Re: [xmca] déjatel¹ nost¹

From: Steve Gabosch <stevegabosch who-is-at mac.com>
Date: Tue Sep 02 2008 - 16:26:49 PDT

This is a long post. I am indulging in this to expand on some things
that have been brought up, and to try to articulate some ideas that
have been half-forming in my head for a while. I appreciate the
opportunity to participate in this discussion and offer my thoughts
out. Xmca continues to be a vital part of my education.

This discussion of units of analysis has been especially stimulating
for me. It began with Andy's excellent question about Leontiev's use
if the term "molar," in the thread Molar, Molecular and Additive
Behavior (somehow the title of this thread got switched). That we
went from molar and molecular perspectives to units of analysis at
multiple levels is logical.

*****************

What I am questioning is whether "activity" is really the "simplest
component of something which exhibits all the properties of the
whole," to use Andy's definition of unit of analysis.

Does each and every activity exhibit all the properties of the
mechanisms of social and individual development? Is every activity -
activity in Leontiev's sense, where a motive drives a series of goals
requiring actions that are comprised of operations driven by
conditions - a "microcosm" of the aggregate "mechanisms" or forces of
cultural-historical change? I am not at all imagining that activity
theory would be set aside based on negative answers to these
questions, but rather, it would be better understood by seeing
activity in its larger context, within a larger "component" of human
existence.

What could that larger component be?

I am entirely open to the possibility that activity does indeed
exhibit all the properties of the whole. Pursuing this kind of
questioning, looking "upward" to larger components, can help
demonstrate that. The other possible direction to investigate is also
worth looking at - is there a component smaller than activity that is
the simplest unit that still exhibits all the properties of the
whole? Some CHAT researchers have thought about this and advocated
action, others, the act. But if we follow a Marxist sociology,
looking upward from activity might lead us to class struggle, which in
turn could lead us to the largest contradiction of social development,
the contradiction between the material forces and social relations of
production, which at times can become so tense and strained that
social revolutions break out and usher in new social structures and
relations.

The consensus in CHAT today is that activity is the simplest such
component of human existence. It may be. In trying to understand
that, I am asking questions about alternatives.

I agree that thinking along the lines of grander contradictions than
just activity, which is based on the motives of individuals, is a
"huge leap" from the usual framework upon which psychology is usually
based: the individual.

Even activity theory as it is presently theorized is considerably
farther outside the comfort zone of most approaches to psychology, in
the way it views human psychology as a convergence of biological and
social lines of development that is driven by the cultural-social, and
mediated by the biological, with activity as the context of all
behavior, interaction and development. This approach views human
psychological development as driven by social relations, which
includes the individual's reactions to, acting upon, and self-
transformations by these relationships and activities.

But does the level of analysis of the "unit" activity, essential to
understanding the contexts and mechanisms of any human operation or
action, give us full access to understanding these social relations?
This is what Elhammoumi is addressing - he says the basic unit of
analysis must be the social relations of production, not just activity.

Looking the other direction, does activity theory give us all the
tools we need for a "finer grain" of analysis? Some CHAT-oriented
critiques suggest that activity theory so far has not done well at
providing explanations about subjectivity, emotions, etc. Important
beginnings have been suggested by Vygotsky, Leontiev and others, but
this area of study is much less developed in CHAT than, for example,
the concrete analysis of learning, work, more recently, play, and
close looks at many kinds of actions and sequences of actions in the
context of activities.

What units of analysis and explanations could CHAT develop, in the
context of activity, which could study and explain the so-called
"subjective"? Vygotsky's "perezhivanie," roughly, emotional
experience, has been suggested as one. Wolff-Michael Roth
intriguingly suggested identity, motivation and emotional valence in a
recent article on emotions at a workplace. This is very hot territory
to explore in CHAT these days. This problem is what motivates me to
look both "down" and "up" the levels of analysis CHAT offers or could
develop for new questions and possible answers. For me this includes
looking beyond the accepted edges and boundaries, wondering what might
be discovered on the other sides.

As Wayne suggested as a thought question, perhaps even the social
relations of production idea is not quite "there" yet. This is where
the idea of looking at the convergence of the social relations and the
forces of production for clues emerged.

As for Andy's suggestion that "it is a big mistake to look for a 'unit
of analysis' for everything," this is precisely the mistake I am
making, and trying to make, and encourage others to make. It is not
clear to me why this mistake should be discouraged. It strikes me as
one of the important ways that science advances. To be sure, many
units of analysis that are mistaken, that is, not adequate or
appropriate for a given phenomena or area of inquiry, have been and
will be proposed. Perhaps I am or will make such mistakes. But
creating a division of reality where units of analysis can be
discovered, and others where they can't, does not feel at all right to
me. I wouldn't know where to begin doing that.

