[xmca] LCA- & bersein?

From: Mike Cole (lchcmike@gmail.com)
Date: Sat Aug 27 2005 - 08:45:41 PDT


Dear Xmca-O-filoites.

Yesterday a too and from plan trip afford me plenty of undisturbed reading
time and I did what lars asked to do. Think about him.
In Lar's case (see July messages in the archive), here is what he had to say
about reading Bernstein. He got a reply I have not
found, so this may be passe, but here is what Lars said and it intersected
the thoughts I had had while reading.

Lars wrote
:*******************************************

When reading the Bernstein paper I had the feeling that the descriptions of
vertical discourses would link to Latour's analysis of institutional life
and their localized, emerging discourses and the connection is indeed made

in the end. However from my (somewhat fragmented and far from qualified)
reading of both the researchers in focus, a question comes to mind: I am
under the impression that Latour would claim that any and all discourses,
theoretically specialized or not, would be horizontal, situated and take the

shape of enclaves and these enclaves will, through their research and
science production contribute to the language of science, reshaping the
general scientific language tools by participation and localized negation
that spreads into the larger network of science workers.
Even though the language might be structured around established cannons (as
science) it will quickly reshape under the influence of the language users
(as research). As far as I understand the Latourian mindset, it can not be a

question of vertical vs. horizontal discourses, or putting one over the
other, since this would be in opposition to the idea of the network (or
work-net) where the discourse of everyday life and science and research
float back and forth within the enclave and between the nodes in the net as
a larger set of enclaves.
Where the dichotomy of the two axis seems to imply that one has to develop
from a lover state to a higher rise from the profane to the academic - in
order to participate in the scientific discourse and that the acquisition of

the vertical languages equals a adaptation to a pre-set structure and growth

towards a given set of behaviors by learning the hind lying theoretic frame
work, Latour seems to bring emphasis to the fact that knowledge distribution

and social development is a matter of circulated and indeed non-hierarchical

negotiations and refrains from giving any heed to theoretical frameworks or
power structures that might be governing the network in question meaning
specialized language becomes a tool among many others that can be analyzed
alongside any other tool in play very much in line with the activity
theoretical understanding.
 
My question is - when the paper conclusively points towards focusing on a
problem instead of a theory as a solution to the issues of too many
specified languages, is there not a discrepancy between the use of Latours
notion of a theory-free approach and the notion of the sketched
horizontal-vertical dichotomy?
 
Lars Rossen wrote:
 
Latour seems to bring emphasis to the fact that knowledge distribution
and social development is a matter of circulated and indeed non-hierarchical

negotiations and refrains from giving any heed to theoretical frameworks or
power structures that might be governing the network in question meaning
specialized language becomes a tool among many others that can be analyzed
alongside any other tool in play very much in line with the activity
theoretical understanding.
******************************************************************
This description of Latour vs Bernstein is a fascinating replay, in
post-modern
terms what Sylvia Scriner and I wrote about one of Bernstein's earlier
influential
volumes. But before reading the note, I was coming at it in terms of the
Expanded
Triangle that serves as a germ cell for CHAT in relation to Bernstein.
 
1988 I wrote a paper about the historical convergence of American-style,
context/activity
focused in anthrhopology, sociology, and psychology by scholars for whom
fieldwork,
discourse analaysis, institutional analysis were the great and butter, with
the German-Russian
approach which emphasized not-synchronic heterogeneity, but historical
(genetic) transformation.
 
CHAT, although I had no name for it at the time, is analogous to the
historical and phylogenetic lines
converging in the language and al the semiotic means that are our
enviroment.
 
In Seville I am going to talk about important points of uncertainty,
imprecision, and confusions of thinking
(I am thinking about myself here) accompahy the CHAT discourse along a
number of different important
dimensinos. Hierarchy is one of them. I found it interesting that Bernstein,
whose sociological focus is
has often been about class, repersented the "hierachical knowledge
structure" as a triangle. Burke a
pentad, Yrjo the expanded triangle.
 
In an article somewhere 30 years ago, Zaparozhets wrote about development as
an increase in the range of
cutlural contexts/events/practices/etc a child could participate in. The
idea is not absent from the cutlural-
historical theorists, rather, it has different ideological significance.
 
Adding Latour seems appropriate to me.Bernstein uses Bourdieu, a name we
hear often in discussions that
link chat ideas to family members.
 
I gather from Kris G with whom I shared a cab yesterday that an issue
perhaps not fully explored in this group concerns
the privileging of language over other cultural/semiotic means.For another
discussion.
 
Anyway, a good topic to consider on a list about current accomplishments and
inadequcies of CHAT as a mode of
(scientific?) inquiry?
mike

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