[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] Re: Community Psychology

What Engestrom is doing by saying "the activity is the context" is further specifying "context" according to how context is grasped in CHAT. I.e., we do not simply ask for a list of everything around, from economic conditions to the weather, we ask "what is going on here?" By its nature this indicates the outcome of an enquiry into the environment, rather than the environment as such. A person's action make sense in the context of the activity of which it was a part.

*Andy Blunden*
On 26/03/2016 1:40 AM, Larry Purss wrote:
Thank you for situating where and when the concept or terminology  “activity setting” came into being. You mention;

“Activity setting” is the terminology Tom Weisner and I used in a AAA
paper (attached) “constructed” by us to reflect the impact on our thinking
of the Whitings Psychocultural Theory and Activity Theory/Vygotsky.
Your reasons for this specific selection of a hybrid term was,

“ We were trying at the time to
see a convergence in thinking in different realms of psychology and
anthropology. The Psychocultural folks used “settings” which seemed to map
onto “activity”
Therefore the “con/text” of this months article for discussion can be understood as a mediated outgrowth of the way [the reasons presented]  this specific terminology was first invented and then employed  by you and Tom for the purposes of *con/vergence” amidst “di/vergence”.

To return to a question Mike asked when refeeing to Engestrom who said “Activity IS context”.

This is an assertion that is determinate and committed and therefore existential. This is an expression not of semblance [or re/semblance] but is a statement of identity. It is not a con/vergence amidst difference.

Mike’s question refers to a *gap* that may open within the terminology of “activity” and “context”.
This may lead [or carry on as a travelling metaphor] towards exploring the contrasts between activity settings with behaviour settings and praxis settings that may “institute” differing contexts.

I would like to introduce a new term into our conversation at this moment. The term is *entelechy*.
Potential for realization
A realization or actuality rather than a potentiality.
Intrinsic energy
Equivalent to [en’1’ -en’2’] plus [goal or tel(os)] plus [to have or ech/ein]
*that* which makes actual *what is* only potential
The distinction between the potential and the actual
The form which makes something what it is
The stuff of matter is not yet real something.It needs necessarily *certain* form or function to complete
Matter and form are never separated, they can only be distinguished or selected
Example: inorganic substances can be “selected” from a *certain* form or function or *inner activity* [without which] this inorganic matter would not be a living form or living activity. This living form is what Aristotle called the *first* entelechy of the living organism. The first potential of realization.
Some versions of speculation speculate that entelechy may become conscious of *itself* meaning its potential realized.

As I listen to our conversation exploring the event of the terminology of *activity setting* coming into form/function and this form/concept travelling towards this months article for discussion I wonder ihow or if entelechy is implicated differently within the concept “context” in contrast to “activity”
Or are “activity” and “context” identical forms/functions [a *certain* determinate relation.]

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

From: mike cole
Sent: Wednesday, March 23, 2016 6:20 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Community Psychology

It is great to see your voice, Ron, after such a long absence!

Perfect timing for intervening to bring your first person perspective to
the days of the kamehameha project, too.

A very neat summary of reasons for bringing Vygotsky and activity into the
discussion. The summary make a point that has been the subject of a lot of
discussion recently -- how to ensure that agency for change in such
projects comes from what you call the ecocultural niche.

How, in intervention research, can one, does one, position oneself as the
instrument of the community in its efforts to develop, however community is
instantiated in the research.

Is there a recent historical account of that project? Something along the
lines of the paper that Cliff posted about Seymous Sarason's activity
setting, an old building
on the edge of a freeway extension, in New Haven?


On Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 5:48 PM, Ronald Gallimore <ronaldg@ucla.edu> wrote:


“Activity setting” is the terminology Tom Weisner and I used in a AAA
paper (attached) “constructed” by us to reflect the impact on our thinking
of the Whitings Psychocultural Theory and Activity Theory/Vygotsky. Roland
and I used it in in Rousing Minds to Life
  as you and many others were introducing to American

 From the Conclusions of Weisner & Gallimore (1985):

"The convergence of these two theories suggests some interesting
hypotheses: First, for cultural change to have effects on individuals,
ecocultural forces must be instantiated into activity settings which are a
part of the everyday life of the individual. Changes which never influence
goals, motives, personnel, tasks, and task requirements will have little
effect on individual cognition, emotion and behavior. This is as true of
the home and community setting, as it is for the classroom: efforts to
"make culture relevant for minority education" which do not also have the
effect of reshaping relevant features of classroom activity settings are
unlikely to produce strong effects on learning.

