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[Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects
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- Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2015 10:35:11 -0700
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these concrete examples help clarify the meaning of boundary object.
I hope this thinking out loud process is an aspect of getting back to thinking of these different notions of "boundary" object contributing to changing spaces (and duration) as they become places.
One clarification in what Rolf said.
Is the place of "narratives" in the process a phase of this process?
The notion of "representations" of the experience as an aspect (can we say mode?) of the ongoing "construction" OF (upon which) this experience unfolds. Is the place of narratives"about" the completion of a phase of this process (bringing into materiality as Rolf uses the term materiality) what "was" preceded by a "felt experience" that was pre-conceptual (as a bodily experience). In other words as Gendlin says was the narrative "about" a means of placing before the others a "felt experience" and in this act of materiality inviting the others to "perceive" (as Dewey uses this term in contrast to recognition).
In other words is there a "felt sense" that already exists and has been undergone prior to the presentation OF this "felt" experience AS a " representation/materiality/act/ that brings the "felt experience" as bodily manifestation to the fore PRIOR to representing or bringing into materiality the "about" process that completes the bodily process when the other person undergoes the experience that has been articulated through the narrative and "perceives" the "felt experience" (already undergone bodily) MORE clearly.
When he/she says "yes I see what you mean" that is another phase - the "perceived" phase of becoming clearer- after the fact (observable) of the materiality/representation OF the bodily "felt experience" that preceded the "about" narrative of the "felt experience".
This is my attempt at thinking out loud.
I am trying to be clear on the relations of " bodily experience" gestures/language as the materiality of bringing into "form" as an act of bringing to the "fore" what was in the "back" (using these bodily metaphors)and the "I see/perceive" gestalt as that imaginal moment when the "construction" (representation of the felt bodily experience undergone) is "realized/completed".
I am attempting to become clearer on the place of "narratives" as one of the "means" that brings bodily experience materially to the "fore" IN ORDER TO facilitate the "aha, now I see what you mean!" experience as "an" experience happening in phases.
I could be mashing up what I am attempting to make clear (for myself) as I bring the various readings of our shared articles "together".
Where to place the "construction/materiality phase (that bring "things/processes" to the "fore") with the notion of "felt experience or "mood" (that is the background bodily living through).
I know that other theories say that ALL experience "is" conceptual and what I am referring to as "felt experience" is adding an aspect that is a mis-representation of experience that to "have an experience" always is a construction and "felt experience" is no exception to this truth.
The performance of presentation and representation and the space transforming to place.
The place of "means of materiality" in relation to " felt experience". Is the "gestalt" a process of "construction" or is this presenting "representations of" having an experience an aspect of bringing to the "fore" IN ORDER TO have the other share in our having an experience by assisting the other to "perceive" ( becoming clearer or revealing). The "therefore" is a phase assisting the other to have "an" experience (in common) as we undergo THIS shared experience
From: "Alfredo Jornet Gil" <email@example.com>
Sent: 2015-07-21 8:38 AM
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>; "Andy Blunden" <email@example.com>
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects
I just recently begun to read Engeström and cols. contribution to the special issue, which is very interesting. I have particular interest in the difference that they point out between boundary object on the one hand, and object and instrumentality as different aspects of activity theory on the other. Rolf and I came across this distinction while writing our own paper. We noticed that the museum space, through multiple forms of presentations (e.g., the room itself, a floor plan, performances of being in the room while not being there, etc), was a means, an instrument for achieving a final design product.
At the same time, the museum space begun to become the object of the designers' activity. Since this were interdisciplinary designs, and the partners had multiple, sometimes opposite interests, what seemed to be a common object for all them was the museum as place. Thus, most representations of it begun to be made in terms of narratives about being there. That was the orientation that seemed to stick them together.
Thus, the museum space was both object and instrument. We wondered whether we should do connections to notions of object of activity and tools, but we felt that that road would take us away from the focus on body and experience. We ended up drawing from Binder et al (2011), who differentiate between object of design, the design thing that work delivers, and the object's constituents (or means of presentation before the design thing is finished).
When bringing the notion of boundary object into the picture, we could discuss the history of development of these relations between the different forms of presentations of the museum means towards the object without necessarily articulating the differences between the two. One advantage was that boundary objects focus on the materiality, which, as already mentioned, is not about materials in themselves, but about consequences in action. From the point of view of the persons implicated in the process, the museum space as object of design was an issue in and through the working with some material, some form of presenting it or changing it. Both object and instrument seemed to be moments of a same experience. But I still want to learn what we may get out of making the distinction between object and tool, as Engeström and colleagues do (so I should perhaps read more carefully their study rather than be here thinking aloud).
