Re: [xmca] legitimacy

From: O'Connor, Kevin (
Date: Mon Apr 24 2006 - 11:37:48 PDT

On 4/17/06 3:03 PM, "bb" <> wrote:

> CoP certainly seems useful for the lads study in that it addresses identity
> development -- in the lads view they have become outsiders -- but the
> socio-economic/cultural-historical dimensions that lead this development of
> conciousness are not well laid out in the CoP framework, last I checked. What
> are boundaries of the community in other ways seem to need more definition.
> Still, as you point out Nancy, there is a lot of purchase in the notion of
> LPP. Is there anything recent about who determines what is "legitimate"?

Bill asks if there's anything recent about who determines what is
"legitimate." I have a couple of papers that address some of the interesting
issues regarding legitimacy, boundary crossing, etc., that are raised in
this thread.
One of the arguments of these papers is that some CoP research (e.g., much
of the work that uses the concept of CoP for designing learning contexts)
has taken L&Wšs focus on (mostly) bounded, stable, and benign CoPšs as a
model for studying all CoPšs. This has backgrounded crucial issues like
those that Bill and others raise on the sources of legitimacy, etc. But if
we look at L&Wšs focus on these sorts of CoPšs as acknowledged
simplifications made for strategic analytic purposes rather than as a
description of all CoPšs, it leads us to suspend these simplified
assumptions and open us up to taking on different kinds of analyses that
foreground different aspects of CoP's.

The direction Išve taken with this has been to make a different strategic
choice, i.e. to study a setting in which boundedness, stability, and
benignness are clearly not reasonable assumptions to make, in that key
disciplinary and institutional values and practices are overtly undergoing
transformation (e.g., bringing historically separated institutions into
contact through videoconferencing technology). I closely examined the
communicative processes by means of which participants in interaction
construct and, more importantly, contest the identity of various communities
and their roles in them ­ e.g., as legitimate participants or not. Some of
the socio/cultural/historical dimensions that Bill and Nancy want to see are
available in the interactional details, and these are what my analyses try
to show.
For those who might be interested, the most relevant reference is below.
I'd be happy to send a copy if you don't have easy access to the book.

OšConnor, K. (2003). Communicative practice, cultural production, and
situated learning: Constructing and contesting identities of expertise in a
heterogeneous learning context. In S. Wortham and B. Rymes (Eds.),
Linguistic anthropology of education. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Kevin O'Connor
Assistant Professor
University of Rochester
Warner School of Education and Human Development
1-320 Dewey Hall
Rochester NY 14627


> > > -------------- Original message ---------------------- > From: "Ares, Nancy (Warner)" <> >> Lave and Wenger would call it legitimate peripheral participation, or >> engagement in practices that are increasingly central to the practices of a >> community... >> >> Nancy Ares >> Assistant Professor >> Teaching & Curriculum >> The Warner Graduate School of Education >> and Human Development >> University of Rochester >> P.O. Box 270425 >> Rochester, NY 14627 >> 585-273-5957 >> fax 585-473-7598 >> >>> ---------- >>> From: on behalf of >>> >>> Reply To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity >>> Sent: Monday, April 17, 2006 1:33 PM >>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity >>> Subject: RE: [xmca] "informants as lames" >>> >>> Yes, and we also face the limitations of the simple dichotomy of "inside" >>> and "outside", when there is at least a third possibility of being "on the >>> border". >>> In a more fuzzy way, can we consider degrees of being inside, and movement >>> toward the inside being complementary to appropriation? What would >>> movement toward the outside be called? >>> >>> -------------- Original message ---------------------- >>> From: "Ares, Nancy (Warner)" <> >>>> Whose purpose would we be referring to, the individuals, the sub-group >>>> (lads), the larger AT (the school), or society (for example)? From one >>>> perspective, the lads, I can see that they would consider themselves >>>> outsiders. From the school's perspective, I could see that they would be >>>> considered insiders who are troubled or troublemakers, but still inside. >>>>> From a societal perspective, I could see them as insiders of a >>> particular >>>> kind, but clearly involved and influential. >>>> >>>> The unit of analysis question emerges again... >>>> >>>> Nancy Ares >>>> Assistant Professor >>>> Teaching & Curriculum >>>> The Warner Graduate School of Education >>>> and Human Development >>>> University of Rochester >>>> P.O. Box 270425 >>>> Rochester, NY 14627 >>>> 585-273-5957 >>>> fax 585-473-7598 >>>> >>>>> ---------- >>>>> From: on behalf of Worthen, Helena >>>>> Reply To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity >>>>> Sent: Monday, April 17, 2006 10:49 AM >>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity >>>>> Subject: Re: [xmca] "informants as lames" >>>>> >>>>> Hello -- >>>>> >>>>> We could refer to purpose or consciousness here to distinguish between >>>>> who's in and who's out. If they're actively conspiring against school >>>>> culture they're still a part of it, shape it, participate in it -- but >>> to >>>>> the extent that they are participating in it with a different purpose >>> and >>>>> different consciousness, they are a separate activity system -- for >>> the >>>>> purposes of a study of boundaries, that would consistute a boundary -- >>>>> right? >>>>> >>>>> Helena WOrthen >>>>> >>>>> >>>>> On Mon, April 17, 2006 9:00 am, bb wrote: >>>>>> All this begs the question of what it means to be inside and outside >>> the >>>>>> community, and conversely, what/where/when are the boundaries of the >>>>>> community. Who says who's in and who's out? >>>>>> >>>>>> Are the lads in Willis' study in or out of the school community? >>> They >>>>>> might >>>>>> say "out", but in actively conspiring against school culture, do >>> they >>>>> not >>>>>> participate in it, shape it, and therefore constitute part of it? >>>>>> >>>>>> Not intending to make trouble, it just comes naturally when I'm >>> puzzled. >>>>>> >>>>>> bb >>>>>> >>>>>> On Monday 17 April 2006 9:32 am, Andrew Jocuns wrote: >>>>>>> I think Paul Rabinow in his ethnography, Reflections >>>>>>> on Fieldwork in Morocco, mentions that the first >>>>>>> person to greet an anthropologist is often an outsider >>>>>>> in the community. I am not sure if was him or someone >>>>>>> else who wrote that anthropologists should stay away >>>>>>> from said person. >>>>>>> >>>>>>> andy >>>>>>> >>>>>>> --- Mike Cole <> wrote: >>>>>>>> I am looking for a reference to the problem of >>>>>>>> anthropological fieldwork >>>>>>>> that arises because people who are likely to >>>>>>>> interact with an outsider to the community are >>>>>>>> themselves likely to be >>>>>>>> marginal within their own communities. The phrase >>>>>>>> that comes to mind is "lames." >>>>>>>> >>>>>>>> Can anyone help? >>>>>>>> mike

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