A second hypothesis relates specifically to children and to efforts to
affect child development through parent training. Many programs rely on
training of parents to achieve socially desirable goals. The convergence of
activity and ecocultural theory suggests that none of these will have
lasting effects unless they create activities which are supported by the
local ecocultural niche.

A related version of the same hypothesis is a requirement that any effort
to train parents must require evidence that such training is not only
supported by the niche, but is adopted by other parents and diffused
through the niche as a valued innovation by kinsmen and other culture

Uniting of activity and ecocultural theory provides an attractive
alternative to explanations using packed, global terms, such as
differential levels of "stimulation" for children, or packaged family-level
measures such as socioeconomic status rankings. Used in this way
stimulation has roughly the same explanatory properties as bad night air.
Something about better educated mothers makes them more stimulating--but
what? What are the mediating mechanisms? The combination of the two
theories provides a basis for specifying at the level of cultural
activities what it is that accounts for differential behavior, and at the
same time provides a principled basis for identifying the ecocultural
context which gives rise to the activities. What matters is the ecocultural
factors that in turn influence the who, why, what and how of the activities
in which children spend their time.”


On Mar 23, 2016, at 5:21 PM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
Cliff, thanks for this.
Michael, yes, I'm entirely in agreement about the importance of the
intransigence of a meaning of a concept for the individual - it has to be
something outside of us in order to be of value to us, i.e. to enable
newness, growth, development.

Where I get tripped up is: does meaning have to be intransigent for a
community? I suppose the answer is: yes, if the point is the growth of
community. But maybe not if the point is the growth of the individuals in
that community (for whom the meaning may indeed be intransigent).


On Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 2:31 PM, Cliff O'Donnell <cliffo@hawaii.edu>
Greg, for an overview of the Yale Psycho-Educational Clinic, see:

Goldenburg, I. and Levine, M. (1969), The development and evolution of
YALE PSYCHO-EDUCATIONAL CLINIC. Applied Psychology: An International
Review, 18, 101–110. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-0597.1969.tb00671.x


On Mar 22, 2016, at 7:22 PM, Greg Thompson wrote:

Just wondering if you had any observations to share about the Yale
Psycho-Educational Clinic?
(or maybe you had left Yale by then?).
Seemed like an interesting attempt to create a setting that would be
to hear more about from the outside.

On Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 1:19 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

Trying to follow through on each of the concepts, Cliff.
In this connection, I notice that you use the term "activity setting"
you attribute to Vygotsky. The book I took the McDermott materials
called "Understanding Practice: Perspectives on activity and context.
that book, in the discussions among authors, Engestrom is led to
that "the activity is the context."

So my mind is spinning around what an activity setting might refer to
and above "activity." And then there is the question of how your use
term context and the word setting relate to each other. And all of
presumably closely linked to the discussion on text/context.

Interesting to revisit old topics from new perspectives.


On Sun, Mar 20, 2016 at 11:55 AM, Cliff O'Donnell <cliffo@hawaii.edu>

Thanks, Mike. Attached is the manuscript for my 2012 article with
In it we discuss how we are using the concepts of context, culture,
Note that context is expressed in one of the goals of community


by its professional organization,
the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA):
‘'to promote theory development and research that increases
our understanding of human behavior in context’'
(SCRA 2010 )."

After discussing the many meanings of culture, we used the
definition as
the "shared meanings of people, developed through their history
and activities." Also in our discussion of intersubjectivity, we
"intersubjectivity does not imply uniformity. Diversity may be a
agreement about process may allow frequent conflict, and there will


be differences among people in their skills, thoughts, experience,
emotions. In
addition, activity settings are dynamic; their characteristics are in


and, therefore, the intersubjectivity of their participants change
time (O’Donnell et al.
1993, p. 507)."


On Mar 20, 2016, at 8:26 AM, mike cole wrote:

Alfredo's comments sent me looking for background material on the CC

of Roland and Cliff's article.

There is an article by Seymour as part of a special issue of MCA a
ago. It seems not to have attraced the notice it deserves.Attached.
Also attached is a recent summary of Community Psychology and

research which seemed like promising background and perhaps a source
additional ideas, since intervention is what so many us do

Myself, I have been thinking about why Roland and Cliff identified
secondary intersubjectivity as a key common principle.



It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
that creates history. Ernst Boesch
<Revisiting the Creating of Settings.pdf><communitypsych.pdf>


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

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

Clifford R. O'Donnell, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Past-President, Society for Community Research and Action (APA Division
University of Hawai‘i
Department of Psychology
2530 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602