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[Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects



I think that the word Vygotsky uses here is not so much "image" as
"imagination" or perhaps "construal". Or rather, it is "image" but it isn't
image in the sense of a photographic image but more in the sense of a
Russian icon. That's why you can have an image of a game, and it's also why
it is really only half true to say that the concept is built through
actions. Painting isn't reducible to actions, and in a very important sense
the ideal image of the painting exists long before any action at all is
taken.

David Kellogg

On Sat, Jul 25, 2015 at 12:30 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Wow! Nice quote Larry! I must add that to my collection of Hegel citations
> (though actually I think it is an Engels quote)! I am not the only one who
> insists that a concept is a unity of individual, universal and particular!
>
> The thing is, Larry, if we think of the concept of "game", how does the
> child come to use "game" in a way that adults will understand and in turn
> be able to react when adults use it? This is of course a protracted process
> but it is through actions. In Thinking and Speech, Vygotsky explains
> concept formation only in terms of actions, not any kind of hypothetical
> mental images or dictionaries or mental filing systems or whatever. It is
> all actions which are in one way or another organised around some artefact,
> and in particular a word. At the most elementary level when an adult points
> and says "That is a game!" that point-and-name is an action. But it is in
> the whole bundle of actions around the word "game" that a child or an adult
> learns to use the word correctly, to utter the word meaningfully and
> coordinate their own actions with respect to the word. The words on their
> own are nothing. They acquire meaning only through their use in
> collaborative activity in which the learner participates in some way. The
> problem is, of course, that not everyone in the world uses the word in a
> uniform, consistent way.
>
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> On 25/07/2015 1:13 PM, Larry Purss wrote:
>
>> This "confusing struggle of different meanings" is of course nothing
>> other than activity. That is how signs and situations acquire psychological
>> meanings.
>>
>> In my continuing struggle that is definitely confusing I will share
>> Vygotsky's own words on what a concept is:
>>
>> "A real concept is an IMAGE of an objective thing in all its complexity.
>> Only when we recognize the thing in all its connections and relations, only
>> when this diversity is synthesized in a word in an INTEGRAL IMAGE through a
>> multitude of determinations, do we develop a concept.  According to the
>> teaching of dialectical logic, a concept INCLUDES not only the general but
>> also the individual and particular.
>>      In contrast to contemplation, to direct knowledge of an object, a
>> concept is filled with definitions of the object; it is the RESULT of
>> rational processing of our existence AND it is mediated knowledge of the
>> object.  To think of some object with the help of a concept MEANS TO
>> INCLUDE the GIVEN object in a complex SYSTEM of mediating connection and
>> relations DISCLOSED in determinations of the concept"
>> [Vygotsky, The Collected Works, Volume 5, Child Psychology, page 53]
>>
>> I felt my struggle I am going through may be relevant to others. In
>> particular "when we recognize the thing in all its connections and
>> relations .... THROUGH a multitude of DETERMINATIONS".
>> THIS [thing] is synthesized "in a word" IN AN INTEGRAL IMAGE".
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 5:00 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:
>> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>
>>     Thanks Manfred. I think we are on the same page.
>>     This "confusing struggle of different meanings" is of
>>     course nothing other than activity. That is how signs
>>     and situations acquire psychological meanings, and
>>     children learn not only by observing but by
>>     participating in those activities.
>>     Andy
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>>     *Andy Blunden*
>>     http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>     On 25/07/2015 5:50 AM, Holodynski, Manfred wrote:
>>
>>         Hi Andy,
>>         thanks for your clarification. I now think I have
>>         understood your message. You are "travelling" in
>>         the social world and discussing Leontyev's
>>         understanding of the concept of objective meaning.
>>         I can now understand your critique that he might
>>         believe that something like an objective meaning
>>         may exist or can be extracted from an analysis of
>>         social interactions. Ok, if one is going to
>>         analyze what the essence of an "objective meaning"
>>         e.g. of the word "dog" is (and all the more of
>>         abstract terms such as feminism, social justice),
>>         then one will find oneself in a confusing struggle
>>         of different meanings that are also changing with
>>         time. So, the objective meaning of a word or
>>         concept is fuzzy and of many voices. Nevertheless,
>>         people are sometimes (:-) ) able to communicate
>>         their personal sense by using words and concepts.
>>         This is not a hopeless endeavor although it
>>         sometimes and for some people fails miserably.
