "processes of construction and
> > re-
> > >> construction in which heterogeneous resources are contingently but
> more
> > or
> > >> less reliably reassembled for each life cycle." [Oyama, Griffiths, and
> > >> Gray, 2001]
> > >>
> > >>
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> --
>
> Development and Evolution are both ... "processes of construction and re-
> construction in which heterogeneous resources are contingently but more or
> less reliably reassembled for each life cycle." [Oyama, Griffiths, and
> Gray, 2001]
>



-- 
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
882 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson