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[Xmca-l] Re: What are we doing here?
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- Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2016 08:04:06 -0700
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Your reasons for being here in this virtual community resonate with my reasons. I read about *salon* culture or instituting co-generative deeply reflective conversations within the stream of consciousness in particular coffee house ways of place making and they had a different feel or mood than most academic places of specialization.
XMCA has some overlap with salon social, cultural, and imaginary place making.
I now want to make a volitional shift in my personal stream of consciousness to return to the title of this thread (what are we doing here?).
Mike presented two concerns requiring our care going forward.
*more gender balance
*Less chaining and more sustained reflection.
I wonder when we talk about *turns* (leaving safe harbours, or refuge,) such as the linguistic turn or rhetorical turn, or pragmatic/action turn if we are not now deeply into an *ethical* turn where invitations are presented and we can respond or turn away and each way of responding has ethical con-sequences.
In this spirit of turns i want to return to Peg’s and Dana’s con-tributions. Peg referred to loose *threads* that are left and can be picked up and *resumed*. This seems to involve zig-zagging, or turns, or reversability with a 3 part structure. The zig-gap-zag structure.
This brings me to my stream of consciousness and picking up Dana’s loose thread.
She invited us to turn toward Margaret Eisenhart the author of this months article who expresses a feminist voice within her two written books.
Dana sent out an invitation as a thread that was dropped and went silent. My now picking up Dana’s thread is my way of acknowledging her contribution and how it entered my stream of consciousness. I had intended to google Eisenhart’s books on Dana’s recommendation and to hear a feminist voice. However, that morning, both Rein’s referring to his new book, and David Kellogg posting Vygotsky’s last lecture turned me away from Dana’s invitation and her thread became a loose and silent thread with no acknowledgement and no intertwining within co-generation in the stream of consciousness.
I am now saying i today will turn back, pick up Dana’s loose thread (thanks Peg for this metaphor) and *resume* what i was initially intending to do. I also want to turn to David’s article and Rein’s book later (taking time) but as an ethical response to the Mike’s call to develop the emerging theme of gender balance i will first acknowledge and pick up and follow Dana’s loose thread and hope this loose thread (as a feminist response) will become weaved into our intertwining tapestry.
Margaret Eisenhart and Carrie Allen suggest our theories and social imaginaries are being *hollowed out* and shallow. Rein’s book overlaps with this concern. The feminist response is to *take care* within our emerging concerns and my sharing how i volitionally entered my stream of conciousness to *take care* and *resume* a loose thread is my morning contemplation
Sent from my Windows 10 phone
Sent: November 5, 2016 5:24 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: What are we doing here?
I too am a lurker and dipper. I've been hanging out here since 2008 and
have made friends and occasionally made contributions.I owe much to Mike
Cole and some others. I haven't done much with Vygotsky, but work with
stuff I find in this space, and got some of V's books but don't have
time to live with them. I teach language and have been doing so for 40
years, but who can I talk to about metaphor and concept? Many of XCMAers
are educators and thinkers. I've taught men and women, adolescents,
children, and infants, and since I came to Japan 36 years ago, a virtual
Third Space Community such as this successfully stands in for other good
places to hang out in another age, ROTC in Fayetteville, Arkansas,
Buster's in South Pasadena. Those places may offer a great place to read
a book, see familiar faces, have a latte with a friend, but the real
physical places do not have the intellectual on-going discussions. Well
they might, but I am just passing through. Can't stay. But intellectual
civilization advanced in such places where Boswell and Johnson had
coffee in a public place where they could see and be seen, listen and
speak. I have ridden a good horse named "General Systems Theory via
Gregory Bateson." I was doing Allegory before I got this job, I think
Cognition and Epistemology and Metaphor occupy the fields where my horse
feeds. I teach English to freshmen in all Informatics programs and
freshmen in all Engineering majors, and one really needs a general place
to come from to meet such a wide variety of unique persons in such a
wide variety of specialties. I haven't had time for years to compose the
kind of research inspired by the atmosphere in this amazing virtual
community where I can't really claim desk space, but I can buy a cup of
coffee and chat with the barista. I owe much to this community for this
space, because there are few on the ground here who speak my language so
I must use whatever I can to keep moving forward... Thanks much for the
On 2016/11/05 10:13, Christopher Schuck wrote: B
> Thanks too for such a thoughtful synopsis, Rod, which I found myself
> relating to deeply. And I suppose this is also relevant to the stuff on the
> Gender thread, but I no longer know where to go. Fast Swim, Slow Swim,
> Gender, Logic, Genesis of Gender...all spinning off of what appeared to be
> a single theme. Wow! My head is spinning.
> Having checked in after some time and discovered two or three parallel
> conversations well underway, all the comments about time frames (including
> Vera's observation about differing paces, styles and degrees of necessary
> reflection time) feel very apropos. One of the realities of this format and
> the quick turnaround times for posting is that if one is not conscientious
> about keeping up (or just lacks the time), there is inevitably an "in media
> res" effect of trying to understand the running narrative backwards while
> needing to (collectively and collaboratively) live it forwards. I don't
> think this is always a bad thing. In fact, I suspect it can sometimes have
> the paradoxical effect of enhancing and elevating the discussion. There is
> a certain humility and beginner's mind that comes with wandering into a
> conversation late, a certain openness to what may not yet be fully
> processed, understood and contextualized. And, coming at it with fresh eyes
> can lend a different angle that shakes up the conversation a bit. It felt
> this way, for instance, when Maria Cristina suddenly entered and offered a
> re-contextualization (time constraints and domestic responsibilities) that
> kind of turned everything on its head. At the same time, there may be a
> certain responsibility on the part of those already engrossed in the
> dialogue to be welcoming and inclusive towards anyone "in media res
> distress." I agree with Alfredo that trying to prescribe along the
> "fast/slow" dimension is undesirable; I'm not sure how much adding new tags
> for posts or further classifying per se would really help to counter any
> problematic dynamics, though I know nothing about these technologies. I
> find myself thinking: what's wrong with the good old-fashioned initiative
> of emailing individuals separately and CC-ing whoever seems interested, or
> announcing that you'd like to email further with any takers?
