[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] praxis/practice/activity



I am happy to continue the closer examination of LSV and ANL via "Problem of the Environment" and ANL's attack on it. As you know Mike, I have already written an article on just this topic which came down solidly in defence of Vygotsky.

Firstly, I think David is right in this: that "ProbEnv" limits what it says about perezhivanie to showing how the developmental impact on the three siblings was different. However, implicit in this is (1) that each perezhivanija had a developmental impact and (2) only the eldest child developed. I accept that what these post-Vasilyuk Russians do with perezhivanie is an extension of LSV's work (such as in the problem of age), but one which I think is solidly based in LSV's legacy.

Secondly, on the question of the meaning of "activity", "practice" and "praxis" in the Marxist tradition. I too am an autodidact, Mike, and not even that in Psychology and Linguistics, but in Philosophy and Social theory, an autodidact. But the question is not that difficult.

Marx never used the word "praxis" so far as I know. I think the reason it was introduced by later Marxists is because of the everyday meaning of "activity" and "practice" which are both, as David indicates in his posts, regarded as meaning "behaviour". Rather than having a difficult argument about the "real meaning" of "practice" and "activity" writers adopted a new word which does not exist in everyday speech - "praxis."

But the reasons for insisting that everyday usage notwithstanding, "activity" and "practice" for Marx and his careful student, Vygotsky, means the unity of consciousness and behaviour are two-fold.

(1) Marx's "Theses on Feuerbach" (widely regarded as foundational to CHAT) makes no sense if "activity" and "practice" means behaviour. Also Vygotsky's work makes no sense if "behaviour" and "action" are equated. His wonderful 1924 immanent critique of behaviourism makes all the necessary points.

(2) The word "action" is ancient. It comes from Latin and was in the English language from the 13th century. In Roman law people were guilty of crimes according to their actions. It is a much later - 17th century - idea to consider consciousness a something which can be studied and talked about separately from a person's actions, and a much later idea that behaviour can be an object of science by abstracting it from consciousness.

And finally, "word meaning" is (to my mind, and to CHAT interpreters in the 1980s) an "artefact-medicated action" or if you prefer a "sign-mediated action" - if "action" is interpreted as "behaviour," i.e., abstracted from consciousness, "Thinking and Speech" collapses into total postmodern nonsense.

The (in my view) correct understanding of "action" as a unity of behaviour and consciousness is the foundation stone of CHAT.

Andy
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/


mike cole wrote:
​Another thought that struck me as i thought about David's extension of
discussion of issues raised at ISCAR was the "activity" / "praxis" issue.​

The thought was this: One significant impediment to mutual understanding of
each other sufficient to distinguish disagreements from misunderstandings,
is that we come from such varied backgrounds, both academically and in
terms of our life experiences and research foci. This struck me
particularly in the discussion that followed David's mention of activity
not equaling praxis.

What struck me is the comments that started to elaborate on the issue by
going to Husserl and meanings of the terms in greek, and generally, what I
would call "high academic classical theory." But I am not equipped by
education to follow the discussion very far in that direction. I was
educated in the tradition of American learning theory and my philosophy
teachers in college and grad school were logical
positivists/behaviorist/experimentalists -- champions of the first
psychology. So what I know about classical European social theory is
auto-didactic and picked up from the writings of colleagues.

What my education and early research experiences in Africa and Mexico did
equip me for was the need to ground analyses of cross-cultural differences
in (cognitive) development in the everyday activities of people, where by
"everyday activity" I meant activities like rice farming in Liberia, or
court cases, or house building or....... My background did not predispose
me to be happy with Vygotsky, Luria's cross-cultural work, and certainly
not into discussions of activity arising from Marxist theory by Leontiev.
(What was this connection between culturally mediated activity (as I
conceived of it) and labor?)  Naive? Sure.

But in that naivte, and finding a lot to like in reading the materials that
ended up in Mind in Society, I glommed onto the following statement by
Leontiev when I encountered it in about 1980:

Human psychology is concerned with the activity of concrete individuals
that takes place either in conditions of open association, in the midst of
people, or eye to eye with the surrounding object world – before the
potter’s wheel or behind the writing desk. Under whatever kind of
conditions and forms human activity takes place, whatever kind of structure
it assumes, it must not be considered as isolated from social relations,
from the life of society.

