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[Xmca-l] Re: Kukiya--kiya incident and question



The word "gung ho" (Chinese) is entirely wrong here, but I am trying to
think why. "Gung ho" is the southern pronunciation of Mandarin "gong he",
which means "cooperative" (it's an abbreviation of "gongye hezuoshe"); it
was the slogan of the Chinese industrial cooperative movement during the
struggle against the Japanese, small village level enterprises which tried
to keep a modicum of industrial production up so that China, whose cities
were occupied by Japan and by the right wing dictatorship of Chiang
Kaishek, could keep fighting. It was founded by Rewi Alley from New
Zealand, and Michael Halliday, the linguist, was an active participant. In
the 1940s, the US Marines took over the slogan and popularized it in their
fight against the Japanese, without really knowing what it meant. Another
possible translation is "stronger together".

So one reason that it is not an appropriate translation of kukiya-kiya is
that it does not involve individual solutions to social problems: on the
contrary, it demands a social solution to lacks and wants which were
previously felt onlyh individually. A second reason is that it comes from a
period of national construction rather than deconstruction. Yes, the idea
is working around and finding solutions, but these solutions don't involve
reworking dilapidated commodity economy infrastructure for a subsistence
economy, but instead reworking subsistence economy resources for the
purpose of creating commodities. Finally, I think "gung ho" has nothing to
do with disinheritance: on the contrary, the idea is building up a
heritance for the next generation.

The next generation was, actually, my wife's generation. In the late
fifties and early sixties, when China broke with the USSR, they had a
problem that looked a lot more like the situation that Zaza is
describing: oil fields and steel plants built under the Soviets which
gradually fell into disuse because of the unavailability of parts and the
lack of maintenance expertise. In the late fifties, the regime responded
with so-called "back yard steel factories" based on Rewi Alley's
"gongye hezuoshe", The myth was that if you built a little oven and put in
some low grade ore, you could "seed" it with real steel and the whole thing
would somehow be alchemically transformed into high grade metal.  This
produced unusable mud-metal lumps that I still saw lying around in the
early 1980s when I was researching a book on the various state planning
idiocies of the late fifites. By the time my wife was a school girl, they
had realized that this "stone soup" technique really didn't work and
instead had recycling campaigns, but people had almost nothing to recycle.
My wife and my brother in law got into terrible trouble because they stole
the only cooking pot in their family and tried to "recycle it".
Fortunately, their elementary school teacher realized what was going on and
contacted their frantic grandmother.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 4:49 AM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> Thanks for the attached figures, Zaza. I am not sure I can tell contexts
> from scaffolds. For the "distribution in Segment A" would it be correct to
> read the graph as going:
>
> context, theme, bids, scaffold?? Are what look like black lines radiating
> out scaffolds?
>
> I think that the sorts of project I mentioned, where the hi tech "gift"
> that is offered to create a new kind of educational activity across
> geographic locales turns out to be woefully inadequate and there is no
> choice but to engage in kukiya-kiya fits with your suggestion:
>
>
>
> *more deformalized variant of Making seems closer tokukiya-kiya to me. I
> think the rougher the start materials, the less the materials suggest that
> some outcomes are more "appropriate" than others, the more likely it is for
> kukiya-kiya to emerge.*
>
> Our work is all in what might be called deformalized settings, often with
> totally inadequate resources, which is probably why the paper has a lot of
> local relevance.
>
> And the glossary was a treat!
>
> mike
> PS- I am not sure what the Russian term would be.... literally, rabotat
> vokrug, but perhaps there is a special term for it.
>
>
> On Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 6:45 PM, Zaza Kabayadondo <
> zaza.kabayadondo@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Dear Mike and Alfredo,
> >
> > Thank you for your questions and for the very interesting connections
> > you've drawn to examples of activity in your respective work places.