>>         Your construction of a theory of collaborative
>>         projects is indeed a noteworthy proposal to deal
>>         with the societal emergence and change of the
>>         objective meanings of concepts that maintain the
>>         link between the social and psychological plane.
>>         Best Manfred
>>
>>
>>         Prof. Dr. Manfred Holodynski
>>         Institut für Psychologie in Bildung und Erziehung
>>         Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
>>         Fliednerstr. 21
>>         D-48149 Münster
>>         +49-(0)-251-83-34311 <tel:%2B49-%280%29-251-83-34311>
>>         +49-(0)-251-83-34310
>>         <tel:%2B49-%280%29-251-83-34310> (Sekretariat)
>>         +49-(0)-251-83-34314
>>         <tel:%2B49-%280%29-251-83-34314> (Fax)
>>
>> http://wwwpsy.uni-muenster.de/Psychologie.inst5/AEHolodynski/index.html
>>         manfred.holodynski@uni-muenster.de
>>         <mailto:manfred.holodynski@uni-muenster.de>
>>
>>
>>         -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
>>         Von:
>>         xmca-l-bounces+manfred.holodynski=
>> uni-muenster.de@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>         <mailto:uni-muenster.de@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>         [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+manfred.holodynski
>>         <mailto:xmca-l-bounces%2Bmanfred.holodynski>=
>> uni-muenster.de@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>         <mailto:uni-muenster.de@mailman.ucsd.edu>] Im
>>         Auftrag von Andy Blunden
>>         Gesendet: Donnerstag, 23. Juli 2015 16:26
>>         An: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>         Betreff: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary
>>         Objects
>>
>>         Er: "macro-unit of activity", not "macro-unity".
>>         :( Andy
>>         ------------------------------------------------------------
>>         *Andy Blunden*
>>         http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>         <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>
>>         On 24/07/2015 12:10 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>
>>             Hi Manfred, I am delighted to hear your voice
>>             again on this list.
>>             I understand what you are saying. I will try
>>             to better explain how I
>>             stand with A N Leontyev.
>>
>>             I am a social theorist, that is I am
>>             interested in changing societal
>>             arrangements (to put it very politely), and I
>>             am one of few social
>>             theorists, properly so-called, who base
>>             themselves on Vygotsky's
>>             theories, and use Activity Theory as well. My
>>             position is a
>>             contradictory one because Vygotsky and
>>             Leontyev were psychologists
>>             (like
>>             you) and not social theorists. Social
>>             Theorists and Psychologists
>>             generally live in different buildings on the
>>             university campus, in
>>             different departments, publish in different
>>             journals, refer to
>>             different founding theorists, and altogether
>>             inhabit different
>>             universes. Social theorists have ideas about
>>             psychology, but generally
>>             not scientific ones, and vice versa.
>>             In my opinion, Vygotsky's ideas provide an
>>             excellent foundation for
>>             social theory because he introduced into human
>>             development and every
>>             interaction between two individuals a
>>             culturally produced sign. But he
>>             only went so far. He showed how people acted
>>             and developed within
>>             their social situation, but he did not tackle
>>             the problem of how that
>>             situation arose. Leontyev, by his discovery of
>>             the Activity as a
>>             macro-unity of activity, made an epoch-making
>>             development which opened
>>             CHAT to become a fully developed
>>             social-and-psychological theory. But
>>             what he said himself on questions of social
>>             theory was of very poor
>>             quality, as I said, "Neanderthal." Not the
>>             sort of ideas that would
>>             win any following among social theorists
>>             today. But he was after all a
>>             Psychologist and not a Social Theorist, so he
>>             is forgiven.
>>
>>             Now, to your point. If I am not mistaken
>>             "objective meaning" is not a
>>             psychological category at all for Leontyev.
>>             Yes? And personal sense
>>             is, as you eloquently explain, a fundamental
>>             Psychological category.
>>             So if what I said were to be interpreted to
>>             say that personal sense is
>>             a subset of objective meaning, that would be
>>             quite wrong. While I
>>             accept (as I must) a categorical difference
>>             between material
>>             objects/processes and their reflection in my
>>             mind, I do not at all
>>             understand societal processes as
>>             nonpsychological processes. I try to
>>             conceive of them together in one unit, and I
>>             think I am on my own
>>             there (some Freudian/Phenomenologists aside).