Leontiev goes on to write some other stuff about production that did not
thrill me, but at least I had found a common point between the ideas of the
Vygotskian school our efforts to understand the role of culture in
development. They reinforced comments in Luria's autobio which were left
there on a quite general plane and not follow up upon -- Luria was
otherwise occupied at the time.

Bottom line. I REALLY appreciate learning about the deep
historical/academic roots of the ideas we discuss, but often cannot follow
the them knowledgeably, so when those who work in this way argue that so
and so said such and such, I am let to take their word for it. And when
they disagree, I try to withhold judgment and fall back on my own history
of inquiry waiting for clarification.

To me, the idea that the acid test of theory is in practice, is both paleo
Vygotskian and  essential to my work. It leaves me in the odd position of
concluding that LSV did not, and his followers have not, found a general
science of development that resolves that old crisis in psychology.

Sorry for the long winded note. Lets call it cathartic, a way of living
through my experience of reading XMCA mail yesterday and re-living
 (pere-zhivanie) (overagain-living) it.

mike



On Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 3:12 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

Larry, Mike, Huw, Andy--

(and above all the real "objects" of broadening and enlivening the
discussion, you by-standers and handwringers, perhaps intimidated by
the pointing and handwaving, and unwilling to contribute lest the
discussion become less sharpened and pointed....)

There were several issues that seemed to pop up session after session
at ISCAR, quite independently of who raised them. Yes, "the real
Vygotsky" was certainly one of them, and Holbrook was not the only
person to talk this way; I did too, and I do think that a world where
the original Vygotsky is not recoverable is just as bad as a world
where Vygotsky is completely forgotten. But in the context of ISCAR,
the "real Vygotsky" was often a response to many speakers who would
like to emphasize the NON-Marxist side of Vygotsky.

There were two ways of doing this. One was to simply say that of
course Vygotsky was a Marxist, but then everybody was Marxist back
then, and it was not much more important than being a liberal Democrat
today. Interestingly, in the Making of Mind, Luria said that this is a
description which could well apply to many psychologists of his time,
including himself, but not to Vygotsky. A more sophisticated way of
emphasizing the NON-Marxist side of Vygotsky requires a "real
Vygotsky" of a different kind. Writers like our good friend Nikolai
Veresov have tried to do this by emphasizing the PRE-Marxist Vygotsky,
especially Vygotsky the phenomenologist, student of Gustav Shpet who
was a student of Husserl himself.

I was formerly little puzzled by this move. Seth argued that it was
valid, because of Vygotsky's ties to Lewin and Lewin's ideas about the
force of objects and the fields of attractors created thereby. Lewin
was certainly an attractor for Vygotsky, but Vygotsky actually uses
Lewin to criticize phenomenological analysis in Chapter Three of HDHMF
(see Vol. 4, p. 69). Elsewhere, Vygotsky is very critical of the
founders of phenomenology, iincluding Husserl (p. 7).

But now I think that Larry (and Martin, who has raised the same
connection) is on to something. For it is also in HDHMF that Vygotsky
bruits the idea that attention is a kind of gateway function, that the
indicative is the primordial function of speech and thinking, and that
there is nevertheless a qualitative difference between noticing
something and internalizing it as a meaning--all of these are
Husserlian ideas. Even the knotted handkerchief, which I myself have
attributed to Vygotsky and to a peculiarly Russian practice, comes
from the work of Husserl (Logical Investigations, Vol. I, pp.
269-333). I think that as a real historical materialist Vygotsky
rejected Husserl's absolute opposition between symbol and index, but
he didn't forget it when he set about trying to build a bridge between
the two.