> >
> > *Comparisons between kukiya-kiya and Making (Maker movement)?*
> > Prototyping is at the center of both. In both, the actor, has an idea of
> a
> > desirable outcome but has to figure out a way to achieve it. The main
> > difference for me is in the *how*. Making (Maker movement) may come with
> a
> > prescribed set of tools (arduinos, breadboards, sensors, soldering irons,
> > etc) - there is a kit that comes with the activity, around which all
> > activity is orchestrated. In kukiya-kiya, there is no guarantee of
> > resources. Of course you might have Making that emerges from found tools
> > and resources (whatever is in the garage or classroom or studio), and in
> > this regard, the more deformalized variant of Making seems closer to
> > kukiya-kiya to me. I think the rougher the start materials, the less the
> > materials suggest that some outcomes are more "appropriate" than others,
> > the more likely it is for kukiya-kiya to emerge.
> >
> > I do think the concept is broad enough to point to a whole host of
> > activities. And the language supports this. In Zimbabwe, kukiya-kiya, is
> > interchangeable with other verbs kubata-bata, kujingiridza, kubhaizira
> etc.
> >
> > *Work-arounds and an emerging glossary*
> > The word kukiya-kiya literally means "to lock and then unlock" - to
> > describe how you might jangle an ill-fitting key in a lock to figure out
> > how to unlock a jammed door. It can also be translated to "making do" and
> > it is a metaphor for trying one way, then when that fails, trying other
> > unprescribed ways to make something happen. I chose to use "work-around"
> as
> > the translation of kukiya-kiya because there are verbs that have emerged
> in
> > Shona to signify the kind of thinking. I am finding that many similar
> > metaphors can be found in other languages. I've started constructing a
> > glossary... here are some examples: [Please send in entries that you
> think
> > fit]
> >
> >
> > *Term* *Language* *Country*
> > Tahmanut Hebrew Israel
> > kukiya-kiya Shona Zimbabwe
> > kubata-bata Shona Zimbabwe
> > kujingiridza Shona Zimbabwe
> > kubhaizira Shona Zimbabwe
> > jugaad Hindi India
> > jeitinho Portuguese Brazil
> > bricolage French
> > hack English
> > side hustle English
> > street smart English
> > street wise English
> > viveza criolla Spanish Uruguay, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela
> > malandragem Portuguese Brazil
> > lei de Gérson Portuguese Brazil
> > malicia indígena Spanish Colombia
> > Bodge English
> > Chindōgu Japanese
> > Gung-ho ? China
> > Redneck Technology English US
> > Kludge (also kluge) English UK
> > Système D French
> > Trick 17 English Germany
> > Trick 77 English Switzerland
> > Trick 3  English Finland
> > kikka kolmonen Finnish Finland
> > se démerder French
> > débrouillardise French
> > se débrouiller French
> >
> > On Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 4:18 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no
> >
> > wrote:
> >
> > > Zaza, Mike, all,
> > >
> > > Mike comments raises in my a question that I already had while reading
> > the
> > > article, and which has to do with the analogies that have been here
> drawn
> > > between kukiya-kiya in Zimbabwe, and the Maker movement that is
> becoming
> > > commonplace in many Western countries, a "movement" the cultivation and
> > > research around which there are increasing amounts of public money
> being
> > > injected into (my department in Oslo, for example, has just now become
> > > involved in a large European project about maker spaces). I was
> wondering
> > > how much we are gaining by positively comparing both movements, and
> what
> > we
> > > may be loosing (that is, how these two different movements may actually
> > be
> > > very different historical movements). And so I was thinking that
> perhaps
> > > the distinctions may become when the phenomena are approached as
> > historical
> > > materialist phenomena. Because one may easily see that, despite the
> > > similarities being discussed in terms of "work around," kukiya-kiya and
> > the
> > > maker movement in the West are truly different things, albeit perhaps
> > > outcomes of the same economical system. Thus, Zaza's discussion on
> > > disinheritance, which makes all the sense in the context of "the role
> > > international development schemes and humanitarian aid efforts play in
> > > destabilising African economies" (p. 172). Obviously, the same
> discussion
> > > does not seem to fit the Maker movement, the origin of which may indeed
> > > relate to an over-production and devaluation of otherwise expensive and
> > > resource-demanding technologies, as well as of an emergent network of
> > > literate actors using new media to spread practices and ideas, to
> > disagree
> > > with established orders, etc... These two movements seem extremely
> > > different to me.
