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[Xmca-l] Re: identity expressed or formed by action?

Thank you for the reference, Michael, but can't you tell me in a sentence or two whether there is any such thing as a drive to express one's self-identity in activity which is prior to the activity in which identity is formed?


Andy Blunden
On 16/02/2017 1:46 AM, Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
I have worked out some of the issues in an article available online
Roth, W.-M. (2009). Identity and community: Differences at heart and
futures-to-come. Éducation et Didactique, 3, 99-118. (

where "I present a way to realize the Hegel–Marx–Vygotsky–Leont’ev program
of understanding the subject of activity and, correlatively, of
understanding the (the culture of the) community with which individuals
stand in an irreducible, because mutually constitutive relationship"


Wolff-Michael Roth, Lansdowne Professor
Applied Cognitive Science
MacLaurin Building A567
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC, V8P 5C2
http://web.uvic.ca/~mroth <http://education2.uvic.ca/faculty/mroth/>

New book: *The Mathematics of Mathematics

On Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 6:17 AM, <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

So, in the way ‘she becomes a pollutant as waste’ can a person become ‘an
expressive identity’ as a formation of a particular cultural imaginary?

Not a ‘pollutant’ or ‘an expressive identity’ to start with, but becoming
a pollutant or an expressive identity.

Sent from my Windows 10 phone

From: R.J.S.Parsons
Sent: February 15, 2017 3:26 AM
To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: identity expressed or formed by action?

The idea of waste leads me to Mary Douglas's Purity and Danger. (One of
the books that made me grow up.) She discusses what dirt is - matter out
of place. Then she discusses all sorts of implications. She doesnt'
discuss the issue of expression vs formation as such, but much of what
she does discuss bears on it. Menstruation comes to mind. In some
societies, women having their periods are perceived as dirty, and they
are seen as untouchable by men. So the way a woman is treated forms in
her the idea that she is a pollutant, or a carrier. She was not one to
start with.


On 15/02/2017 10:21, Laure Kloetzer wrote:
Dear Andy,

Interestingly, I had a very similar discussion with some colleagues
recently not on identity but on... waste. The perspective of one of our
students was that investigating what waste is can be done via interviews,
in order to understand how we decide what to through away. I was arguing
that waste is not fully defined before action, but that waste is what we
through away. The action of throwing away is formative of what count as
I thought it might help to step back for one second from the tricky
question of self-identity and considering more concrete, everyday
activities before coming back to it...

2017-02-15 8:30 GMT+01:00 Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>:

I would be interested in any helpful comments (other than suggestions
more books to read) from my xmca psychologist friends on this problem.

In discussion with a friend, who is very au fait with contemporary
philosophy, but knows nothing of CHAT, suggested to me a number of ideas
intended to be explanatory (rather than descriptive) of current social
political trends. He talks about the rise of "expressive authenticity"
since the 1970s and "collective action as a means to express selfhood."
response, I questioned whether there is any such thing as a drive to
*express* one's identity, and that rather, collective action (and there
fundamentally no other kind of action) in pursuit of needs of all kinds
(spiritual, social and material) is *formative* of identity.

A classic case for analysis is the well-known observation that nowadays
people purchase (clothes, cars, food, ...) as a means of expressing
identity. I question this, because it presumes that there is the innate
drive to express one's identity, which I see no evidence for. I think
people adopt dress styles in much the same way that people carry flags
- to
promote a movement they think positive and to gain social acceptance in
Identity-formation is a *result* not a cause of this.

So, am I wrong? Is identity formation a result or a cause of activity?


Andy Blunden