>>             There remains of course the distinction
>>             between the individual
>>             (Einzeln) and the universal (Allgemein),
>>             mediated by the particular
>>             (Besonder). A human individual is something
>>             radically different from a
>>             number of individuals. For the human
>>             individual and how they erleben a
>>             social situation, I rely on my friends and
>>             collaborator-psychologists.
>>             I am interested in how the Activities go. In
>>             small part to avoid
>>             having arguments with followers of Leontyev I
>>             call activities
>>             "projects."
>>             So I reserve the right to say things about
>>             projects without a follower
>>             of Leontyev correcting me. "Project" is not a
>>             mysterious or esoteric
>>             concept; every English-speaker knows what a
>>             project is, and if there
>>             is any confusion with projects as defined by
>>             Existentialists, I call
>>             them "collaborative projects." (i.e., people
>>             usually join them, not
>>             create them).  These include capitalist firms,
>>             political parties,
>>             sporting clubs or indeed whole sports, a
>>             family, a professional career
>>             - all those things which gives our lives
>>             mening while we build the
>>             world we and our children must live in, what
>>             Fedor Vasilyuk called an
>>             отношение . A project is not a collection of
>>             people, it is an
>>             aggregate of actions (like an Activity) and
>>             the "logic" of projects is
>>             something different from Psychology, but it is
>>             inclusive of Psychology
>>             as well. A project is a kind of psychological
>>             phenomenon, but it is
>>             also much more than psychology, because, as
>>             you remind us, people
>>             regulate their own behaviour using signs
>>             created in the world beyond
>>             their ken. Projects are the material substance
>>             of Concepts, and I rely
>>             on Vygotsky for a Psychology of concepts. OK?
>>
>>             Everything you said (except how you
>>             characterised my
>>             ideas) I agree with. Complex business isn't it?!
>>
>>             Andy
>>
>>
>>             ------------------------------------------------------------
>>             *Andy Blunden*
>>             http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>             <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>
>>             On 23/07/2015 10:37 PM, Holodynski, Manfred wrote:
>>
>>                 Hi Andy,
>>                 with great interest, I follow the
>>                 discussion and your interpretation
>>                 of A N Leontyev's contradiction between
>>                 subjective sense and
>>                 objective meaning. As far as I interpret
>>                 ANL he presented a very
>>                 elegant solution of the relation between
>>                 sense and meaning: For ANL,
>>                 subjective sense is not a part or subset
>>                 of objective meaning (as you
>>                 seem to insinuate him), but a
>>                 psychological quality that emerges when
>>                 a person uses societal signs and their
>>                 objective meanings in order to
>>                 regulate his or her socially embedded
>>                 activity.
>>                 What happens is a transformation of
>>                 societal meanings into the
>>                 personal sense of those involved. The
>>                 personal sense that an
>>                 individual assigns to interactions, facts,
>>                 and experiences through
>>                 the use of signs can be conceptualized not
>>                 as a subset of societal
>>                 meanings but as a particular sphere of
>>                 mind that is constituted by
>>                 two psychological factors in particular
>>                 (a) the relation to the
>>                 motives of the person, and (b) the
>>                 relation to the situated and
>>                 sensorially mediated experiences of the
>>                 individual within the process
>>                 of internalization.
>>                 a) People do not appropriate the use of
>>                 signs and their meanings
>>                 during social interactions in an impartial
>>                 way.
>>                 They interpret and use them in the light
>>                 of their actually elicited
>>                 motives along with the motives they assign
>>                 to the interaction
>>                 partner. The societal meaning of the used
>>                 signs does not have to
>>                 match the individually assigned personal
>>                 sense. For example, an
>>                 outsider may well interpret a public fit
>>                 of rage by a low-ranking
>>                 bank employee toward his superior as an
>>                 inexcusable violation of
>>                 social etiquette. However, for the menial
>>                 employee, it may well be a
>>                 reassertion of self-esteem in response to
>>                 a humiliating directive.
>>                 b) The personal sense of sign-use is also
>>                 determined by the
>>                 situatedness and sensory mediation of the
>>                 previous encounters in
>>                 which the use of signs is (or was)
>>                 embedded. Societal meanings are
>>                 coded primarily not by propositional
>>                 phrases (e.g., “a dog is a
>>                 mammal” or “wide-open eyes signal fear”)
>>                 but through their ties to
>>                 sensorially mediated and situated
>>                 perceptions—as complex as these
>>                 interrelations may be (Leont’ev, 1978).