Mike wonders about a text where Vygotsky rejects "activity" as a unit
of analysis for everything but behavior. No such text exists, of
course; if you read what I wrote carefully (I know, it's a trial
sometimes, but at least I am a larger target then the minimalist Huw)
you will see that I refer to a my OWN rejection, not Vygotsky's. What
Vygotsky says in "Problem of the Environment" is that he wants to
introduce "a number of different" units of analysis which are used in
pedological analyses, of which "perezhivanie" is one, and
"sense/signification" a very different one. (Andy is wrong to impute
importance to the count noun form here; Vygotsky often uses it as a
verb, I "live experience" something). I have always assumed that this
means:

a) Perezhivanie is quite specific to the problem Vygotsky raises in
this lecture, which is how three different children can respond so
differently to the one and the same form of child abuse.

b) "Sense/signification" is also a unit of analysis, what Vygotsky
refers to in Thinking and Speech as "the meaningful word". (This was
also the object of textological attention in Holbrook's presentation).

Mike also wonders about where Leontiev raises the possibility of
applying Marxist theory directly to psychology. In many places, but
perhaps most prominently in Problems of the Development of Mind (see
pp. 236-237, 255). Holbrook had other quotations of this type, and I
think there is a link between them and what Luria's remark that back
then everybody in psychology was a "Marxist", but nobody except
Vygotsky was much of a Marxist. Holbrook is right here.

Mike asks if there is practical activity without thinking. I think
that Vygotsky would say that there is thinking and there is verbal
thinking (or, as Holbrook now insists, "thinking with words"). What
monkeys do with sticks is called practical intelligence in Chapter
Four of Thinking and Speech. It is practical activity, and it's
thinking. But it's not a unit of thinking and speech, and therefore I
think there is some light between what Vygotsky is willing to call
"activity" and "praxis"; it's not the case that "praxis" is just a
Greek word for "activity". I recognize, though, that for Andy what
monkeys do with sticks does not count as activity (and I also
recognize that I was muddling "activity" and "action"--sorry about
that).

Like Mike, I am paleo with regard to sense and meaning, and like Mike
I recognize that it is hard to tell how deep the waters are here since
they have been muddied. I think they were first muddied by Vygotsky
himself, because he refers the distinction to Paulhan, where no such
distinction is found (Paulhan just talks about connotation and
denotation). But I think it's easy to unmuddy the waters and I think
they are very deep indeed: Vygotsky uses Paulhan as a foil, taking the
actual distinction from Volosinov, who was working at the Herzen
Institute at exactly the same moment that Vygotsky was writing of this
distinction. Zavershneva has said that Vygotsky cites Volosinov in his
unpublished manuscripts, but that the citation is always removed by
the editor in publication.  So "smysl" is "tema"; it is something like
"realized, actual meaning" while "znachenie" is something like
"potential, possible meaning". Tema is what happens when we activate a
particular layer in the great palimpsest of possible meanings left in
each word by our contemporaries and ancestors.

I'm currently writing the endnotes for our new volume of Vygotsky's
lectures on pedology, so I am very aware of the issue that Huw appears
to be raising (although Huw is so very gnomic in his lofty remarks on
my supposed illogicality and my more systemic problems that it is hard
to be sure). In Lecture Six, Vygotsky says in one paragraph that
dividing off psychological from physiological development is
methodologically impermissable, but in the very next paragraph, and
indeed in the layout of the book, he says "dismemberment is
nevertheless necessary". On the one hand, he says that there is no
action, no motility, not even thinking without both the mind and the
brain, and on the other he says that even within the body there are
distinct lines of development and that physiology is "a summarizable
concept". He is acutely aware of the contradiction, but by the end of
the lecture he resolves it. We just have to keep in mind that things
that we take apart for the purpose of analysis are inextricably joined
in clinical practice. I suppose you can say it is a logical
contradiction if you want, particularly if by that you mean it is a
contradiction that only exists in the ideal world, that is, in logic
and does not really pose a problem in life.

The problem is with the word "text" is the same, Huw. For Hallidayans
like me, a text is precisely a semantic object; it's not made of paper
and ink. Viewed interpersonally, a text is a coherent and cohesive
exchange. Viewed intra-mentally, it's a representation of thinking. It
is objective, but it's objective the way that mathematics and language
itself is objective, not the way that three actual apples or a
physical book is objective. Dixit.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

(PS: I'm afraid I didn't get the systemic reproach at all. It's hard
for a fish to see the density of water, much less to see the density
of the fish!)

dk



On 7 October 2014 23:11, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
The understanding of action and activity AS BOTH thinking and behaviour
contrasting with an appeal to differentiate the aspects thinking and
behaviour.
The notion *species* was introduced by David K as returning to Vygotsky's
words as he used them [paleo return] or we will loose this species as it
becomes extinct.

