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[Xmca-l] Re: ISCAR experiences, reflections, etc



I'd like to second Andy's point about the importance of revisiting Marx
(and yes, Hegel too) to discover anew his ideas.

When I was a grad student teaching in the undergraduate core sequence at
the University of Chicago, an instructor in a meeting about the course
commented that the neo-liberal ideology of free market capitalism was
dominating students' thinking in these core courses. In response,
sociologist John Levy-Martin noted that Marx is the "nuclear submarine of
social theory" and that the neo-liberal economic theory was nothing more
than a bunch of pea shooters.

Although I'm not a fan of the weaponizing metaphor, I think there is
something to the larger point that Marx's work still holds a great deal of
promise even today. (and I might add that here in America scholars assume
that Vygotsky is entirely detachable from Marx - that may be a survival
mechanism for many Vygotsky-ians (given the anti-Marx/anti-Communist
sentiment in the U.S.), but it is also very unfortunate, so I'm very glad
to see the Vygotsky and Marx book).

I am lucky enough to regularly have the opportunity to teach Marx to
undergraduate anthropologists. One thing that is very clear to me is that
Marx's way of thinking is astonishingly novel - so much so that it is a
near impossible chore to try and get these American undergraduates to
understand what he is saying (precisely because his way of thinking is too
foreign to the average American raised in the midst of unbridled capitalism
with all its ideology, obfuscations, and enticements). And the few that
"get" Marx are equipped with an incredibly powerful tool for thinking
(anthropologically) about and making the world anew.