> > >
> > > But, of course, at the level of imagination, at the level of opening
> new
> > > ways of perceiving and conceiving reality, both practices seem to have
> > lots
> > > in common. I think it is to this level that many of the questions I
> find
> > > emerging in Mike's as well as in our previous discussion posts. I
> wonder
> > > what the author and other xmca'ers think about this
> > > differences/similarities.
> > >
> > > Alfredo
> > > ________________________________________
> > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> >
> > > on behalf of mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
> > > Sent: 10 October 2016 01:56
> > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l]  Kukiya--kiya incident and question
> > >
> > > Zaza et al -
> > >
> > > As good luck would have it, this discussion has started just as a
> junior
> > > colleague is starting to start to write up a project in which he was
> > > seeking to implement a prototype activity
> > > using complex modern digital equipment. The project involved UCSD
> > > undergrads and kids in a far off neighborhood making a complex Xmas
> > display
> > > using arduinos and gingerbread, among other things. On any session,
> half
> > > the undergrads were learning at UCSD and half were with the kids and
> the
> > > "expert" on arduinos and making odd displays (fancy electronic hats to
> > wear
> > > to the open day at our local race track). We wanted both to create a
> > > prototype distribute educational/communication system and to contrast
> > > learning in situ with learning via the video/audio feed.
> > >
> > > Everything that could go wrong went wrong, but in the end, all of the
> > kids
> > > and students were enthusiastic about the experience and the darned
> > display
> > > sort of worked. The focus of my work with the class this was a part of
> > was
> > > to tell them that the class was a gold mine of experience and
> information
> > > on how to engage in creating work arounds. But we never theorized the
> > idea
> > > ( somehow is seems that creating activities does not count in the maker
> > > movement as much as creating gizmos). It seems we were too busy
> creating
> > > work arounds to stop and theorize about the mess we had gotten
> ourselves
> > > into. Now your paper has provided a strong rationale for prototyping,
> > > design, that emphasizes ideas I associate with the chat tradition. And
> of
> > > course it is an indigenous category for the people among whom you
> worked.
> > >
> > > As a result of the discussion, I looked up "work around' on google
> > scholar.
> > > The emphasis there is on modern societies where, relatively speaking,
> > there
> > > are lots of resources. But as you point out, the special interest in
> your
> > > case does not imply that the concept only applies there, but "even in
> the
> > > make movement in the US."  In a way, that tom hanks film about the guy
> > > stranded on Mars seems a relevant case.
> > >
> > > I also think your emphasis at the beginning and in your examples in the
> > > following is important:
> > >
> > > The prototype not only choreographs what the team members are doing,
> but
> > > also makes
> > > different future uses imaginable. The prototype amplifies tensions in
> the
> > > team and puts on display how an emergent tool, the bottle-feeding
> device,
> > > comes to be loaded with “previous patterns of reasoning” [and cognitive
> > > residue-mc](Pea, 1953, p. 53).
> > >
> > > This was certainly true in the local case as well.
> > >
> > > In moving ahead to develop our own ideas, it would be helpful to get
> more
> > > clarity about your Figures 2 & 3, the radiating sequences of bids,
> > > themes,contexts, and scaffolds. The print is so small that I cannot
> > > decipher the diagrams. I would really like to get clearer on how you
> > > categorized the talk in the session starting with Esther, but am having
> > > trouble connecting text and diagram. Maybe its only my aging eyesight,
> > but
> > > this may be a problem for others as well. Could you perhaps post a note
> > > about the two diagrams and how you move from transcript to diagram?
> > >
> > > mike
> > >
> > > PS-- I encountered an unusual kukiya-kiya on Friday. I asked an
> > > administrator about an account I wanted to get updated on. In order to
> > get
> > > that information, she had to log onto one of (obviously many) web pages
> > in
> > > the university. As soon as she figured out where to get the
> information,
> > > she turned to a roledex on her desk next to her keyboard. "It has all
> the
> > > passwords" she said, adding, "I know you aren't supposed to write them
> > > down, but....."
> > > This seems like a kukiya-kiya work-around arising from encryption
> > concerns
> > > that overload the system and force the use of a backup that is
> considered
> > > risky and incorrect. But it works and no one is telling.
> > >
> >
>
>
>
> --
>
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
> that creates history. Ernst Boesch
>