Therefore Leontiev's theory could also be considered a separate *species*
with its own characteristics, features, and object of activity.
SO in my return to the species of Activity theory I turned to one of
Leontiev's students [Victor Kaptelinin] in his 2005 MCA article "The
Object
of Activity: Making sense of the Sense Maker"

Kaptelinin opens his article with this fragment from the *species* of
Leontiev's own specified object of activity [activity theory]

"A basic or, as is sometimes said, a CONSTITUTING characteristic of
activity is its objectivity or, rather object relatedness. Properly the
CONCEPT of its object, gegenstand, is already IMPLICITLY contained in the
very concept of activity. The expression objectless activity is DEVOID of
any meaning. Objectivity may SEEM objectless, but SCIENTIFIC
investigations
OF activity NECESSARILY REQUIRES discovering its object.
THUS the object of activity IS TWOFOLD:
First, in its INDEPENDENT EXISTENCE as SUBORDINATING TO ITSELF and
transforming the activity of the subject [The question arises if this
subordinating is the object's *motive* - LP]
AND
Second, as an IMAGE OF the object, as a product OF its property of
psychological reflection THAT IS realized AS AN ACTIVITY OF THE SUBJECT,
and cannot exist OTHERWISE."

This paragraph which Kaptelian offers as a *specimen* of a particular and
unique *species* of expression seems to present a clear *case* to hold up
to Vygotsky's *species* .
I would add that Merleau-Ponty offers an alternative *species* that is
also
looking at objects of activity from another *angle* of vision.

Are Vygotsky, Leontiev, and Merleau-Ponty all gesturing at the same
phenomena and walking around this *object* [imagined? or real?] from
various vantage points.

I will pause by returning to the second quality of the TWOFOLD quality of
the *object of activity*

"SECOND as an IMAGE OF the object, AS a product OF its PSYCHOLOGICAL
REFLECTION that is REALIZED [brought into form -LP] AS an activity OF the
SUBJECT and cannot exist OTHERWISE.

Is this a new *species*??

Larry


On Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 4:55 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

Mike, what I got out of Seth's intervention was just a plea for people
to
stop claiming to have the "real Vygotsky" and I thoroughly agreed with
him.
And so far as I know Marx uses the German word for Activity, viz.,
Taetigkeit, in "Theses on Feuerbach" - that word which pre-dates
"behaviour" and "consciousness" by centuries, but which is sometimes
referred to nowadays as a unity of these two abstractions, and it was
only
later interpreters that introduced the term "praxis", which being Greek
sounds a lot cleverer. Action and Activity, in my view and
etymologically,
are both thinking and behaving.
Andy
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/


mike cole wrote:

Thanks, David. I think i understand better what you mean by "LSV
rejects
"activity" as a unit of analysis for anything but behavior,and most
certainly as a unit of psychological analysis. Somehow I was expecting
text
from LSV where he says "activity is not a unit of analysis" because of
all
the places in his text where he uses the term activity as a sort of
"lay
term".

...


 Holbrook Mahn.
Holbrook began by saying that:

a) We do not "borrow" concepts made for one discipline and "apply"
them to another. Not even dialectical materialism can be "applied" to
psychology (or even sociology or economics--Marx didn't do applied
philosophy!). Holbrook then produced a number of quotations from The
Historical Meaning of the Crisis in Psychology to show that Vygotsky
knew this, and countered with other quotations from Problems of the
Development of the Mind to show that Leontiev did not know this.

I know places where LSV is clear on this score, in Historical meaning,


for example, but not the evidence of Leontiev's errors.





b) The term "praxis" has been thus borrowed. It doesn't refer to
practical activity: it refers to a unity of thinking and practice.



Borrowed from Marx by ..??? by Leontiev? There is any form of practical
activity without human thinking?




c) The term "social situation of development" has been thus borrowed;
it does not refer to a "context" but to the child's relationship to
the environment.



