Re: [xmca] LCA- & bersein?

From: Phil Chappell (philchappell@mac.com)
Date: Sun Aug 28 2005 - 07:02:05 PDT


Dear Lars and Mike,

Please see this link
http://communication.ucsd.edu/MCA/Mail/xmcamail.2005_07.dir/0174.html
for Lars' original post re: Basil Bernstein's paper on knowledge
structures. The reply you talk about, I think, was mine, and it was
less a reply than a personal response to the paper. I was hoping that
others more tuned into Bernstein's work would field Lars' responses,
since we are pushing the discipline boundaries here. Indeed as we have
seen from Ruqaiya Hasan's papers and posts here over the past few
weeks, she favours theories of an exotropic kind, which have a systemic
and dynamic nature to them. I just wonder whether some here may be a
little sensitive to this topic due to an orientation to more endotropic
theories, which are centred on more isolated objects of study? I don't
know, but I feel that mention of Bernstein here draws blanks, yawns or
even contemptuous stares.

Quoting Frances Christie 1999 ("Pedagogy and the Shaping of
Consciousness"), "...how rarely social theories have usefully brought
together insights from sociology and linguistic studies, though
Bernstein, Cicourel and Grimshaw are theorists who have used actual
speech data to develop their theories". And of course, Halliday is
another.

For me, I am challenged by the precision with which Bernstein locates
knowledge structures, and the potential of Halliday's linguistic system
to articulate the differences.

I don't have the artistic ability, however, to represent my thinking
through triangles!

Now, back to Lars' point

Lars wrote:
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

On 27/08/2005, at 10:45 PM, Mike Cole wrote:

> 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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