>>                 For example, two persons can
>>                 use propositional phrases to agree on the
>>                 same definition of the term
>>                 “dog” or “fear.”
>>                 These terms, however, will be situated
>>                 very differently and enriched
>>                 with other sensory perceptions when one
>>                 person grew up with a very
>>                 likeable family dog and the other person
>>                 experienced a highly
>>                 dramatic episode with an overpoweringly
>>                 large and aggressive dog.
>>                 Thus, conventionalized signs and the
>>                 meanings assigned to them are
>>                 subject to an interpersonal process of
>>                 interpretation and
>>                 coordination that more or less
>>                 successfully supports the embodiment
>>                 and expression of personal sense. People
>>                 do not have a private
>>                 “speech” at their disposal that they can
>>                 construct and use on their
>>                 own (Wittgenstein). Therefore, they depend
>>                 on the appropriation and
>>                 use of conventionalized signs when they
>>                 want to communicate
>>                 successfully and satisfy their motives in
>>                 social interactions.
>>                 By an act of reflection, the person can
>>                 try to realize and to become
>>                 aware of his personal relation and sense
>>                 of the situation and the
>>                 used signs, but also this reflection has
>>                 to fall back on societal
>>                 signs in order to express this personal
>>                 relations. So, this is the
>>                 overall tension between objective meaning
>>                 of an event or an object
>>                 and its personal sense for a specific person.
>>                 Best
>>                 Manfred
>>
>>                 Prof. Dr. Manfred Holodynski
>>                 Institut für Psychologie in Bildung und
>>                 Erziehung Westfälische
>>                 Wilhelms-Universität Münster Fliednerstr. 21
>>                 D-48149 Münster
>>                 +49-(0)-251-83-34311
>>                 <tel:%2B49-%280%29-251-83-34311>
>>                 +49-(0)-251-83-34310
>>                 <tel:%2B49-%280%29-251-83-34310> (Sekretariat)
>>                 +49-(0)-251-83-34314
>>                 <tel:%2B49-%280%29-251-83-34314> (Fax)
>>
>> http://wwwpsy.uni-muenster.de/Psychologie.inst5/AEHolodynski/index.ht
>>                 ml
>>
>>                 manfred.holodynski@uni-muenster.de
>>                 <mailto:manfred.holodynski@uni-muenster.de>
>>
>>                 -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
>>                 Von:
>>                 xmca-l-bounces+manfred.holodynski=
>> uni-muenster.de@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                 <mailto:uni-muenster.de@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>                 [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+manfred.holodynski
>>                 <mailto:xmca-l-bounces%2Bmanfred.holodynski
>> >=uni-muenster.de@mailman.ucs
>>                 d.edu <http://d.edu>]
>>
>>                 Im Auftrag von Andy Blunden
>>                 Gesendet: Donnerstag, 23. Juli 2015 06:32
>>                 An: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>                 Cc: Geoffrey C. Bowker
>>                 Betreff: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of
>>                 Boundary Objects
>>
>>                 I was waiting to see what Lubomir would
>>                 say in response to my post to
>>                 take it from there, Mike, but I will try
>>                 to respond as best I can to
>>                 the question about subjectivism and
>>                 objectivism.
>>                 When I first remarked in my 2009 paper
>>                 that I thought that A N
>>                 Leontyev was too much of an objectivist,
>>                 Morten Nissen remarked that
>>                 that was odd, because in Europe ATists
>>                 thought he was too subjective.
>>                 So there you are!
>>                 Activity Theory as propounded by ANL is a
>>                 theory of Psychology, and
>>                 yet I want to use AT as a foundation for
>>                 social theory, so my claim
>>                 does seem anomalous.
>>
>>                 What it comes down to is the insistence of
>>                 ANL in interpreting
>>                 contradictions between the "subjective sense"
>>                 and the "objective meaning" of an activity
>>                 in terms of the social vs.
>>                 the individual. This reduces subjectivity
>>                 to a matter of the
>>                 capriciousness of the individual mind or
>>                 the underdevelopment of the
>>                 child mind. This is hardly objectionable
>>                 in the domain of child
>>                 development, but in the domain of social
>>                 theory it is a Neanderthal
>>                 position.