By whom? I am always in a puzzle about the use of this term. Isn't
perezhivanie the term that LSV uses to talk about relation of child to
environment? At least, there seems to be a lot of chatter about issue.




d) The term "unit of analysis" does not refer to a God particle that
is indifferent to the problem of analysis. ygotsky did not imagine a
"unit of analysis" that fit any and all problems in psychology. Each
unit of analysis is specific to a particular problem of unity (e.g.
the problem of the unity of the child and his or her environment in
Problem of the Environment and the problem of the unity of verbal
thinking in Thinking and Speech).

Amen to that.




e) The term "verbal thinking" is a mistranslation: Vygotsky is talking
about thinking by language, or thinking through word meanings, and not
some kind of verbalizable inner speech (which does exist, but which is
a distinct layer from thinking).



There is a lot of confusion around this issue and would probably need
somewhat separate discussion. I interpret in the former way. The role
of
meaning in inner speech, and the usefulness or not of the sense/meaning
distinction has me confused. Dima Leontiev has put the distinction
behind
him and now refers to "cultural meaning" (paleo meaning

) and
"personal meaning (paleo sense)." I am paleo in this regard.



Most of this has been said before, not least by Vygotsky himself. I
know that Holbrook has been saying it at least since 2007 when I first
heard him at the American Association for Applied Linguistics in Costa
Mesa, and he develops it at some length in:


https://www.academia.edu/1803017/Vygotskys_Analysis_of_
Childrens_Meaning-Making_Processes

Mahn, H. (2012). Vygotsky's Analysis of Children's Meaning-Making
Processes, International Journal of Educational Psychology1(2):100-126

It's been said by others too: Mike Cole actually makes many of the
same points in discussing how the Kharkov school deviated from the
work of Vygotsk,


I did not know enough to make many of these points in 1978! They
certainly
distanced themselves from LSV and PI Zinchenko went after the
natural-cultural memory distinction,







and J.V. Wertsch is quite explicit in his revisionism
when he presents "mediated activity" as a unit of analysis in
opposition to "word meaning".


mediated ACTION and often as not, mediated action in context.



But of course since a unit of analysis
must preserve in some shape or form the essential properties of the
whole, the use of "mediated activity"
(action)
cannot be a unit of analysis for
the mind if we wish to retain the idea that the mind has a semantic
structure (that is, if the "whole" is structured something like a text
or a discourse rather than like driving a car, shooting a gun, or
hunting animals).



When we get to semantic structure of consciousness, we know there was a
break between LSV and his buddies. It seems that it is in arriving at
this
formulation that the charges of idealism and sign-o-centrism kick in.

My difficulty is in making arguments about consciousness- -in-general,
perhaps a relic of my behaviorist past. Luria appears to have come
around
on this issue. I have had a difficult time understanding the changes in
Leontiev's thought over the period of the 30's and 40's.



Now, in the discussion of Holbrook's presentation, this wild-haired
guy who looked a little like Itzhak Perlman rose to argue that
Leontiev's interpretation was really one fair interpretation, and that
it really was addressed towards a specific problem, which is how to
prevent dualism from arising (that is, how to explain how word meaning
could arise historically).Through joint mediated activity?






He also said that Holbrook was juxtaposing
quotations out of context: the quotes that showed Vygotsky arguing
against a "Marxist psychology" were directed against a very specific
group of vulgar Marxists (e.g. Zalkind) and that is why Vygotsky uses
scare quotes around "Marxist".



Not so?




I then muddied the waters, first by addressing the wild-haired guy
instead of Holbrook (a major breach of protocol) and then by arguing
that speech really is sui generis, because it is a form of "activity"
(if we must call it that) whose conditions of comprehension are no
longer recoverable from the activity itself (and so the unit of
analysis for verbal thinking cannot be sought in activity). There
wasn't enough time to really develop what I wanted to say, so I went
over to continue the discussion, and it turned out that the wild
haired guy was none other than Seth Chaiklin, who is, we all know, one
of the foremost paleo-Vygotskyans when it comes to the much
misinterpreted concept of the ZPD.



Speech is a form of activity or a means of activity? Or of action?

I guess I do not understand. If its worthwhile, perhaps spell the idea
out
here?