> Having looked over the last several threads (if far from reading
> exhaustively), it seems to me there may be two different issues: 1) how to
> do better justice to all these differing purposes, styles and uses of the
> listserve, and/or clarify "what we are doing here" in order to avoid
> confusion; 2) how to cultivate a fully hospitable atmosphere for those who
> may end up being marginalized in various ways, and address these issues
> without generating even more unnecessary distress. Of course, those two
> things aren't entirely unrelated. But improving the second may not require
> that we have fully resolved the first. In another post accidentally sent
> from the wrong email, which bounced back and disappeared, I attempted a
> preliminary list of different ways people might end up feeling marginalized
> or shut out of conversations. Probably not worth resending at this point.
> I am more of a peripheral member of this community and have only posted a
> few times, but in each instance was very aware of anxiety over the
> possibility of translating poorly or just sounding plain stupid. Trying to
> negotiate complex ideas *and *respect feelings and boundaries *and *not
> sound ignorant, in the absence of voice, expression and physical proximity,
> sometimes feels a bit like entering a dark and crowded room. You want to
> make contact without knocking someone over or banging into them, but
> ultimately you must wait for your eyes to adjust to the night vision so you
> can "know your way about" (as Wittgenstein might say). I think it's easy to
> underestimate the diversity of cognitive and discursive styles, not just
> goals and values, among people on the board. As someone who tends to
> approach things very analytically and linearly, in such contexts of
> ambiguity I find myself tempted to fall back on the intellectual structure
> of ideas, abstract theory, content over form or use, as if it were some
> kind of "universal language." Yet as we all know, this does not always help
> - and sometimes it backfires. Meanwhile, as someone who like all of us has
> an inner life and related experiences, I am tempted to offer something
> immediate, concrete and personal. But this can feel risky and possibly
> irrelevant, perhaps even narcissistic. To a great extent I am happy just to
> listen and learn. But Alfredo's point about not just being a spectator also
> resonates with me.
> Despite all these misgivings, I'm not sure I'm ready to agree that this
> format for communication, or verbal written discourse in general, is
> automatically inferior and impoverished in relation to other modes. I mean,
> in some ways it obviously is. But there is often a level of care and
> thought -- and continuity -- that would be difficult to reproduce in a room
> where people are prone to physically competing while attempting high-level
> discourse in real time, yet still manages to be relational. There are
> definitely tradeoffs. I think like most technology, it brings great
> opportunities and big problems. And new opportunities that arise from
> having to face those problems.
> On Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 4:37 PM, Greg Thompson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> Yes, I'm with you on that too Rod. I think that's why social media can get
>> so nasty so often. It is a chilly medium that is a highly denuded form of
>> communication. (e.g., when I said "I'm with you on that too", was I
>> alluding to other times when I'm not "with you"? Some could interpret it
>> that way (btw, that's not what I meant!!)).
>> I marvel that there is so much that gets done on this listserve in spite of
>> this fact.
>> Also makes me wonder why so many people put so much stock in literacy as
>> being a massively transformative capacity. Seems a more base form of
>> communication than any form of oral communication I've ever experienced
>> (even the phone gives you prosody!).
>> On Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 2:22 PM, Rod Parker-Rees <
>> R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:
>>> Thanks Helen and Greg,
>>> I certainly like the opportunity to hang out with interesting people but
>>> 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
>>> 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)
>>> different people.
>>> This has made me wonder how often other forms of communication (even
>>> 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,
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: email@example.com [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
>>> mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Greg Thompson
>>> Sent: 04 November 2016 19:58
>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>> 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
>>> were such a thing. It seems like we don't engage with MCA nearly as much
>>> 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
>>> 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
>>> should look like, but, sure, there is some value in doing the former).
>>> Thanks for your question/contribution Rod. Right to the point.
>>> On Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 11:18 AM, Helena Worthen <email@example.com
>>>> This is a good contribution. Thanks -- H
>>>> Helena Worthen
>>>> 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
>>>> 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,
>>>> 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
>>>> 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
>>>>> I have found what people do here very helpful but I do feel uneasy
>>>> risking contributions!
>>>>> All the best,
>>>>> This email and any files with it are confidential and intended
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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
>>> This email and any files with it are confidential and intended solely for
>>> the use of the recipient to whom it is addressed. If you are not the
>>> intended recipient then copying, distribution or other use of the
>>> information contained is strictly prohibited and you should not rely on
>>> If you have received this email in error please let the sender know
>>> immediately and delete it from your system(s). Internet emails are not
>>> necessarily secure. While we take every care, Plymouth University accepts
>>> no responsibility for viruses and it is your responsibility to scan
>>> and their attachments. Plymouth University does not accept responsibility
>>> for any changes made after it was sent. Nothing in this email or its
>>> attachments constitutes an order for goods or services unless accompanied
>>> by an official order form.
>> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>> Assistant Professor
>> Department of Anthropology
>> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>> Brigham Young University
>> Provo, UT 84602