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[Xmca-l] Re: operations and practical consciousness
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- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: operations and practical consciousness
- From: "Dr. Paul C. Mocombe" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Sun, 31 Jan 2016 08:08:20 -0500
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You are absolutely correct that in Giddens the movement between practical and discursive consciousness is not theorized. Giddens' structurationism is a "duality"--the internalization of the rules of conduct of a social structure, taken to be the nature of reality as such and recursively reorganized and reproduced as human praxis in a material resource framework-- and not a "dualism." Hence there is a direct parallel between Giddens' practical consciousness, bourdieu's notion of capital, and Marshall sahlins' mythopraxis. In structurationist sociology, habermas in his theory of communicative action is the only theorists, I believe, that does a masterful job in conceptualizing and theorizing about the movement between practical and discursive consciousness... this is where his work deviates from the dualism of marcuse, adorno, and horkimer.
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-------- Original message --------
From: Andy Blunden <email@example.com>
Date: 1/31/2016 6:19 AM (GMT-05:00)
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [Xmca-l] operations and practical consciousness
Can I get an opinion on this from xmca-ers?
Anthony Giddens has his own modified-Freudian structure of
the personality: "basic security system", "practical
consciousness" and "discursive consciousness" instead of id,
ego and superego.
I am involved in criticising this concept of "practical
consciousness" and using Leontyev's three levels of activity.
For Giddens, "practical consciousness" is not the practical
intelligence which an infant acquires by handling objects or
the ability to solve manual tasks, but simply the kind of
knowledge which allows people to carry out routine
functions, administrative tasks for example, whether social,
practical or intellectual in form. According to Giddens this
knowledge may have been acquired without ever passing
through conscious awareness (although this is not a category
he uses). In fact "without conscious awareness" would
probably be the correct name for what he calls "practical".
SInce Giddens accepts Freud's concept of the Unconscious, it
seems that "practical consciousness" is part of the Unconscious.
My question is this? - Am I right that operations are not
necessarily physical actions (like stepping over a curb
without thinking, forming a letter when writing or tying
your shoelaces), but can equally be things like estimating a
person's intentions from their expressions, greeting someone
appropriately, filling out a routine form - that is, *not
limited to the physical operations* we usually use as examples?
According to Giddens, if asked to explain why they did
something (practical consciousness) then the subject will
have to reflect on it and provide an explanation through
discursive consciousness. But he says (correctly I think)
that this discursive explanation could only be an
*interpretation* of what they did under practical
consciousness, i.e., "unconsciously," and do not normally
formulate theories about. He says that there is no "barrier"
between practical and discursive consciousness, but the
movement between the two seems not to be theorised.