I’ve been following the discussion thus far with great interest and trying to find the time for thoughtful responses – difficult these days at the end of a very intense summer term (which ends this week, thankfully!).
I’ll write more tomorrow morning, but wanted to briefly clarify one issue raised in bb’s message, regarding the phrase on p.62, i.e., “the mutual production of identities and contexts for activity…” My phrasing here was unclear, and my meaning ambiguous as a result. This can be read as “the mutual production of identities and contexts-for-activity…” That is, I agree with the proposed rephrasing as “the mutual production of identities and contexts THROUGH activity,” as well as with the claim that “people make contexts as contexts make people.” I hope this clarifies that I don’t see my position as tending towards cultural or historical reductionism (and I would add that I don’t reject the relevance of biological factors, though I don’t focus on these in my work). My purposes in bringing up the issue of “failure” in this paper were fairly specific and limited – I think that some approaches to situated learning have an inadequate account of failure (usually implicit, since it’s rarely explicitly addressed), and that this has resulted in what I see as an incomplete analysis of learning.
I appreciate everyone’s comments, and will add more tomorrow.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org on behalf of Mike Cole
Sent: Wed 6/28/2006 10:40 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Kevin's paper for discussion
bb- the whole issue of the way in which Kevin positions the term, activity,
important. I shied away and took up other issues because I think that folks
really need to
read the article and then, soon as we can jointly manage it (!) see the
videos. A lot to
discuss on p. 1 but I resist such discussion until we get to the end and
try, as hard as we can,
to read the text in its entirety in an empathetic manner. I am very
grateful to Kevin for working
to help us all educate outselves.
On 6/28/06, bb <email@example.com> wrote:
> P. 62 is puzzling. The sentence at the bottom reads "Thus, this project
> allows me to examine processes of "identification" and "contextualization"
> -that is, the mutual production of identities and contexts FOR
> conditions of overt conflict and transformation."
> Might be better phrased as "Thus, this project allows me to examine
> of "identification" and "contextualization" -that is, the mutual
> of identities and contexts THROUGH activity-under conditions of overt
> conflict and transformation." That is, if one understands activity to
> and 'bring out' the social, cultural, and historical elements that
> in the making of context. The problem with the symmetrical view, as Kevin
> puts it, is that it is not completely symmetrical, but leans a little too
> toward cultural causation, perhaps in rejection of cognitivism:
> "From the perspective of situated learning as an aspect
> of cultural production, however, both those who succeed and those who
> fail in school, like Lave and Wenger's apprentices, are simply becoming
> good at what they are given the opportunity to do on a routine basis- "
> Put more symmetrically, people make contexts as contexts make people. They
> embody their history and may not succeed at what they are routinely given
> opportunity to do, they may not be able to mutually constitute a zone that
> leads them forward. The child whose mother drank alcohol while pregnant
> have great difficulty with attending to tasks and remembering what someone
> said. Willis' lads were able to engage in processes of identification
> manual labor, but not during schooling, contributing to making the former
> contexts for learning, but not the latter. We can't ignore that a person
> a material, biological, and psychological unit that embodies his or her
> can move from one place to the next, and can make as well as be made,
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