From: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> on behalf of Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: 21 July 2015 14:38
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects
Henry, anything. But the point is objects which play some
role in mediating the relation between subjects, probably a
symbolic role, but possibly an instrumental role, too, and
one subject challenges that role and turns the object into
its opposite, and changes the terms of collaboration.
A number of examples spring to mind.
* Loaded, especially pejorative words, such as Queer, are
embraced by a despised group who take control of the
word and assertively embrace it;
* The post-WW2 women's peace movement who deployed their
stereotype as housewives and mothers to magnificant effect;
* ISIS's hatred and fear of women turned into a weapon
against them by Kurdish women fighters (ISIS flee before
them rather than in shame);
* The Chartists who turned the British govt's stamp which
put newspapers out of reach of workers against them by
printing the Northern Star as a stamped newspaper and
obliging workers to club together in groups to buy and
read it, thus making the paper into a glorious
* the naming of Palestine and the Occupied Territory /
Israel is the struggle over the meaning of a shared
object (the land);
* Gandhi's use of the landloom as both a weapon and tool
for Indian independence and self-sufficiency, raising it
from the status of obsolete and inferior technology to a
symbol of India.
In think this is not what Susan Leigh Star had in mind when
she introduced the term, but core point is that the
ideological construction placed upon an object is subject to
contestation, and if successful, the re-marking of an
artefact is a tremendously powerful spur to subjectivity.
Yrjo raises the question: is the"boundary object" a
mediating artefact or the object of work
(/Arbeitsgegenstand/)? I think the answer is that in these
cases it is a mediating artefact, tool or symbols according
to context. In principle it is not the Object in the
Engestromian sense, though it might happen to be.
On 21/07/2015 12:27 PM, HENRY SHONERD wrote:
> Rolf, Alfredo, Andy,
> I got to thinking about the photographs as boundary objects. What about video?
>> On Jul 20, 2015, at 6:07 PM, Andy Blunden <email@example.com> wrote:
>> Yes, thinking about this overnight, I came to see that it was the photographs that Thomas was endeavouring to turn to use to recover his humanity. This is consonant with how Yrjo was using the idea in relation to the subsistence farmers' movement in Mexico and their corn.
>> Thanks Rolf!
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> On 21/07/2015 3:04 AM, Rolf Steier wrote:
>>> This makes sense to me, Andy. I could also interpret the photographs as boundary objects as they support the coordination of therapy activities between Thomas and the nurse. I think it depends on the aspect of activity one is attempting to explore as opposed to the definite identification of what may or may not be a boundary object. This is only my opinion though!
>>> On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 3:49 PM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>> wrote:
>>> Or alternatively, the boundary object in question is
>>> Thomas's aged body, which is subject to an
>>> interpretation which Thomas contests by showing
>>> photographs of far away places and explaining how
>>> well-travelled he is, seeking an interpretation of
>>> himself as a well-travelled and experiences
>>> Does that make better sense?
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> On 20/07/2015 11:27 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>> Yes, I agree. My own interest is in social theory
>>> and I'd never heard of "boundary objects." It
>>> seems to me that what BOs do is introduce some
>>> social theory into domains of activity (scientific
>>> and work collaborations for example) where the
>>> participants naively think they are collaborating
>>> on neutral ground. So it is not just granularity,
>>> but also the ideological context.
>>> In Yjro Engestrom's article, the home care workers
>>> collaborate with the old couple according to rules
>>> and regulations, communications resources,
>>> technology, finance and so on, which in the
>>> unnamed country, the old couple are apparently
>>> cast as "patients". Isn't it the case that here it
>>> is those rules and regulations, etc., which are
>>> the "boundary objects"?
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> On 20/07/2015 11:13 PM, Rolf Steier wrote:
>>> I think that a particular institution or
>>> government system could potentially be a
>>> boundary object depending on how the concept
>>> is applied. Star describes three criteria: 1)
>>> interpretive flexibility 2) material/
>>> organizational structure and 3) scale/
>>> granularity in which the concept is useful.
>>> She argues that boundary objects are typically
>>> most useful at the organizational level - so I
>>> would say that one would have to justify the
>>> utility of applying the concept to a
>>> particular institution, as opposed to, say, an
>>> object within an institution.
>>> On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 2:46 PM, Andy Blunden
>>> <firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
>>> <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>>> wrote:
>>> So would it be correct to describe the
>>> institutions and political system are
>>> "boundary objects"?
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> On 20/07/2015 9:42 PM, Rolf Steier wrote:
>>> Hi Andy -
>>> Good catch! I believe that is a typo
>>> and should
>>> read "despite a LACK of consensus".