>>                 Social life is made up of a multiplicity
>>                 of standpoints among which
>>                 none have the right to claim unproblematic
>>                 "objective truth"
>>                 for themselves. This is the basis on which
>>                 I describe ANL as giving
>>                 too much to the Object. Engestrom on the
>>                 other hand, is different,
>>                 but people's intentions are relegated to
>>                 "phenomenological
>>                 investigation" which are preliminary to
>>                 the investigation itself. I
>>                 see Engestrom's approach as a kind of
>>                 social behaviourist approach in
>>                 which change occurs only thanks to
>>                 "contradictions" at different
>>                 levels in the "system." My aim in
>>                 proposing to see the "system" as a
>>                 "project" at one or another phase in its
>>                 life cycle aims to restore
>>                 the purposiveness of human action to
>>                 Activity Theory. The
>>                 interpretation of purposes and intentions
>>                 in social science is a
>>                 challenge, but I believe that with the aid
>>                 of Hegel it can be met.
>>
>>                 I am happy to join Rubinshtein and declare
>>                 "All the the Subject!"
>>                 though I know nothing at all of his work.
>>
>>                 The problem with your question about
>>                 Boundary Objects, Mike, is that
>>                 though I knew nothing of them a little
>>                 while ago, I can now see 3
>>                 different meanings of the term. So perhaps
>>                 Geoffrey is in the best
>>                 position to answer this question, and I
>>                 look forward to his answer.
>>
>>                 Andy
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>                 *Andy Blunden*
>>                 http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>                 <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>                 On 23/07/2015 2:13 PM, mike cole wrote:
>>
>>                     Andy/Lubomir--
>>
>>                     I am overwhelmed by this thread so
>>                     this's query may be badly timed.
>>                     But ....  I recall Lubomir writing
>>                     that AT was centered on the
>>                     subject. And now Andy is gesturing to
>>                     Strands of AT theory that give
>>                     everything to the object.
>>
>>                     Question-- isn't this a version of
>>                     Rubenshtein/Leontiev schools'
>>                     conflict? Or LSV "vs" AN L on the
>>                     problem of the environment?
>>
>>                     Or?
>>
>>                     What is at stake here theoretically
>>                     and practically?
>>                     Mike
>>                     PS.  I am still trying to absorb the
>>                     multifaceted discussion of
>>                     boundary object.  I almost want to ask
>>                     -- what forms of joint
>>                     mediated activity do not involve
>>                     boundary objects? But I am pretty
>>                     sure that not knowing the answer to
>>                     this question is a result of the
>>                     richness of the discussion.
>>
>>                     It's fair to say that XMCA is a
>>                     boundary object??
>>                     Mike
>>
>>                     On Wednesday, July 22, 2015, Andy
>>                     Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
>>                     <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
>>                     <mailto:ablunden@mira.net
>>                     <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>> wrote:
>>
>>                           That is exactly right, Larry, I
>>                     am advocating a
>>                           humanism, in opposition to
>>                     poststructuralism,
>>                           structuralism Marxism, and
>>                     strands of Activity Theory
>>                           which give everything to the Object.
>>                           Andy
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>>                           *Andy Blunden*
>>                     http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>                     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>                                              <
>> http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>                           On 23/07/2015 2:24 AM, Lplarry
>>                     wrote:
>>
>>                               Here is a quote from the
>>                     introduction of "The
>>                               Cambridge Handbook of
>>                     Merleau-Ponty on the topic
>>                               of the subject.
>>
>>                               "Foucault's archaeological
>>                     studies of the early
>>                               1970's, most notably "The
>>                     Order of Things" and
>>                               "The Archaeology of
>>                     Knowledge", did perhaps more
>>                               than any other work of the
>>                     period to LEGITIMIZE
>>                               conceiving of processes
>>                     without subjects."
>>
>>                               This is an "antihumanist"
>>                     program as Foucault saw
>>                               the failure of phenomenology
>>                     and the residual
>>                               links between subjectivism
>>                     and anthropology.
>>
>>                               The force of Foucault's
>>                     argument was tying the
>>                               philosophy of the subject to
>>                     what he saw as an
>>                               outmoded humanism.
>>
>>                               It may be what Andy is
>>                     highlighting is a new humanism.
