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[Xmca-l] Time for a Generational Change



Hear Yee XMCA -O-Phytes.



Having removed myself from the active faculty of LCHC which is now in the
capable hands of Angela Booker and Stephan Tanaka, the time has come for me
to step back from the doings of MCA and XMCA.  At MCA the new editorial
team of (in reverse alphabetical order, Jennifer Vadeboncoeur, Bonnie
Nardi, Victor Kaptelinin, and Natalia Gajdamashko) has taken over as
editors, and begun the process of carrying the enterprise into a new
generation. I will remain as a kind of "editor for special projects" for
the journal and will continue to participate in XMCA.



But with respect to XMCA it is past time for me to give up what David
Kellogg has called my "pastoral" role in seeking to coordinate and develop
discourse focused around provocative articles that appear in the journal.
The original idea was to provide authors with rapid feedback and public
recognition instead of having to wait the 2-3 year cycle of replying via an
authorized journal.



The reality, as you know, is somewhat different - a mélange of topics that
intersect, loop back on themselves, and leak out into the semiosphere.



Luckily, Alfredo Jornet has offered to try his hand at the pastoral role,
and will be recognized on the journal masthead as *MCA Forum Mediator*.
Alfredo brings to the task his early career in Spain, his later career in
Norway, and his present career in Victoria. And all of this international
experience before has started "his career." Brave soul. Alfredo and the
editors are considering a variety of options for the future of the journal,
including importantly, its status as a new medium promoting rapid exchange
of the news between otherwise isolated scholars with complementary
interests.



My participation in xlchc and then xmca has been central to my adult
education, and I appreciate what I have learned here more than words can
suffice to explain. There are not so many academic ecologies in the world,
so enduring those that do spring up seems a worthwhile way to promote its
reproduction.... keeping in mind Phillip White's reminder that the future
of development is not predictable at the level of everyday experience.



As I see it, there are two major failures in this effort over the years.
The first is the enormous imbalance in the gender representation of the
participants. With a few periods where the exceptions ended up proving the
rule, female voices have been conspicuously absent. Academic "guy talk" has
dominated. Understanding and, if possible, re-mediating that sad set of
circumstances seems like a major task for the future.



Second, MCA discourse does not accumulate. The discussions are more like
chaining than the development of new concepts. As in the Sakharov -
Vygotsky blocks experiment, we talk about green triangles then blue
triangles then blue squares, each a legitimate line of inquiry, but
constantly changing criteria/topics as we go. Every once in a while we
ascend to the level of pseudo-concepts (these are the cases that evoke the
most controversy it seems to me). My fond hope is that Alfredo and our
sometimes engaged tech gurus will provide a more supportive environment for
the creation of "truce concepts" -- agreement on a broad set of
principles/empirical embodiments and a research program that identifies the
limits of the theory and the most fruitful lines of inquiry.



Thus spake

mike