Re: [xmca] subjectivity question

From: Ana Marjanovic-Shane (
Date: Wed Nov 09 2005 - 21:14:40 PST

*Subjectivity* seems to have the following "dimensions" based on various
people's writings:
1. -- it is something that belongs to a person more than to a group (but
possibly that too)
2. -- it is something that is not observable in an actual manifestation,
but it's expressions may be observable
3. -- it is an "agent" that acts upon the "object"
4. -- it is what someone else is thinking/feeling
5. -- subjectivity can have external manifestations, (but it is
something that "resides" inside)
6. -- subjectivity may be "ideal" in quality (i.e. non "material") and
therefore is just a figment of (false??) imagination.
7. -- subjectivity is an opposite of "social" or "societal"
8. -- (intra)subjectivity is something that happens inside one (body) as
opposed to inter-subjectivity which happens between many (bodies).
9. -- subjectivity is just a different word for "psyche" or "mental"
10. - subjectivity is an activity "in the head"
11. -- subjectivity is opposite of objectivity
12. -- subjectivity does not exist without an object
The following are not proved
:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)
13. -- subjectivity is a personal quality of being able to withstand
various things
14. -- subjactivity is a poorly accomplished activity
15. -- subjectivity is something administered under the skin only
16. -- subjectivity is a quality of unfinished plans
17. -- subjectivity is a not wanted, temporary teacher
18. -- subjectivity is lacking in propelling force
19. -- subjectivity is taking many different classes
19. -- subjanctivity is making things iffy

At this moment, my subjectivity must go to sleep.

Good night

Mike Cole wrote:

>Mary-- I found the message where I raised questions about the use of the
>subjectivity. The question I am raising is one that I have brooded about for
>a long
>time without ever seeking to bring the discourses where subjectivity is a
>key term
>and discourses that use terms like psyche, mind, etc. that tend to come from
> This may not be productive for people to discuss if others are clear on it
>but I am not
>so would benefit from such a discussion.
>Second, and on a very different tack. I would really appreciate help
>understanding warrants for claims about another person or group's
>I am a member of modern academic culture, so of course I have a general idea
>of what the term means from its uses, as in Anna's paper, but in cultural
>studies more broadly. But, perhaps because of my training as a behaviorist,
>or perhaps because of my training as a student of Alexander Luria's, many
>of the term make me nervous, and that extends to Anna's paper and your
>discussion with Martin (for whom the term is more comfortable, I believe --
>Please, Martin, Anna, Andy, Mary, and others join in here).
>Danzinger recounts how it came about that a researcher in a German
>laboratory in the 1880's-1990's came to be called "the subject," the person
>psychological states/perceptions/elements of consciousness/....... his (it
>was all hims at the time) research-partner was, in collaboration with the
>trying to obtain "scientific evidence" about. In simple terms, it was the
>problem of how you could know what someone else was thinking/feeling.
>Luria writes about his disillusion with various attempts to solve this
>problem. He specifed, in The Nature of Human Conflicts, and again in his
>a method in which the researcher created a situation where s/he and the
>"subject" were coordinated in a cultural medium. The behavior of both was
>voluntary, not reflexive. Once they achieve highly coordinated joint
>actions, the researcher introduces a highly selected change into the
>situation and
>determines if this change results in a change in the coordinated actions of
>the "subject." ONLY when there is selective, predictable, DIS-coordination
>of the coordinated joint activity is there a warrant for a claim about the
>other person's thought/feeling.
>Peg Griffin and I sought to extend this idea into the diagnosis and
>remediation of reading difficulties of children with, I believe, reasonable
>success. Bruner and
>others used it, without acknowledgement or recognition of its general
>importance so far as I know, in studies where, for example, infants are
>first habituated
>to a series of stimuli while their "signature" rhythmic sucking is recorded
>and then a small change of interest (phoeme, visual configuration...) is
>to see if the suckig is disrupted.
>I can give other examples from rare, but naturally occuring events I have
>participated in.
>But in general, what are the warrants for claims about another person's or
>another people's subjectivity? Last night on National Public Radio I heard a
>Palastinian and other people writing "in diaspora" speak of the fence as
>huge influence on his feeling of being walled out of his own country. The
>people from various parts
>of Africa rioting in Paris are clearly outraged over their treatment by the
>French and I see their anger in their actions. But what can I claim to know
>about their
>subjectivity (their anger is objectively visible to me)? What can my
>daughter, who has lived in Eastern Madagascar at various periods in her
>life, gotten
>extraordinarily ill from helping grow rice in swamps, participated in cattle
>sacrifice, grieved at the death of her Malagasy ancestors, know about
>subjectivity? Behind my back,the BBC is showing anyone who will watch the
>subjectivity of Latin Americans outraged at American policies. What can I
>know about their subjectivity other than its external manifestations?
>This is not a known answer question. I would appreciate help in coming to
>terms with the use of this term. I believe it must be used with great care
>and the
>possibility of claims being incorrect. Luria wanted to be able to
>distinguish what people said from what they "felt." In Anna's paper, the
>terms subjectivity
>and intersubjectivity are central. What is being meant by what is being
>xmca mailing list

Ana Marjanovic-Shane

151 W. Tulpehocken St.

Philadelphia, PA 19144

Home office: (215) 843-2909

Mobile: (267) 334-2905

_______________________________________________ xmca mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Dec 01 2005 - 01:00:07 PST