-greg

On Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 10:00 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> With Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, epistemology and ontology all became
> obsolete really. Marx's ideas on these topics have to be gleaned from
> occasional remarks and unpublished notes. But, taking the Theses on
> Feuerbach, and the key passages in the German Ideology and the Grundrisse
> as defining "Marx's epistemology and ontology" then I would say we are
> still waiting for a time when this standpoint will come into its own.
>
> Do we have a reviewer for that book yet?
>
> Andy
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden
> http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
> https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research
> On 7/09/2017 1:44 AM, Antti Rajala wrote:
>
>> Andy, thanks for these thoughts and your welcoming words. I agree with
>> your reading of the Vygotsky's essay. I think Vygotsky also said that the
>> Marxist psychology could not be found in Marx's text but had to be created.
>> In this he used Marx method, as you pointed out.
>>
>> I am no expert of Marxism but found the discussion in the symposium
>> interesting. The discussion was sparked by the presentations of Carl Ratner
>> and Thomas Teo respectively. If I remember it right, Teo complemented
>> Marx's original insights with some more postmodernist theorizing, whereas
>> Ratner appeared to rely more on a more traditional reading of Marx.
>>
>> Andy, to what extent do you think that the ontological/epistemological
>> foundation of Marx is still valid today? (perhaps too broad a question). I
>> am looking forward to read the hopefully forthcoming review of the edited
>> volume by Ratner and Nunes Henrique Silva on Vygotsky and Marx in MCA.
>>
>> Antti
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 2:40 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:
>> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>
>>     Antti,
>>
>>     I think the development of a tradition of practice
>>     (such as Marxism) means continually returning to the
>>     original sources and *digging deeper* into them, while
>>     responding to the problems thrown up by the present
>>     world. What Vygotsky ridiculed was not just the
>>     re-assertion of the original sources, but their
>>     mindless and superficial repetition. Whenever Marxism
>>     has fallen into crisis, it has sparked a "return to
>>     Marx" - not to go back to an original truth, but to
>>     look again at what was being taken for granted, and
>>     find new sources of inspiration. Vygotsky did this in
>>     his reading of /Capital/ in particular.
>>
>>     Andy
>>
>>     (PS Nice to hear your voice on this list, Antti)
>>
>>     ------------------------------------------------------------
>>     Andy Blunden
>>     http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm
>>     <http://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/index.htm>
>>     https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research
>>     <https://andyblunden.academia.edu/research>
>>
>>     On 6/09/2017 3:29 PM, Antti Rajala wrote:
>>
>>         Hi,
>>         In ISTP (Theory & Psychology) conference in Tokyo
>>         a couple of weeks ago
>>         there was a session on Vygotsky and Marxism, in
>>         which a similar issue was
>>         raised: whether the Marxist research should be
>>         continually updated as a
>>         living tradition or be more original to the
>>         sources. Wasn't it Vygotsky
>>         himself who emphasized the former position in his
>>         essay on the Crisis of
>>         Psychology when he mocked people who were just
>>         picking citations from Marx
>>         book and pretending that's Marxist psychology.
>>
>>         On Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 1:44 AM, Rod Parker-Rees <
>>         R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk
>>         <mailto:R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk>> wrote:
>>
>>             Hi Alfredo,
>>
>>             Yes, my feeling is that it is better if
>>             different people are able to
>>             pursue different paths so they are able to
>>             develop (and hopefully share)
>>             different perspectives. One of the things we
>>             take away from a conference
>>             (as, in different ways, from other forms of
>>             interaction) is a richer sense
>>             of the ways in which other people see things
>>             differently. Knowing a bit
>>             about how others see things helps to enrich
>>             the possibilities available to
>>             us - so we become more than just our own selves.
>>
>>             All the best,
>>
>>             Rod
>>
>>
>>             -----Original Message-----
>>             From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>             [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@ <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@>
>>             mailman.ucsd.edu <http://mailman.ucsd.edu>] On
>>             Behalf Of Alfredo Jornet Gil
>>             Sent: 05 September 2017 21:59
>>             To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>             <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
>>             Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: ISCAR experiences,
>>             reflections, etc
>>
>>             I think I got this e-mail back from the
>>             server, here I try again.
>>             ________________________________________
>>             From: Alfredo Jornet Gil
>>             Sent: 05 September 2017 19:07
>>             To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>             Subject: Re: ISCAR experiences, reflections, etc
>>
>>             Jaakko, yes, I agree with you those in between
>>             sessions, and the after
>>             sessions too, are part of the best these type
>>             of congress offers. I am
>>             happy I could enjoy some of that with you in
>>             Quebec! It was a real pleasure.
>>
>>             Rod, yes, it would have been so great meeting
>>             you too.  In any case,
>>             concerning perezhivanie and other notions, I
>>             am glad thta you bring this
>>             distinction between those who seek to defend
>>             some 'core, true meaning', and
>>             those who attempt to bring those notions into
>>             new uses etc. This seems to
>>             be at the heart of the field today, and
>>             definitely resonates with
>>             discussions having gone on here. I don't
>>             think, (nor probably do you) that
>>             in most cases the dichotomy is that
>>             straightforward; rather, there seems to
>>             be a tension between one's efforts to build on
>>             a given body of scholar work
>>             in a coherent manner, and one's goals of
>>             addressing real, contemporary
>>             problems. I feel that here at xmca we tend to
>>             be very strong on the former
>>             effort, but could be better in the latter.
>>             Just my sense. Cheers, Alfredo