So far as I can tell, there are ONLY misinterpretations of the Zoped.
Seth
was right on about it being used in Anglo-American discourse as
something
akin to zone of proximal learning,fitting into the associationist view
of
development as more learning. But the one right interpretation has
escaped
my notice.

Thanks again for taking the trouble to write that out. Perhaps it will
be
generative for people.
mike




David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

PS: Holbrook DID get one thing wrong. Stalin did not argue that
language was purely ideal and superstructural; that was Marr's
position. Stalin, or whoever ghost wrote his articles, argued that
language was base, and therefore somehow material, whatever that
means. But Stalin was not really interested in ideas; he was just out
for Marr's blood.





On 6 October 2014 22:21, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:


Hi David--

The specific example of your comments on originals and adaptations
hits
on


a point it would be helpful to hear more about:

You wrote:
 Back in Sydney, Seth Chaiklin and I found ourselves in a somewhat
similar argument, with Seth in Perelman's chair, and me clinging
rather obstinately to a paleo-Vygotskyan interpretation which
actually
rejects "activity" as a unit of analysis for anything but behavior,
and most certainly as a unit of psychological analysis. Seth's
argument was pragmatist: for certain practical applications, we need
new interpretations, including revisionist ones. Mine was an argument
in favor of species diversity: when the revisionist account supplants
the original to such a degree that Vygotsky's original argument is no
longer accessible to people, we need to go back to original texts
(and
this is why it is so important to make the original texts at least
recoverable--once they are gone, it is really a whole species of
thinking that has become extinct).

1.   Could you guide us to a text you recommend where this
interpretation
is laid out?
2. What sort of revision was Seth suggesting and why?

I have been reading Russian discussions around this issue.
Clarification
would be helpful.
mike



On Sun, Oct 5, 2014 at 12:37 AM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com
wrote:


This morning I had the great pleasure of waking up in my own bed and
listening to Yo-yo Ma, Emanuel Ax and Itzhak Perlman playing this:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRkWCOTImOQ

It's the D Major Cello sonata number two by Mendelssohn, played, as
Yo-yo Ma tells us, on the Davydov (no, that THAT Davydov)
Stradivarius
that was probably used to perform the sonata for the very first time
in front of Mendelssohn himself. Now, throughout this concert, Ma
has
been something of a stickler for "the original", and Perelman has
been
pulling politely but pointedly towards a more personal
interpretation.
So at around 6:45 on the clip, Perelman tells Ma that if Mendelssohn
himself had heard the sonata played on that very cello, then he,
Perelman, was sitting in the very seat that Mendelssohn had
occupied,
and that therefore his freer interpretation was really closer to
Mendelssohn than any attempt to recreate the sonata with period
instruments. Mercifully, at this point, Ax interupts them and starts
to play.

Back in Sydney, Seth Chaiklin and I found ourselves in a somewhat
similar argument, with Seth in Perelman's chair, and me clinging
rather obstinately to a paleo-Vygotskyan interpretation which
actually
rejects "activity" as a unit of analysis for anything but behavior,
and most certainly as a unit of psychological analysis. Seth's
argument was pragmatist: for certain practical applications, we need
new interpretations, including revisionist ones. Mine was an
argument
in favor of species diversity: when the revisionist account
supplants
the original to such a degree that Vygotsky's original argument is
no
longer accessible to people, we need to go back to original texts
(and
this is why it is so important to make the original texts at least
recoverable--once they are gone, it is really a whole species of
thinking that has become extinct).

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

PS: Andy, what shocked me about Bonnie Nardi's plenum in Sydney was
not her use of "society" or "object": actually, I think I would have
liked it better if she had used those terms a little more
imprecisely,
in their folk meanings. In fact, a little more IMPRECISION might
have
made it even clearer to us the sheer horror of what she was
contemplating.

For those on the list who missed it, the plenary focused on a world
without jobs--that is, a world where five-day forty-hour jobs are
replaced by "micro-work". Nardi admitted that this was a rather
dystopian state of affairs--but she also showed us what she called
the
"bright side": more leisure, less greenhouse gases, and also human
identities less narrowly tied to work. As one person in the
conference
pointed out, and Nardi confirmed, it would also mean more time for
the
spiritual side of life.