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>>                               From: Lubomir Savov Popov
>>                     <mailto:lspopov@bgsu.edu
>>                     <mailto:lspopov@bgsu.edu>>
>>                               Sent: ‎2015-‎07-‎22 8:55 AM
>>                               To: eXtended Mind, Culture,
>>                     Activity
>>                                                  <mailto:
>> xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                     <mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>>;
>>                     Andy Blunden
>>                               <mailto:ablunden@mira.net
>>                     <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>
>>
>>                               Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>                     Emergence of Boundary
>>                               Objects
>>
>>                               Hi Alfredo,
>>
>>                               The object doesn't carry in
>>                     itself the motive and
>>                               the purpose of activity.
>>                     Actually, depending on
>>                               the motive and purpose of
>>                     activity, the object can
>>                               be approached in many
>>                     different ways.
>>
>>                               It is true that the
>>                     relationship between the
>>                               object and the subject
>>                     caries the
>>
>>  purpose/goal/objective/motive of
>>                     activity. This
>>                               type of relationship might
>>                     has several aspects and
>>                               the teleological aspect is
>>                     one of them. Actually,
>>                               in AT, the teleological
>>                     aspect is central one
>>                               among all aspects of
>>                     Subject-Object relationships.
>>
>>                               The teleological aspect in
>>                     AT is envisaged at
>>                               several levels with
>>                     distinctive teleological
>>                               phenomena: motivation, goal,
>>                     etc.
>>
>>                               It is difficult to find
>>                     diagrams of the structure
>>                               of activity with its three
>>                     levels. I just tried to
>>                               do that and in most cases I
>>                     got the famous
>>                               "triangle." The internet is
>>                     dominated by English
>>                               language texts where the
>>                     authors evidently use
>>                               that version of activity
>>                     theory. The three
>>                               structural levels of
>>                     activity might be found in t
>>
>>                               Lubomir
>>
>>                               -----Original Message-----
>>                               From:
>>                                                  xmca-l-bounces+lspopov=
>> bgsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                     <mailto:bgsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>                     [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+lspopov
>>                     <mailto:xmca-l-bounces%2Blspopov>=
>> bgsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                     <mailto:bgsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu>]
>>                               On Behalf Of Alfredo Jornet Gil
>>                               Sent: Wednesday, July 22,
>>                     2015 11:25 AM
>>                               To: eXtended Mind, Culture,
>>                     Activity; Andy Blunden
>>                               Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>                     Emergence of Boundary
>>                               Objects
>>
>>                               That was a very helpful
>>                     entry, Andy. Thanks!
>>                               I see that our treatment of
>>                     object in the paper is
>>                               very much in line with the
>>                     notion of
>>                               Arbeitsgegenstand as you
>>                     describe it.
>>
>>                               I have many questions, most
>>                     of which I should find
>>                               in the literature rather
>>                     than bother here. But I
>>                               would like to ask one here.
>>                     It concerns the quote
>>                               that the object "carries in
>>                     itself the purpose and
>>                               motive of the activity."
>>                     What does "in itself"
>>                               mean here?
>>                               Thanks again for a very
>>                     informative post,
>>                               Alfredo
>>
>>  ________________________________________
>>                               From:
>>                     xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=
>> iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                     <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>                     <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=
>> iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>                     <mailto:iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
>>                               on behalf of Andy Blunden
>>                     <ablunden@mira.net
>>                     <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>
>>
>>                               Sent: 22 July 2015 08:31
>>                               To: eXtended Mind, Culture,
>>                     Activity
>>                               Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The
>>                     Emergence of Boundary
>>                               Objects
>>
>>                               If I could try to do my
>>                     thing and draw attention
>>                               to some
>>                               distinctions in this field
>>                     ... we have at least three
>>                               different versions of
>>                     Activity Theory involved
>>                               here plus
>>                               Leigh Star's theory and in
>>                     addition the theories
>>                               that have
>>                               spun off from Leigh Star's
>>                     initial idea. Each is
>>                               using the
>>                               word "object" in a different
>>                     way, all of them
>>                               legitimate
>>                               uses of the English word,
>>                     but all indexing different
>>                               concepts. So for the sake of
>>                     this discussion I
>>                               will invent
>>                               some different terms.
>>
>>                               The German word
>>                     Arbeitsgegenstand means the object of
>>                               labour, the material which
>>                     is to be worked upon, the
>>                               blacksmith's iron. It is
>>                     objective, in that if may
>>                               be a nail
>>                               to a man with a hammer and
>>                     waste material for a
>>                               man with a
>>                               broom, but it is all the
>>                     same Arbeitsgegenstand.
