Re: [xmca] How to conceive of the Social Situation of Development.

From: Geoff <geoffrey.binder who-is-at>
Date: Fri Jun 20 2008 - 00:42:34 PDT

Perhaps because the term is not rigidly defined, Wittgenstein's 'form
of life' might help? The concept is thoroughly social, bounded, yet
scaleable. To be engaged in a FoL is to communicate and act in
accordance with the rules defined by the FoL. I think FoL shed light
on our relationship to social structures - it is the knowing how to
act, without necessarily being aware of the defining social
structures.. Another positive aspect of FoL is that they can
conceivably overlap,or be multiple, and activated by changes in
context. I may act agentively only in a context in which that act is
meaningful - as such, the 'project' that I'm engaged with will depend
on what is salient at the time.

Andy, I don't know whether this helps with your problem, but I do
agree with David's concern regarding the asocial conatation of
project. While we can and do define terms to suit our use, I'm not
sure of the profit to be had in redefining project to mean something
other than a 'rational' pursuance of a stated goal.

Also, I'd not necessarily agree that 'the environment' is passive. The
physical environment is dynamic and active. While the environment can
not be said to have intent, it does act powerfully. I think we need to
be able to theorise the relationship between humans and the
environment dialectically as both working on the other, not as one
being at the service of the other - which, I believe is implicit in

Cheers, Geoff

2008/6/20 Andy Blunden <>:
> David,
> When I gave the USA as an example of a "project" I meant this to convey the
> idea that "project" is something objective. So it is significantly true that
> two people may be interacting with each other while involved in two
> different projects, but it is not just something inside the head. It arises
> socially and can be determined objectively. Naturally, the misalignment of
> projects is an issue. If a teacher is involved in a project of education, a
> child needs to be recruited to that project.
> I certainly agree that "project" not= "environment". That's the point. The
> "environment," as I understand it, is a passive surround/context from which
> the subject gains resources or cues. A person is an active participant in a
> project though. I think all projects are going somewhere, though they
> probably are not normally undergoing "development."
> There is always an element of "A rose is a rose by any other name" in these
> questions. That's why I tried to indicate the provenance I had in mind,
> viz., pragamtic interpretations of Hegelian Gestalten. Very much a *social*
> kind of thing. :) I do not have an Existentialist conception in mind.
> Andy
> David Kellogg wrote:
>> Andy, it's a very interesting project. Here are some problems I think need
>> thinking:
>> a) A social situation of development is NOT the same thing as the social
>> environment of learning. The latter is organized by a teacher; it's the
>> teacher's project and not the learner's. But then how does the former lead
>> the latter, as it must?
>> b) A social situation of development (for me) puts "social" before
>> "development". This is because the society is the precondition for the
>> development rather than vice versa; it's possible to imagine a society
>> without development (the USA?) but not development without a society.
>> "Project" seems to me to put development before social. Who is projecting
>> what onto whom?
>> c) I already have a lot of trouble distinguishing between logogenesis
>> (Halliday), microgenesis (Wertsch), learning (LSV) and development (ditto).
>> "Project" seems to stand athwart all of these processes like a collossus.
>> Yet isn't the way you define it really about ontogenesis rather than any of
>> them?
>> d) Like you, I STRONGLY feel the need to find some other word than
>> "activity". But perhaps the reason I feel this is the problem Kozulin points
>> to (as LSV did before him). Any word, whether it be "activity", or
>> "Gestalt", or "unconscious" or "personality", becomes meaningless if we ask
>> it to explain too much; it becomes a frog trying to be as big as an ox. So
>> what are the upper and lower limits of usefulness of the word "project"?
>> David Kellogg
>> Seoul National University of Education
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden +61 3 9380 9435 Skype andy.blunden
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

Geoffrey Binder
BA (SS) La Trobe, BArch (Hons) RMIT
PhD Candidate
Global Studies, Social Sciences and Planning RMIT
Ph B. 9925 9951
M. 0422 968 567
xmca mailing list
Received on Fri Jun 20 00:43 PDT 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Oct 14 2008 - 10:29:05 PDT