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



Sure, Dana - thanks for asking. It's not detailed or especially revelatory;
just a simple heuristic accounting for some of the complaints that seem to
have come up either directly or indirectly, and one possible starting point
in the event that some new convention or unofficial policy is ever
attempted. Why don't I just include it below for simplicity's sake. Perhaps
it's still relevant to Rod's question "What are we doing here?" in speaking
the opposite question, "Whatever else we might be doing here, what *don't *
we want to be doing here?" By the way, I realize now that the second long
paragraph of my prior post devoted to time frames, in media res, etc. was
actually intended for one of the other threads discussing that theme, but
had trouble locating that one and then forgot to separate it. Sorry if it
seemed out of place here.

I wasn't aware of the Voicemail application - that sounds interesting. It
was actually Greg who mentioned the phone and prosody, but it's fitting you
bring it up because I had also considered sharing anecdotally (re. diverse
cognitive and discursive style) that personally, I have always hated the
phone and feel way more connected to people when writing or face to face.
For me, that middle ground of phone or Skype just ends up being the worst
of both worlds: less organic than pure verbal *or *pure embodied
interaction. But that's just me.

Anyway, here's what I wrote before, for what it's worth:

"As part of any effort to make discussions more inclusive, it might be
worth specifying the kinds of problematic dynamics being targeted. For
instance, off the top of my head I can think of seven ways, broadly
speaking, that people might end up feeling marginalized or shut out of
conversations:

1) Someone makes a thoughtful or relevant comment that invites some kind of
further response, and is roundly ignored.

2) Someone makes a comment and is responded to on a very abstract or
theoretical level incongruent with the spirit in which the comment was made
(including reference to concrete lived experience).

3) Someone makes a comment and is responded to concretely and directly, but
with a certain degree of insensitivity or unequal power dynamic (conscious
or not).

4) Someone is responded to with overt hostility, intimidation,
passive-aggressiveness and/or deliberate insensitivity.

5) Someone finds it especially difficult to enter or make any initial post,
due to lots of "inside" conversation or a competitive sink-or-swim
environment that makes it feel unpalatable or unsafe to participate.

6) Someone comes to a conversation to find they're already hopelessly
behind (e.g. 30 posts from missing a couple days), and finds it difficult
to catch up or contribute anything they might still have to offer, because
the thread is geared only toward those who have been there from the very
beginning (and no one is willing to cut them some slack or help fill in
missing context)

7) A newcomer who has never participated before would like to join one of
the ongoing conversations, but has absolutely no idea what the prevailing
customs are and what is appropriate, or what level of erudition and
background familiarity is assumed for which fields, and as a result feels
like they have nothing to hang their hat on."

Chris

On Sat, Nov 5, 2016 at 1:37 PM, Walker, Dana <Dana.Walker@unco.edu> wrote:

> Chris,
>
> I enjoyed reading your post, and would like to read the email you did not
> send, if you were willing to share it (or you could send it directly to me
> dana.walker@unco.edu), since the question of how marginalization is
> accomplished discursively interests me.
>
> Regarding your closing thoughts about face to face versus written
> communication: I think there are probably a variety of formats for non f2f
> communication that could afford a less narrow range of interaction than
> does this the email listserve.  You mentioned the phone and prosody: The
> application Voicemail does this as well. You can directly record either an
> audio or video post and include a artefactual “third thing,” such as photo
> or a slide. Participants can see/hear and respond to each other at either a
> fast or slow pace, since the voicethread remains in place until it is
> removed. It is free up to 5 voicethreads per person.
>
> Dana
>
> On 11/4/16, 7:13 PM, "xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu on behalf of
> Christopher Schuck" <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu on behalf of
> schuckthemonkey@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>     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.
>
>     Chris
>
>     On Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 4:37 PM, Greg Thompson <
> greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
>     wrote:
>
>     > 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!).
>     >
>     > -greg
>     >
>     > 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
>     > 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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>     > > > //www.plymouth.ac.uk/worldclass>
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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
>     > > ________________________________
>     > > [http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/images/email_footer.gif]<http:
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>     > >
>     > > This email and any files with it are confidential and intended
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>     > > the use of the recipient to whom it is addressed. If you are not
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>     > > intended recipient then copying, distribution or other use of the
>     > > information contained is strictly prohibited and you should not
> rely on
>     > it.
>     > > 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
>     > emails
>     > > 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
>     > http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>     >
>
>
>
>
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