>>                               Engestrom
>>                               use the word "Object" in the
>>                     middle of the left
>>                               side of the
>>                               triangle to mean
>>                     Arbeitsgegenstand, and when it
>>                               has been
>>                               worked upon it becomes
>>                     "Outcome." The hammer that the
>>                               blacksmith uses is called
>>                     "Instruments" or now
>>                               "instrumentality," and the
>>                     Rules, whether implicit or
>>                               explicit, these are
>>                     respectively the base and apex
>>                               of the
>>                               triangle.
>>
>>                               Engestrom says " The object
>>                     carries in itself the
>>                               purpose
>>                               and motive of the activity."
>>                     So this "purpose or
>>                               motive" is
>>                               not shown on the triangle,
>>                     but I will call it the
>>                               OBJECT.
>>                               This is what Leontyev meant
>>                     by "object" when he
>>                               talks about
>>                               "object-oriented activity."
>>                     The OBJECT is a
>>                               complex notion,
>>                               because it is only
>>                     *implicit* in the actions of the
>>                               subject(s); it is not a
>>                     material thing or process
>>                               as such.
>>                               Behaviourists would exclude
>>                     it altogether. But
>>                               this is what
>>                               is motivating all the
>>                     members of the design team
>>                               when they
>>                               sit down to collaborate with
>>                     one another. Bone one
>>                               of the
>>                               team thinks the OBJECT is to
>>                     drive the nail into
>>                               the wood
>>                               and another thinks the
>>                     OBJECT is to sweep the
>>                               Arbeitsgegenstand into the
>>                     wastebin. These OBJECTs
>>                               change in
>>                               the course of collaboration
>>                     and in the End an
>>                               OBJECT Is
>>                               *realised* which is the
>>                     "truth" of the
>>                               collaboration, to use
>>                               Hegel's apt terminology here.
>>
>>                               Surely it is important to
>>                     recognise that while
>>                               everyone
>>                               shares the same
>>                     Arbeitsgegenstand, and ends up
>>                               with Outcome
>>                               as the same OBJECT, along
>>                     the road they construe
>>                               the object
>>                               differently. This is what
>>                     Vygotsky showed so
>>                               clearly in
>>                               Thinking and Speech. It is
>>                     not the
>>                               Arbeitsgegenstand or some
>>                               problem carried within it
>>                     alone which motivates
>>                               action, but
>>                               *the concept the subject
>>                     makes of the
>>                               Arbeitsgegenstand*!
>>
>>                               Then Leigh Star comes along
>>                     and applies (as
>>                               Lubomir astutely
>>                               notices) postmodern ideology
>>                     critique to the
>>                               collaboration
>>                               within an ostensibly neutral
>>                     infrastructure - that
>>                               is, in
>>                               Engestrom's terms Rules and
>>                     Instruments, which are
>>                               naively
>>                               supposed to be there just to
>>                     aid collaboration.
>>                               And Leigh
>>                               Star shows that this is an
>>                     illusion; the Rules and
>>                               Instruments are in fact
>>                     residues of past
>>                               collaborations
>>                               which carry within them the
>>                     Outcomes, i.e.,
>>                               realised OBJECTs
>>                               of past collaborations. It
>>                     is these one-time OBJECTs,
>>                               now-Instruments+Rules which
>>                     are the Boundary Objects.
>>
>>                               But it seems that other have
>>                     grasped the
>>                               postmodern critique
>>                               elements of this idea, that
>>                     apparently
>>                               ideologically neutral
>>                               obJects (in the expanded
>>                     sense of socially constructed
>>                               entities, usually far more
>>                     than OBJects - as
>>                               things, or
>>                               artefacts, including
>>                     institutions - fossilised
>>                               "systems of
>>                               activity") and recognised
>>                     the shared OBJECT as a
>>                               Boundary
>>                               Object, reflecting the fact
>>                     not everyone has the same
>>                               concept of the OBJECT, as
>>                     Vygotsky proved.
>>
>>                               But what Engestrom has done,
>>                     by placing the
>>                               Boundary Object
>>                               in the place of Object on
>>                     his triangle, joining
>>                               two "systems
>>                               of activity," for the
>>                     purpose of looking not at
>>                               cooperation
>>                               but rather the conflict
>>                     within the broader
>>                               collaboration.