What was not pointed out was the effect of all this on the "object"
of
"society", using both terms in their folk senses. The working class
is
being ground down into the economic position of short term sex
workers
and atomized into the social position of housewives. Inequality is
now
at levels not seen since 1820. Even a cursory study of history tells
us that the result of this is not going to be individual
spirituality
but rather more violence. The only "bright side" I can see is if
that
force is organized, social, and directed against social equality
rather than against fellow members of the working class.

dk


On 5 October 2014 13:38, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:


I found Kaptelinin's article in MCA invaluable, Mike. Bonnie Nardi
I
had
the
great pleasure of meeting for the first time at ISCAR, and if she
has
written something on "object" that is very good news.
I don't think the problem is intractable, though I don't think one


good
book
or one good article is enough. But for example, for a long while I


have
been
jumping up and down about how people use the word "perezhivanie"


without
an
article (the, a, an some, etc) implying it is some kind of
"substance"
whereas in Russian it is a count noun. While there remains
outstanding
differences about what perezhivanie means, I notice that almost all


bar
one
now use it with an article. So, however that happened that is a
step
forward, and people are aware of the differences in interpretation
and
they


are being discussed. I think if we talk about "object" for a while,


maybe
this can be straightened out. I know the task of conceptual
consistency
in
our research community seems to be a hopeless task, but I am


optimistic.
Andy

------------------------------------------------------------
------------


*Andy Blunden*
http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/


mike cole wrote:


Those certainly seem like lively topics, Andy.
I had in mind specifically topics that are on peoples' minds that
go
U
discussed. I hope that the time spent at ISCAR produces a shower of
interesting ideas. Isn't that the object of such gatherings?


(Whatever
object means!).  :-). The Nardi and Kaptelinin chapter on basics of
AT
is
one good source, but it seems the problem is intractable!
Mike

On Saturday, October 4, 2014, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
<mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    I don't know, but it's hardly surprising if things were a
little
    slow this last week as a lot of xmca-ers are also iscar-ers
and
we
    were all chatting like crazy in Sydney at the ISCAR Congress.
    Everyone (and I mean everyone, including every passenger on a
    Sydney suburban train as well) has their iPhones and tablets


etc.,
    so they could read/write on xmca, but I guess they were
    oversupplied with correspondents and protagonists.

    My impressions of CHAT research:
    On the positive side: very diverse, and at its best, sharp and
    critical in relation to the dominant political forces, and
still
    way out in front in understanding the several developmental
    processes which all contribute to our actions (phylogenesis,
    historical genesis, mesogenesis, ontogenesis, microgenesis),
and
    not focussing on just one. And I have to say it is a great
    community of research, relatively lacking in the
competitiveness
    and jealousy which infects most research communities.

    On the negative side:

       * Most CHAT people still have a concept of "society" as
some
         homogeneous, abstract entity which introduces problems
into
the
         social situation on which they try to focus, i.e., people
lack
a
         viable social theory or the ability to use theory they
have
to
         analyse the wider social situation in a differentiated way.
       * The idea of "unit of analysis" is almost lost to us.
Only a
small
         minority know what it means and use the idea in their
research.
       * The concept of "object" is at the centre of a lot of
confusion;
         few researchers using the concept are clear on what the
concept
         is. This is related to an unwillingness to confront and
    attempt to
         resolve the methodological differences (I refer to


systematic
         difference, rather than accidental misunderstandings) within
the
         CHAT community; perhaps it's fear of losing the relatively
civil
         relations between researchers - people prefer to let
differences
         just fester without openly discussing them. The old Soviet
         approach is gone, but perhaps we have gone too far the
other
    way. :)

    Andy






------------------------------------------------------------
------------


    *Andy Blunden*
    http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
    <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>


    mike cole wrote:

        Hi-- I assume you grabbed it from my erroneous response to
        someone who
        wrote backto xmca instead of me.

        Had dinner with tim ingold yesterday evening. Such an
        interesting and
        unassuming guy.

        Any ideas about how to broaden/enliven the xmca
discussion??
        mike





--
It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science
with
an
object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.



--
It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with
an
object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.