>>> Thank you for
>>> pointing that out.
>>> I also wanted to follow up on a
>>> suggestion that
>>> Greg made in the other thread
>>> suggesting we look
>>> at David McNeill's work. I had only
>>> been familiar
>>> with his earlier work on gesture, but
>>> after doing
>>> a bit of reading over the weekend, I
>>> found his
>>> concept of 'unexpected metaphors'
>>> useful in dealing with some of my
>>> Here is a relevant quote describing
>>> metaphors as a form of gesture:
>>> /The logic is that unexpected
>>> metaphors arise
>>> from the
>>> need to create images when the
>>> culture does
>>> not have
>>> them readily at hand. These images
>>> join linguistic
>>> content as growth points and
>>> differentiate what
>>> Vygotsky (1987) called psychological
>>> predicates, or
>>> points of contrast in the
>>> immediate ongoing
>>> context of
>>> speaking. Unexpected metaphors,
>>> because they
>>> are outside the conventions of
>>> language and
>>> can capture abstractions in novel
>>> ways and
>>> provide the
>>> fluidity of thought and language
>>> that is the
>>> of ongoing discourse./
>>> On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 1:00 PM, Andy
>>> <mailto:email@example.com>>>> wrote:
>>> Rolf, what did you mean by "the
>>> achievement of
>>> cooperation despite consensus"?
>>> p. 131,
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> On 17/07/2015 8:45 AM, Rolf Steier
>>> Are we allowed to ask
>>> questions about our
>>> paper as
>>> well? I hope so!
>>> For a little context -in our
>>> paper, we
>>> particular kinds of
>>> episodes in which participants
>>> from different
>>> disciplines seek coherence
>>> and continuity of shared
>>> bodily action. These
>>> actions include gesture,
>>> movement and physical
>>> performance linking the
>>> present material artifacts to
>>> objects of
>>> Most of these episodes
>>> seem to involve some form of
>>> resourcefulness or creativity,
>>> and I'm not fully sure how to
>>> aspects of the
>>> interactions. In most cases, the
>>> participants seem
>>> to be searching for the
>>> best words or material
>>> representation to
>>> convey a
>>> particular intention -
>>> when this becomes problematic
>>> or limiting
>>> - they
>>> almost fall back on what
>>> is available - these
>>> improvised bodily
>>> performances - as a way of
>>> maintaining continuity, and of
>>> co-participants into a shared and
>>> imagined space. These bodily
>>> actions don't
>>> seem to
>>> begin the proposals, but
>>> are in a sense *discovered* by the
>>> I think there is something
>>> really fascinating
>>> about this kind of creativity
>>> and resourcefulness in
>>> interaction that
>>> could be
>>> explored more deeply - and
>>> that I'm having trouble
>>> Maybe some
>>> of you have some thoughts
>>> on this? Alfredo - I know
>>> we've talked
>>> about this
>>> a bit before so maybe you
>>> can add a little clarity to my
>>> On Thu, Jul 16, 2015 at 9:37
>>> PM, HENRY SHONERD
>>> Thank you very much for
>>> the sketch of your
>>> roots. I taught English in
>>> Puigcerda and Barcelona
>>> for 5 years
>>> back in
>>> the early 70s, just before
>>> Franco died. (He died the
>>> day I
>>> boarded the
>>> plane back to the U.S.) Place
>>> and language are interesting,
>>> especially where
>>> language varieties meet.
>>> Boundaries. I know mostly
>>> from my
>>> with the music of Catalunya
>>> and Mallorca that the speech
>>> communities in
>>> each of those places treasure
>>> their unique languages
>>> (Catalan and
>>> Mallorquin), yet see a
>>> vis-a-vis their
>>> separateness from
>>> Spanish, the national language
>>> of Spain from 1492 on. I
>>> see a parallel
>>> between your work on boundary
>>> objects, where individual
>>> to create spaces, AND
>>> boundary objects
>>> “negotiated” by groups of
>>> people who live in real
>>> I am thinking, among other
>>> things, of
>>> indigeneity, a big topic
>>> here in New
>>> Mexico, with so many
>>> Native Americans.
>>> Assymetries of power.
>>> Testing and curriculum become
>>> instruments of
>>> war by other means. I hope my
>>> tone does not distract
>>> from, nor
>>> diminish, the
>>> optimism created by this
>>> thread. Yet I think that
>>> optimism is so
>>> precious because of the
>>> ground (the
>>> world) of the dialog.
>>> On Jul 16, 2015, at
>>> 12:13 PM, Alfredo
>>> Jornet Gil
>>> <firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
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