Re: [xmca] Some comments on Gordon's article

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Wed Oct 03 2007 - 17:23:38 PDT

Let's see if I understand you correctly, Gordon.
Firstly, it is essential to your approach, isn't it, that the project is
divided into subject and object?
So for example, a group of salespeople in a business might "discourse"
about how to better serve their customers, and the result might be a sign
saying "Please form a queue". The discussion amongst the salespeople is
"discoursing" and the sign is a material tool. This is because the shoppers
are regarded by the salespeople as an object to be manipulated, whereas
they regard each other as part of the subject, to be treated as subjects.
How would this look if the "shoppers" are students attending a course and
the "salespeople" are the tutor-group?
Well, the same obviously. Is that right?
At 02:23 PM 3/10/2007 -0700, you wrote:
>At the beginning of this discussion, Eric suggested that it might be
>helpful to discuss the paper "in small pieces." Following this suggestion,
>below I put forward what I consider to be some of the more important pieces.
>A few days ago, Ruqaiya aptly described the point I was trying to make by
>using the term "discoursing," which is that, in most types of activity,
>language/ discourse is a form of action. At the same time, since it is
>mediating the achievement of some object/goal, it functions as what
>Leontiev's calls an operation, in which two or more participants
>collaborate according to the situational context constituted by the
>object/goal and the participants involved.
>One of Leontiev's criteria was that operations typically do not require
>conscious attention. This seems to be true of discoursing in the sense
>that, while the speaker/listener may consciously attend to the purpose of
>any particular move, the realisation of the move seems to happen "by
>itself". Hence, perhaps, the apparent paradox of "how do I know what I
>think until I hear what I say?"
>Since discoursing involves negotiating among the participants, both about
>the goal of their joint action and about the sequential/temporal
>organization of the moves that co-construct the outcome, members of
>activity systems or communities of practice draw upon (and transform) a
>genre appropriate to the situation, which faciltates the sequential
>organization of the discoursing because they are aware of and, for the
>most part, make moves that are appropriate to, the stage reached in the genre.
>This seems to be true of all instances of discoursing, whether the
>intended outcome is the transformation of some aspect of the material
>world, the co-construction of understanding, or the negotiation of
>interpersonal relationships - or some combination of these.
>If this is indeed the case, a reconceptualization of the role of
>discoursing in activity seems called for. Treating it as the same sort of
>mediational means as a material tool, which is used to act on the object,
>is misleading; discoursing is a transaction, negotiated among
>participants, in which all are subjects acting together to achieve their
>(negotiated) goal.
>I hope this will help the discussion.
>Gordon Wells
>Department of Education
>University of California, Santa Cruz
>xmca mailing list

  Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435,
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Received on Wed Oct 3 17:25 PDT 2007

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