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[Xmca-l] Re: Unit of Analysis



​Thank you folks for answering my very simple-minded post with very
thoughtful answers. ​This is very helpful.

-greg

On Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 5:14 PM, Jessica Kindred <kindred.jessica@gmail.com>
wrote:

> The water metaphor is Vygotsky's from Thinking and Speech. (I hope it is
> properly attributed to him in the text you cited, though this is not clear
> from the quote of that text). And yes, it is a very useful idea to think of
> a unit of analysis through this lens. Thanks for the reminder.
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> > On Sep 6, 2017, at 6:15 PM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > Not sure if others might feel this is an oversimplification of unit of
> > analysis, but I just came across this in Wortham and Kim's Introduction
> to
> > the volume Discourse and Education and found it useful. The short of it
> is
> > that the unit of analysis is the unit that "preserves the
> > essential features of the whole".
> >
> > Here is their longer explanation:
> >
> > "Marx (1867/1986) and Vygotsky (1934/1987) apply the concept "unit of
> > analysis" to social scientific problems. In their account, an adequate
> > approach to any phenomenon must find the right unit of analysis - one
> that
> > preserves the essential features of the whole. In order to study water, a
> > scientist must not break the substance down below the level of an
> > individual H20 molecule. Water is made up of nothing but hydrogen and
> > oxygen, but studying hydrogen and oxygen separately will not illuminate
> the
> > essential properties of water. Similarly, meaningful language use
> requires
> > a unit of analysis that includes aspects beyond phonology,
> > grammar, semantics, and mental representations. All of these linguistic
> and
> > psychological factors play a role in linguistic communication, but
> natural
> > language use also involves social action in a context that includes other
> > actors and socially significant regularities."
> >
> > (entire chapter can be found on Research Gate at:
> > https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319322253_
> Introduction_to_Discourse_and_Education
> > )
> >
> > ​I thought that the water/H20 metaphor was a useful one for thinking
> about
> > unit of analysis.​
> >
> > ​-greg​
> >
> > --
> > 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
>
>


-- 
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