>>             ________________________________________
>>             From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>             <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
>>             on behalf of Rod Parker-Rees
>>             <R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk
>>             <mailto:R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk>>
>>
>>             Sent: 05 September 2017 11:17
>>             To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>             Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: ISCAR experiences,
>>             reflections, etc
>>
>>             Dear Alfredo,
>>
>>             I am sorry I did not get the opportunity to
>>             meet you at ISCAR.
>>
>>             The highlight of the conference for me was the
>>             opportunity to explore a
>>             wide range of different perspectives on key
>>             aspects of cultural-historical
>>             research. The first meeting of the round-table
>>             discussion group focusing on
>>             perezhivanie was well attended and somewhat
>>             chaotic, as a lot of people set
>>             out their own understanding of the
>>             significance of this concept. Here there
>>             was only time for an initial presentation of
>>             positions - and the beginnings
>>             of exploration of disagreements but the topic
>>             was also addressed in many
>>             paper presentations and the second and third
>>             round-table meetings were
>>             smaller, allowing more extensive discussion,
>>             which I thought was
>>             particularly valuable in clarifying why
>>             perezhivanie is such a useful (and
>>             flexible) concept.
>>
>>             Discussions at the conference illustrated the
>>             tensions between those who
>>             seek to defend a core, 'true' meaning (through
>>             careful historical analysis
>>             of documents and arguments) and those who want
>>             to loosen the boundaries of
>>             what 'counts' as perezhivanie so that the
>>             concept can be used in new ways
>>             and in new contexts. Having the opportunity to
>>             take conversations forward
>>             beyond initial disagreement helped me to see
>>             the 'agreed' meaning
>>             (znachenie) of perezhivanie as a fluid,
>>             dynamic product of continuing
>>             interactions - both influencing and influenced
>>             by the particular
>>             refractions of individual interpretations
>>             (smysl). Our 'own' understanding
>>             is immeasurably enriched by opportunities to
>>             encounter and engage with
>>             other people's perspectives - not just what
>>             they think and know but also
>>             what they care about! My understanding of the
>>             writing of Fernando Gonzalez
>>             Rey, Anna Stetsenko, Barbara Rogoff, Nikolai
>>             Veresov and many others will
>>             be informed by what I have learned from seeing
>>             how they present their own
>>             understandings but also, in different but
>>             equally important ways, from
>>             seeing how they engage with other people and
>>             with other people's ideas.
>>
>>             All the best,
>>
>>             Rod
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>             -----Original Message-----
>>             From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>             [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@ <mailto:xmca-l-bounces@>
>>             mailman.ucsd.edu <http://mailman.ucsd.edu>] On
>>             Behalf Of Alfredo Jornet Gil
>>             Sent: 02 September 2017 19:36
>>             To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>             <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>             <mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
>>             Subject: [Xmca-l] ISCAR experiences,
>>             reflections, etc
>>
>>             Dear all,
>>
>>
>>             I am still at Tampere, where the EARLI
>>             conference finished today, just one
>>             day after ISCAR ended. Unfortunately, I
>>             committed to attending both
>>             conferences and could only be the first days
>>             in Quebec. Still, I was
>>             fortunate enough to catch up with many
>>             colleagues, to share some of my
>>             work, and get to hear about that of many
>>             others that are doing great things
>>             around the globe.
>>
>>
>>             One (not so) surprising discovery I made was
>>             the huge amount of people
>>             that actually lurks into this list, but who
>>             nonetheless very seldom if ever
>>             write (whether for lack of time to delve into
>>             the sometimes quite long
>>             posts/themes, or simply because they prefer to
>>             read than write). We all
>>             knew and had talked about this, but it was
>>             quite remarkable the amount of
>>             people I met (not only in ISCAR, but also here
>>             in Europe (EARLI).
>>
>>
>>             So, now that I have met some of you, and that
>>             you have got to see and hear
>>             more of ISCAR than those of us who had to
>>             leave earlier or could not join
>>             at all. What was your highlight of the
>>             congress and why? It would be lovely
>>             if some of you would take a step forward and
>>             tell us a bit of what you
>>             found most interesting, what you found was
>>             missing, what you found should
>>             have not been.
>>
>>
>>             In can be the first: One of my favourite
>>             moments was listening to Fernando
>>             G. Rey present without slides or any other
>>             device, passionately talking
>>             about child development and claiming, "... for
>>             the first need of the child
>>             is that of contact with other people"... I
>>             also very much enjoyed seeing
>>             Mike in a several meters wide screen
>>             commenting on Engeström's Keynote,
>>             rising the longest ovation I got to hear
>>             during my brief three days in
>>             Quebec.
>>
>>
>>             These are just anecdotes, but I would love if
>>             you could tell us more on
>>             how it went for you, what you found there, for
>>             us who could not be there. I
>>             think it would be very much appreciated by
>>             many, while we get the time to
>>             have a look at the issue on unit analysis, and
>>             prepare the discussion on
>>             the article from the last (third) MCA issue.
>>
>>
>>             Alfredo
>>             ________________________________
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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
WEBSITE: greg.a.thompson.byu.edu
http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson