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[Xmca-l] Re: Which comes first, context or text?

I think that an even better question concerning the discussion on the primacy of context over text (or the opposite) concerns the epistemology that affords posing the question in just those terms: 

if we wonder whether context or text come before or after, then we are already assuming that there must be a temporal delay between them. Of course, the answer might be: they come just at the same time. Any of the three possible answers begin from a view of the world as a set of substances that can be ordered temporally, some being figure, others being background. 

Now, imagine that we begin from a different epistemological perspective: one where time is inherent to the phenomenon (to all phenomena), and so questions of temporality make no sense because phenomena are, in themselves, temporizing phenomena. Then, the question is not what comes first, nor is it the answer: the context comes first. Rather is, what kind of historical unfolding (phenomenon) leads to the existence of just THIS con-text relation? Then look for the historical conditions that allow (and therefore explain) the existence of anything like the egg-hen unit. I take this to be the sort of ecological approach Bateson was suggesting, someone that, along with Birdwhistell already mentioned in a previous e-mail, discussed the notion of context.

Best wishes
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Ma, James (james.ma@canterbury.ac.uk) <james.ma@canterbury.ac.uk>
Sent: 21 March 2016 21:39
To: eXtended Mind, Culture,     Activity (xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu)
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Which comes first, context or text?

Perhaps we shouldn't think that context and text would be a causal dilemma like chicken and egg. Research has already confirmed that an eggshell is formed through the protein within a hen's ovaries - which means that an egg can exist only if it's been inside a hen.

So, it might be a good idea to think that context comes first. Otherwise, context is text's way of making another text; text is context's way of making another context.

James Ma

From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu>
Sent: 21 March 2016 17:49
To: eXtended Mind, Culture,     Activity (xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu)
Subject: [Xmca-l]  FW: Which comes first, context or text?

This article, now nearly a quarter century old, might be of interest to those following this thread. p