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[Xmca-l] Re: What are we doing here?



Thanks Helen and Greg,

I certainly like the opportunity to hang out with interesting people but I think it is probably inevitable in this sort of set up that wires can get crossed when people feel they are engaging in different kinds of activities.
I suspect that what has kept this group going is that every now and then people stand back and take stock of how it is working and that allows people to realise that it works in different ways (and feels different) for different people.

This has made me wonder how often other forms of communication (even where only two people are involved) can involve different people having very different understandings about what they are doing and sometimes this doesn't matter but sometimes it does.

I hope we can keep it going.

All the best,

Rod

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Greg Thompson
Sent: 04 November 2016 19:58
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: What are we doing here?

Great question Rod!

As to the answer, as John Cage was fond of saying: "no why, just here."

Okay, fair enough. But it seems like the question deserves a more thoughtful answer than this.

I suppose if I were entirely honest, I find this to be a nice place to hang out and learn and occasionally I try to use the listserve to put something out there in the interest of getting some feedback to help develop it. I've had much more success with the former than the latter.

I do wonder what the mission statement of this listserve would be if there were such a thing. It seems like we don't engage with MCA nearly as much as we should if that were to be the goal of the listserve.

Other than that, I would guess that the mission statement would be something like: it's a place for people who are interested in CHAT to hang out and talk about stuff that they care about (sometimes CHAT and MCA related, sometimes not).

Is that too cynical? Or is that just about right?

Perhaps someone else can give a better statement of what the listserve is "about"? (and I hate to even get into the question of what it SHOULD be - I'd rather live it and see what works that deliberate about what that life should look like, but, sure, there is some value in doing the former).

Thanks for your question/contribution Rod. Right to the point.
-greg

On Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 11:18 AM, Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@gmail.com>
wrote:

> This is a good contribution. Thanks -- H
>
> Helena Worthen
> helenaworthen@gmail.com
> Vietnam blog: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
>
> On Nov 4, 2016, at 2:30 AM, Rod Parker-Rees wrote:
>
> > I am an interested but time-poor lurker on the margins of xmca but
> > the
> ripples stirred by Mike's decision to reduce his pastoral contribution
> to our community have made me question how different participants
> understand what kind of activity we are engaging in here.
> >
> > It seems to me that each of us may understand the social form of
> > what we
> are doing in different ways. For some it is like a conversation and we
> feel disappointed or hurt if our contributions are met with silence or
> if the chain moves on in a different direction. For others we are a
> working group, collaborating to develop a practical and ethical
> theoretical model. For others we are something like a conference,
> where thoughts and ideas can be put before others for their
> consideration and response - and I am sure there are many other ways
> in which different people understand their participation differently.
> >
> > Does this matter? Would xmca be 'better' if it was more consistent,
> > more
> coherent, more tightly and predictably governed by shared social
> understandings? While more explicit regulation (protocols for
> labelling streams and posts and for timing of responses etc.) might
> help to make our activity feel more inclusive and more sharable it may
> also introduce new kinds of discomfort.
> >
> > What I have found interesting in my time around the margins of xmca
> > is
> the challenge of sustaining conversations without all the non-verbal
> feedback which we rely on when we talk with people. When 'wordings'
> float off into the ether, cast off from the body and personhood of
> their speakers or writers they become objects which can be scrutinised
> and revisited and this can be a reason for 'lurkers' to feel reluctant about contributing.
> What we are doing is not a conversation. Nor is it even a forum, in
> the sense of people taking turns to orate before a crowd, because
> contributors often get very little phatic feedback from the lurkers
> and may have very little sense of how their arguments have been
> understood or received. But we are moved by our understandings of what
> it is and is not OK to do, which come from other kinds of
> interactions. Can I say something if I have not been part of what has
> gone before? Should I respond or stay quiet? What should I do if I am
> annoyed or angered by something someone else has contributed?
> >
> > I am already getting anxious about how what I have said might be
> interpreted by others and feeling I have had a long enough turn but I
> would be really interested to hear what others think about why we are here!
> >
> > I have found what people do here very helpful but I do feel uneasy
> > about
> risking contributions!
> >
> > All the best,
> >
> > Rod
> > ________________________________
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--
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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