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[Xmca-l] Re: Time for a Generational Change



I have to add my expression of profound gratitude to Mike for all he has done to model the kind of thoughtful engagement which makes XMCA so valuable to me (when I have time to surf some of the waves generated in discussions).

In response to the concern about how this sort of interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary discussion can 'work', I can only say (as have many others) that it does and has for many years. Not perhaps in building monuments of solid theory but more in providing a forum in which people can come across other ways of thinking about the things they are thinking about. While there are some, like Mike, who can almost always be found in the forum, willing to reply to whatever others have to say, there are also many others, like me, who are only able to visit occasionally but who still relish the opportunity to listen in on what people are getting excited about.

I have a feeling that the focus on getting thigs done, building consecutively from post and topic to post and topic to build a higher tower, needs to be balanced with a focus on conviviality, of developing and sustaining relationships between the corporeal beings who bounce ideas around and watching out for any unhelpful behaviour (discouraging participation from certain groups or making it difficult for new voices to be heard). I have always been awed by Mike's ability to do just this - guiding people into being a bit kinder and a bit more supportive than they might otherwise be, largely by his own example.

 It may be that the babble among people who come from different cultural niches may get in the way of building the tower but my own feeling is that the babble is valuable for what it is as much as (or more than) for what it produces. Like conversations between friends, it is not so much what is discussed, let alone what is decided, that matters as what people learn from and about each other in the process of engaging in the conversation.

I am sure I would not be alone in saying that what I have been able to contribute elsewhere to building ideas has been immeasurably supported and sustained by what I have learned from my visits to the forum and I really hope that XMCA will continue to offer this kind of space for not always productive chat.

All the best,

Rod

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
Sent: 25 October 2016 03:58
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Time for a Generational Change

Greg--

With respect to your questions and speculations. I suggest that here it would be useful for those interested in seeking answers to begin with the archives we have been seeking to piece together that are products of analysis of the discourse.

An easy gateway to your particular question is at http://lchc.ucsd.edu/archives if you go down toward the bottom of page and find the articles by Gack and Finkelstein Ekblad & Lang

Yet to be exploited is the archive of xmca discussion that is there for the picking by aspiring discourse analysts and various sorts of other interested parties.

relying on post hoc, half century old, memories of that tangle are unlikely to provide reliable road marks. But fun to engage in. :-) mike

On Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 7:10 PM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
wrote:

