Re: [xmca] units of analysis,and Kenneth Burke

From: Mike Cole (lchcmike@gmail.com)
Date: Wed Feb 14 2007 - 14:27:12 PST


Thanks Tony -- I hope we get some postings from the Comm grad students about
the
units problem. In reading Mind as Action (and an Alac -Hutchins article on
action as
cognition) Burke and the dramatic metaphor played a large role in the
discussion..

mike

On 2/14/07, Tony Whitson <twhitson@udel.edu> wrote:
>
> On Unit of Analysis, Eugene has a paper that he might be able to share.
> Eugene?
>
> On Burke I have a favorite three-page excerpt posted at
> http://curricublog.org/2007/02/14/burke-conversation/
>
> It includes:
>
> Kenneth Burke writes
>
> =======
> In equating "dramatic" with "dialectic," we automatically have also
> our perspective for the analysis of history, which is a "dramatic"
> process, involving dialectical oppositions. (p. 109)
> =======
>
> We might consider how this also applies to the analysis of curriculum.
> Burke writes:
>
> =======
> Where does the drama get its materials? From the "unending
> conversation" that is going on at the point in history when we are born.
> Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others
> have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a
> discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is
> about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them
> got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the
> steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that
> you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar.
> Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another
> aligns himself against you, to either the embarrass- [111] ment or
> gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally's
> assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late,
> you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously
> in progress.
>
> It is from this "unending conversation" (the vision at the basis of
> Mead's work) that the materials of your drama arise.* Nor is this verbal
> action all there is to it. For all these words are grounded in what
> Malinowski would call "contexts of situation." And very important among
> these "contexts of situation" are the kind of factors considered by
> Bentham, Marx, and Veblen, the material interests (of private or class
> structure) that you symbolically defend or [pp. 110-111; * footnote
> omitted]
> =======
>
> The text and footnotes on those pages include important points on the
> difference between positive and dialectical terms, as illustrated by the
> historically contingent meaning of principles embedded in the U.S.
> Constitution.
>
> On Tue, 13 Feb 2007, Mike Cole wrote:
>
> > 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
> > members
> > of the broad cultural-social-historical-activity approach believe
> themselves
> > to be explaining.
> >
> > David--
> >
> > 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?
> > mike
> > (mlk are my initials in russian, which tickles me, oddball that i am)
> > _______________________________________________
> > xmca mailing list
> > xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> >
>
> Tony Whitson
> UD School of Education
> NEWARK DE 19716
>
> twhitson@udel.edu
> _______________________________
>
> "those who fail to reread
> are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
> -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
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