Re: social relations and mediation

From: Ana Marjanovic-Shane (
Date: Mon May 31 2004 - 19:03:29 PDT

I agree with you, Mike. I would also add that various lines in
Engeström's model make many triangles and to me they represent mediation
or, better, "co-mediation", a system of the mutual "co-constitution".
So I can only add to the three-way relationships you started to enumerate:
Person-artifact- another person (community);
Person -another person - object;
Person - tool/symbol - object;
Person - tool/symbol - another person (community);
Person - roles - another person (community);
Person - rules - another person (community);
Person - tools/symbols - roles ;

For each of the above and other possible combinations, one can find a
plausible example.
For instance: the choice of words (person - tools) is mandated by the
relationships between the roles two persons have in regard to each
other. (In many language communities it is very important to know
whether to use "you" [polite form] or "thou" [familiar form]. This
depends on the relationship of the roles two people have:
student-teacher; parent-child, strangers or friends etc...)
Or -- one can change one's relationship to another person through a
choice of words, i.e. use the words to mediate the intentional change of
the relationship (roles).

In other words, mediation, for me, means that no relationship is
independent (unmediated) from any other in the complex dynamic of a
situated activity. To use the symbolic of the triangles (I now mediate
my thought through this picture): Change any "angle" in the double
triangular representation of the activity relationships -- and you have
to adjust everything else:all other angles and lengths of the sides of
those triangles.

What do you think?

Mike Cole wrote:

>I am not other folks, nancy. The issue you raise is very important to me
>at least.
>I would suggest that your students look at a concrete example of how to
>combine peron-mediated and (in this case) text mediated "readings of the
>world" in the service of good pedagogy. The example is called question
>asking reading and it appears in several places. I concise description is
>givn in *Cultural Psychology*, chapter 8 I believe.
>Another way of saying all this is that means of productin and relations of
>production are co-constituting: person-artifact-person interaction and
>mediatin of action through another person the two "poloes" of a single
>combined process. I think.

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