Re: social relations and mediation

From: Andy Blunden (
Date: Mon May 31 2004 - 21:12:35 PDT

Indeed, also in my (hegelian) understanding of "mediation," mediation is
not limited to one or another side of the triangle. The activity itself is
mediating between the person and the concept or universal organising the
activity, while the artefact is mediating between the person and the
activity in orienting her attention, etc. and the person is after all
mediating between the community or activity and the artefact or personal
trait, it being the person's actions which give and sustain the capacity of
the artefact or personal trait to mediate relations between people.
At 10:03 PM 31/05/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>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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