[xmca] units of analysis and other matters, including etymology

From: Mike Cole (lchcmike@gmail.com)
Date: Tue Feb 13 2007 - 17:26:28 PST

Martin-- for your students-- and all--- for general consideration.

This week my class is reading Wertsch's book on Mind as Action.

In reading the book one issue has forcefully struck me that had already been
gnawing at me. The word, consciousness, which
is so important at the beginning and end of T&L does not appear in the index
of the text. And while it may appear somewhere
(I am now alerted!) it is not obvious so far. Rather, there is a remark on
p. 12 that comes off of a an interesting discussion
of Kenneth Burke (I am a big fan of Burke and dramatism approaches
generall) that reads:

The starting point of Burke's dramatistic method is that it takes human
action as the basic phenomenon to be analyzed. This assumption
provides the groundwork for building links between Burke and those of
figures such as ..... vygtosky, wertch, zinchenko,, bakhtin, & mead.

I know that your students have been focusing on the question of units of
analysis and primal cells, Martin.
I have been wanting to write something like, "The unit you choose depends
upon the phenomenon you want to explain."

Blah blah blah...... etc

It seems to me that we need a very careful analysis of WHAT different family
members in the chat/socicultural studies tradition want to explain.
If they are trying to explain different things, then they need different
units. But I do not know of a systematic description of what differerent
of the broad cultural-social-historical-activity approach believe themselves
to be explaining.


I guess I value etymologies more than you do. It is not that I disagree that
people using a term, say, imagination, at present, do not have their
own interpretations/meanings/senses. Sure. But rather, knowing the history
(for me at least) often un-fossilizes the meanings/senses I have been
making by opening up totally new possibilities for re-considering what
Ithought I was talk about/through.

the so-znanie/o-so-znanie contrast is useful in helping me unfossilize my
understrandings. So is decomposing voobrazhenia (imagination)
into into-image-making-- especially when it is a blind-deaf psychologist who
pushes the issue.

Or maybe I am just focused elsewhere.

Que penses compadres?
(mlk are my initials in russian, which tickles me, oddball that i am)
xmca mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Mar 01 2007 - 10:36:50 PST