RE: [xmca] Stetsenko- Material practice, human subjectivity, intersubjectivity

From: Andy Blunden (
Date: Mon Nov 07 2005 - 01:54:41 PST

   Let's try to keep it short.
   I think the stated aim of Anna's paper has merit, i.e., that the CHAT
   tradition of theory has in the past tended towards "objectivism" and
   this needs to be examined. (My disagreement is only on how Anna
   proceeds, etc., and I am using 'subjectivity' in a different sense,
   not identified with psyche)
   I think other contemporary trends also suffer from objectivism, that
   is for example, they see human agency, identity and understanding as
   overly determined by social structures, or they see consciousness as
   overly determined by body-chemistry, etc.
   CHAT's problem was always different from that of currents which
   flourished in the capitalist world. I think it has tended to rely on
   categories like "man," "labour," "object," "activity" which make few
   explicit reference to relations like "subordination," "exploitation",
   "class," "hegemony," "ideology" and so on.
   That's my opinion. I think the objectivism in theory is a product
   chiefly of the political economic conditions in which a theory has
   been constructed. We live in times when people's lives and
   consciousness are dominated by institutions beyond their control.
   Theory reflects that, even if it doesn't describe it.
   I use CHAT in my work because it provides the great theoretical tools
   to understand social institutions in terms of forms of collaboration
   between people, it helps in building a theory which theorises how
   people can intervene effectively in institutions, it has, in my
   opinion, theoretical resources not only to theorise subjectivity, but
   actually help strengthen it. As Victor said, CHAT needs to interact
   with other currents as well, of course.
   Do other people (whether agreeing with Anna or not) think that there
   is a problem with "objectivism" in CHAT? If so it is due to an error
   by its founders?

    Andy Blunden, on behalf of the Victorian Peace Network, Phone (+61)
                                03-9380 9435
             Alexander Surmava's Tour - September/October 2006


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