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[Xmca-l] Re: XMCA discourse

I am delighted that we are discussing the two articles and find Mike's
summary and the points made by Rod enlightening.
I was also struck as was Rod  by ANL's need to simplify Vygotsky's argument
which is quite clear. 
As far as unit of analysis is concerned, it is  well explained when applied
to word meaning by Vygotsky,
it will be hard to achieve an equally clear definition for perezhivanie as
we are dealing with more contested processes 
like temperament, personality, etc. (Though I do not believe that any of
them are spiritual as suggested by ANL.)
Good beginning on enlivening the discussion,

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
[mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Rod Parker-Rees
Sent: Sunday, October 12, 2014 1:09 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: XMCA discourse

Many thanks for your digest of the LSV article, Mike. It is a while since I
last read it so this was a valuable refresher and meant I felt I could go
straight to the ANL article which I have not seen before.

Reading the ANL article I was acutely aware of the gulf between my
environment and that in which ANL was writing. Perhaps the fact that I feel
this rather less when reading LSV is evidence of a closer fit between my
bourgeois environmenn and his. As I understand it, and I am far from
confident in this, ANL's main issue is with LSV's suggestion that
'experiencing' or perezhivanie should be used as a unit of activity,
representing the indissoluble relationship between the environment and the
individual. ANL appears to object to this because he sees experiencing as an
abstraction from activity which should be recognised as the true core of
what makes us human. The argument that an environment is only an environment
FOR an active subject reminded me of Uetzkull's 'umwelt' the unique world of
experience constructed by an organism in the course of its activity
(including its sensing activity) but I am not sure that ANL justifies his
insistence on not acknowleding experiencING as a  form of activity
('experience is a secondary and derivative fact' - p.22).

ANL appears to be driven by a preference for 'putting the question in its
completely clear and bare form' (p.17) but this involves a series of
assertions and rhetorical strong-arm tactics which I find difficult to
accept. For example, he chooses to 'set aside the complicated idea of the
different course of development of the "spontaneous" and "scientific"
concepts' (p.18) - an idea which I have always found particularly helpful
and he insists that 'meaning always takes the form of the meaning of a word'
(p.18) - denying the possibility that a smile, a raised eyebrow, rolled eyes
or a raised fist could carry meaning.

I am not sure that the creation of a sign language among Nicaraguan deaf
children can be taken as a counter example to LSV's argument that children
are able to benefit from an environment which includes the 'ideal form' of
abilities they are just beginning to develop. The children who were brought
together from isolated families and then co-constructed a sophisticated sign
language may not have been surrounded by an 'ideal form' of language which
they could fully experience (I believe most were children of hearing parents
and so experienced only a rudimentary, home-made form of home-sign) but they
WERE surrounded by people who showed them that people communicate with each
other so they were exposed to the 'ideal form' of communication-mediated
cooperative activity even if they were not able to pick out the finer
details of how it was achieved. As in other situations where children grow
up among people who use a simplified ('pidgin') form of communication, their
sensitivity to
  patterns, rules and regularities allowed them to refine it into a
coherent, flexible language (a 'creole'). I am uncomfortable with the use of
'final form' as an alternative to 'ideal form' because every generation does
similar things with the language it inherits - adjusting and refining it to
achieve a better fit with changing social practices. Indeed this (as well as
the socio-political distance between us) may explain some of the
difficulties I have with ANL's way of asserting his arguments.

LSV acknowledged the important role of 'spontaneous concepts' - the often
unacknowledged intuitions which arise out of our unique patterns of
experience and which give 'body and vitality' to the more abstract, 'clear
and bare' concepts which allow us to communicate with others - while ANL
would appear to prefer a tidier view of things.

I look forward to hearing what others make of the comparison between the two

 All the best,


From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] on
behalf of mike cole [mcole@ucsd.edu]
Sent: 12 October 2014 17:55
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: XMCA discourse

Diane- (I neglected to turn off my computer!). There are now more that 800
people signed up for XMCA. If every started typing at once, we might crash
the ucsd server it sits on. And if it is just brownian motion in alphabetic
characters, what's the point? It WOULD be good to hear from more people. At
earlier times, i have tried to work out an arrangements where a dozen
partricipants each volunteered to organize a discussion on a topic of
potential interest for a month as a means of increasing breadth of
participation and points of view. It has never worked.

Perhaps it could be tried again..... if someone other than me would like to
organize it!

Like henry, I use wikipedia a lot as a starting point. For the disucssion of
the LSV article on the environment I would recommend that people google
*senghas nicaraguan sign language. *My conjecture is the the evidence of
what happens if a lot of deaf kids are brought together without access to an
appropriate "ideal form" (see the LSV paper for significance of that term)
contradicts LSV's argument and has implications for general aspects of
theory. But first there has to be that co-reading so we are not simply
tangling each other up in a new way.

On Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 9:44 AM, Diane Potts <djpotts7@hotmail.com> wrote:

> >From one of the many lurkers...
> As a new academic and one who shares David Kellogg's interests in SFL, 
> language education and socio-historical theory, I benefit tremendously 
> from this listserv.  I recommend it regularly to PhD students and hold 
> it up as a model of an online community that has managed to continue 
> to engage in lively discussions about current research with the 
> participation of senior scholars. Centering those discussions on 
> readings, at least to me, seems to be an effective means of carrying 
> out the community's boundary work - not always pleasant work, I'll 
> admit, but one that gives coherence to who we are.
> Diane Potts
> Lancaster University
> > From: leifstrandberg.ab@telia.com
> > Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2014 18:23:52 +0200
> > To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: XMCA discourse
> >
> > continue :-)
> >
> > Leif
> > Sweden

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

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