> Even as a relative youngster (~10 yr old), my debt to Mike (and XMCA)
> is far greater than could be even approached in a comment, so I'll
> leave it at that and instead try to contribute to the conversation
> going forward, particularly David's intractable problem - the second
> of Mike's concerns (and I should add that I see the first problem as
> being just as intractable, only I have no clue of how to help with
> that one - shame since I suspect that I'm part of the problem...).
>
> The second problem - of never really building anything in terms of
> meaningful/useful concepts - seems to me to be a problem of the
> interdisciplinary nature of the listserve.
>
> As one example, David Kellogg and I have had some of this difficulty.
> Despite being very close in a number of ways (including, of course, an
> interest in CHAT, an interest in language in the classroom, and having
> spent two months researching together this past summer), there were
> some fundamental hurdles that we encountered when working together.
> Most notable was the hurdle of language about language (yes,
> "metalanguage" if you must). David hails from the Halliday-ian
> tradition and I come from the Silverstein-ian tradition and each of
> these traditions have different ways of talking about language that
> make it difficult for us to carry on any kind of high level
> conversation. Case and point, when lecturing to the same group of
> students this past summer I thought I was helping clarify what David
> meant by "indexicality" by providing some examples. But it turned out
> that I was offering an entirely different definition for the term that
> threw things out of whack for our students. Simple put, our concept of "indexicality" was not shared.
>
> Now, if crossing boundaries is that difficult for two very like-minded
> scholars, then how much more difficult is it to be able to do this
> work across disciplinary lines that would include psychologists and
> sociologists and others?
>
> So, I hate to be a naysayer but I wonder how it could possibly work.
>
> But then I am reminded that it has worked for almost 40 years and at
> times it has been highly productive (I've had conversations with
> members off-line who have mentioned times when there was consistent
> and sustained high level work - beyond mere chaining - happening on the listserve).
>
> So my question to the mature XMCA-philes is: how did it work in the
> best of times? Was the make-up of the listserve different - perhaps
> less disciplinarily varied (I'm guessing not since I know that
> biologists were on the list back in the day - e.g., Tomasello). Was it a smaller community?
> How did you deal with the trouble of disparate training and
> backgrounds and languages?
>
> How did it work when it worked at its best?
>
> And I suppose that we could ask the mature XMCA-philes the same
> question about the involvement of women on the listserve.
>
> I'd love to hear thoughts.
> -greg
>
>
> On Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 4:57 PM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > V. funny David.  I was going to wait for the 5 year olds to start
> speaking,
> > but I'll put my "thank you" in here now, seeing as I've been mentioned.
> > Actually, as I recall, I started my questioning on the basis of
> > putting a table of comparisons together. :)
> >
> > I think the points Mike made can be turned over a number of times --
> > perhaps the repetition is part of the longevity, though I have no
> > idea where this bloke boundary is, so assume I must be a regular
> > trespasser in order to traipse out a point or two.
> >
> > Thanks Mike.
> >
> > Best,
> > Huw
> >
> > On 24 October 2016 at 23:30, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > An excellent example of sociogenetic regression--Mike abandons
> > > husbandry and reverts to a form of hunting and gathering, viz.
> > fly-fishing.
> > >
> > > On the first problem--the mansplaining blokey-ness of xmca. I
> > > think
> this
> > at
> > > least partly solved in the make-up the editorial committee of the
> > journal.
> > > One might object that editing is really an administrative
> > > function, and
> > so
> > > this is yet another example of the feminization of lowly roles. I
> > > think that is not true generally and certainly not true at MCA: I
> > > can
> remember,
> > > actually, when a whole genre of articles (the shorter pieces)
> > > could be suddenly abolished by editorial fiat. And, as Mike says,
> > > xmca is
> really,
> > at
> > > bottom, a forum for the discussion of provocative articles in MCA.
> > >
> > > The second problem seems more intractable to me, but for that very
> > reason I
> > > think it is probably less specific to xmca. Instead of managing to
> build
> > > vertical knowledge structures, as in the natural sciences, with
> > > each
> > layer
> > > resting on and in principle reducible to the lower layer, social
> > scientists
> > > tend to create horizontal ones, with their own tribal rules, rites
> > > of passage, and above all their own forms of discourse.
> > > Interestingly, the kind of "interdisciplinarity" that MCA has
> > > always encourages, based on
> > very
> > > specific topics but subtended by a vast body of all embracing
> > > theory,
> > seems
> > > to exacerbate the segmentary mode rather than ameliorate it. Not
> > > sure
> > why.
> > >
> > > Huw tries to set up points of comparison that might actually
> > > enable inter-tribal cooperation at least between closely allied
> > > groups of CHATniks (psychology, social process, cultural factors
> > > in the work of Vygotsky, Galperin, Leontiev, Davydov, Wertsch,
> > > Rogoff and Matusov, Engstrom). That, I think, is a step in the
> > > direction of thematic unity,
> > and
> > > transdisciplinarity. It's really thematic unity that holds
> > > together the natural sciences (that is, the idea that everything
> > > can be studied as a form of matter, or as a chemical, or as a life
> > > form, etc.), and its transdisciplinarity that makes lasting
> > > alliances and fixed concepts possible.
> > >
> > > Something for Mike to ruminate about while he's off fly-fishing.
> > > Mike's skill as a sheepdog always did owe something to his ability
> > > to
> get
> > > into a sheepskin.
> > >
> > > David Kellogg
> > > Macquarie University
> > >
> > > On Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 8:44 AM, Goncu, Artin <goncu@uic.edu> wrote:
> > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Dear Mike,
> > > >
> > > > Thank you very much for your contributions and your tireless
> leadership
> > > > for the growth of this community.  As a member of this xmca
> > > > list, as
> > one
> > > > of the former editors of MCA, and a contributor of LCHC
> > > > Newsletter, I
> > > have
> > > > learned a lot from you and others in this community.  This list
> > remains a
> > > > significant part of my life that I follow in anchoring my work
> > > > and checking on like-minded colleagues.  Most importantly
> > > > though, all throughout my career I felt a special sense of
> > > > belonging to this
> > > community
> > > > that has accepted me for who I am and what I am able to contribute.
> > > Thank
> > > > you!
> > > >
> > > > In gratitude and solidarity, ag
> > > >
> > > > Artin Goncu, Ph.D
> > > > http://www.artingoncu.com/
> > > > Professor Emeritus,
> > > > University of Illinois at Chicago College of Education M/C 147
> > > > 1040 W. Harrison St.
> > > > Chicago, IL 60607
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On Mon, October 24, 2016 12:35 pm, mike cole wrote:
> > > > > 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
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Artin Goncu, Ph.D
> > > > http://www.artingoncu.com/
> > > > Professor Emeritus,
> > > > University of Illinois at Chicago
> > > > College of Education M/C 147
> > > > 1040 W. Harrison St.
> > > > Chicago, IL 60607
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>
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