>>                               The reconstrual of the
>>                     Arbeitsgegenstand is
>>                               deliberate and
>>                               aimed to change the relation
>>                     between Subject and
>>                               obJECT
>>                               (here referring to the
>>                     Hegelian "Object" usually
>>                               rendered as
>>                               "the Other.") thereby
>>                     introducing yet a different
>>                               strand of
>>                               postmodern critique into the
>>                     equation, namely
>>                               Foucault's
>>                               Poststructuralism, to mind
>>                     mind, with great effect.
>>
>>                               OK, so we have
>>                     Arbeitsgegenstand. OBJECT, Boundary
>>                               Object,
>>                               OBject, obJECT and obJect.
>>                     And I might say, the
>>                               situation is
>>                               almost as bad in Russian and
>>                     German,
>>
>>                               Andy
>>
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>>                               *Andy Blunden*
>>                     http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>                     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>                                                  <
>> http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>
>>                               On 22/07/2015 5:46 AM,
>>                     Alfredo Jornet Gil wrote:
>>                               > Thanks a lot for your
>>                     appreciation, Lubomir.
>>                               >
>>                               > To clarify my question in
>>                     the previous e-mail, I
>>                               wish to add that I am a bit
>>                     familiar with the
>>                               distinction between object
>>                     and tool in activity
>>                               theory, though not enough
>>                     yet. I can see, and we
>>                               were aware through the
>>                     process, that what we
>>                               describe in the paper has to
>>                     do with how the
>>                               object of design emerged and
>>                     developed for the
>>                               team in and as they were
>>                     dealing with, developing,
>>                               and resorting to particular
>>                     means or tools. But I
>>                               guess we could say that in
>>                     our analyses there is a
>>                               lack of a historical account
>>                     of the object that
>>                               goes over and above the
>>                     particular instances
>>                               analyzed. Although we
>>                     provide with some
>>                               ethnographic
>>                     contextualization of the team's
>>                               developmental trajectories,
>>                     all of our discussion
>>                               is grounded on concrete
>>                     events and their
>>                               transactional unfolding. We
>>                     did not resort to the
>>                               distinction between object
>>                     and means because it
>>                               seemed to be the same thing
>>                     in the there and then
>>                               of the episodes analyzed, at
>>                     least in what
>>                               participants' orientations
>>                     concerned. If they ori
>>                               >   ented towards anything
>>                     beyond what was there
>>                               in the meetings, it was in
>>                     and through the
>>                               meetings' means. How would
>>                     then the distinction
>>                               between means and object
>>                     have added to our
>>                               understanding of the events?
>>                     (And this is not to
>>                               doubt of the contribution
>>                     from such a distinction,
>>                               I really mean to ask this
>>                     question for the purpose
>>                               of growing and expanding;
>>                     and as said before, part
>>                               of the answer may be found
>>                     in Engestrom et al.
>>                               contribution).
>>                               >
>>                               > As to how we would
>>                     position our contribution
>>                               with regard to activity
>>                     theory, I would reiterate
>>                               what we said when
>>                     introducing the paper for
>>                               discussion: we begun with
>>                     the purpose of working
>>                               outside any particular
>>                     framework and think, as we
>>                               think Star did, broadly,
>>                     drawing from several
>>                               sources. These included
>>                     cultural historical
>>                               psychology,
>>                     ethnomethodology, and discourse
>>                               analysis. But also the ideas
>>                     about Experience (in
>>                               the Deweyan/Vygotskyan
>>                     sense) that have been the
>>                               topic in this discussion
>>                     were in the background
>>                               all the time, but we did not
>>                     operationalize them
>>                               in terms of any particular
>>                     theory. This is not to
>>                               say that we went for the
>>                     "anything goes;" we tried
>>                               our best to keep internal
>>                     coherence between what
>>                               we said about the data, and
>>                     what the data was
>>                               exhibiting for us. Perhaps
>>                     Rolf would like to add
>>                               to this.
>>                               >
>>                               > I think the questions you
>>                     are rising about
>>                               activity theory are very
>>                     much in the spirit of
>>                               what I am after, and I am
>>                     not the best to answer
>>                               them; but this xmca list may
>>                     be one of the best
>>                               places to be asking those
>>                     questions.
>>                               >
>>                               > Alfredo
>
>