But these kinds of "mistakes," proposing analytical units and basic
units of analysis for phenomena, can provide vigorous dialogue and
cause many to ask questions in new ways, which in turn can provoke new
discoveries, not infrequently by accident and in unexpected places,
which in turn can open up new lines of thinking within that overall
dialogue. As I see it, the quest for the "right" units of analysis
for each and every phenomena and each "level" they exist on ("right"
in the sense that the contemporary body of world scientific knowledge
is being fully utilized) is one of the central activities of
scientific work. As the general body of scientific knowledge
progresses (or gets sidetracked), units of analysis are constantly
revised and debated, providing still more sources of constant conflict
over what are the "correct" units of analysis for various phenomena
and the various "levels" and perspectives these phenomena can be seen
from. Many mistakes are indeed made along this road, which become the
basis of many debates, sometimes quite heated. But this is the nature
of the scientific process, is it not?

As for the relationship between activity, class struggle, and the
conflict between the forces and relations of production - and what
analytical units and basic unit(s?) of analysis could encompass all of
these - that is a good question, and a difficult one. A special
problem with the pursuit of a unit of analysis suitable for all three
"levels" is that we are interested in being able to apply this unit of
analysis on the individual, psychological level. That is a tall
order. This challenge involves trying to take large macro-historical
processes and view them on the micro-individual level without losing
the integrity of these macro processes, or lose sight of the
individual and all its parts, including the subjective. Daunting.
Since I am not a genius - and even geniuses need a lot of help and
teamwork - I know I very much need help and guidance to pursue this
kind of inquiry. And that it could take some time to make real
progress, and that it could be a detour from a better set of questions.

I want to emphasize that trying to add in class struggle and the
conflict between the forces and relations of production on top of
activity is intended to also help discover units of analysis, again
from the starting point of activity, mediation etc., for understanding
subjectivity and emotions and other interior processes. By looking at
the macro and sharpening our tools there, perhaps we can make more
headway into the micro.

I tossed out, without strong arguments to back it up, the suggestion
that "social situation," in the way Vygotsky used it, might be a
candidate for a such a macro-level unit of analysis.

Other possible candidates and insights that occur to me to look at,
off the bat, are certain units of analysis for these macro levels that
are used extensively in sections of the Marxist left and elsewhere,
such as "political consciousness" and "class consciousness." These
political "sub-cultures" also tend to use the concepts of
"subjectivity" and "objectivity" extensively, not just as ways of
critiquing various points of view, but of psychologically evaluating
modes of individual participation.

And there are other terms and concepts along these lines in these, and
other political tendencies. Given the roots in Marxism and other
ideologies many of these groups have, there may be conscious ideas and
cultural repertoires in such arenas that could provide new scientific
clues for how to view and describe the psychology of an individual in
the context of activity, class struggle, and the conflict of the
forces and relations of production.

Of course, the huge examples of the USSR, China, and other countries
that have been officially "Marxist" have developed numerous "official"
answers to these kinds of questions, albeit in the context of a highly
deformed class struggle, where workers were violently disenfranchised
from political power and participation as a social class, and where
"Marxism" was used as the official ideology to justify the
continuation of a bureaucratic caste with its iron boots standing on
the throats of workers, oppressed nationalities, intellectuals, and
many others. Thought control, censorship and brutal repression of
alternative views was the norm, not to mention large losses of many
lives and talents. In my opinion, Stalinism was a great setback for
Marxism, and most importantly, the development of the world working
class. I believe we are still experiencing repercussions of that
massive defeat of working class consciousness, allegiance, and power.
The break in the continuity of CHAT following Vygotsky's death is an
example. Oops, I am digressing ...

Cuba, which has remarkably managed to avoid the development of such a
bureaucracy and the crushing of working class consciousness and
activism, might be another place where ideas and terms that address
how these macro-levels of social organization and conflict can be
applied on the individual level might be found. Some of Che Guevara's
writings point in this direction. Wayne Au's article relating Lenin's
views on the current reality of consciousness and more advanced levels
of consciousness to Vygotsky's zone of proximal development is another
example.

And there are many other places to look, including many ideas floating
around within CHAT and related sub-disciplines.

Now, Andy, as for your first sentence in your post earlier today,
about Marx, the contradictions of material life, and the Zeitgeist of
an age, it sounds to my ears like you are not reflecting, you are
disagreeing with the quote from Marx I pointed to. You seem to be
saying that the "means of the contradictions of material life etc."
**IS** [my emphasis] the "*consciousness of an age*, what an epoch
thinks of itself, the Zeigeist". This sounds to my ear that you are
consciously equating material contradictions and consciousness. That
seems to be what you mean by "is" and the way your sentence is
structured. If I am reading this wrong, please correct me.

Marx clearly explained that he believed these two things were not only
different, but the contradictions of the existing material conditions
must be explained in terms of this consciousness.

Here is the Marx quote again:
"Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about
himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its
consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be
explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict
existing between the social forces of production and the relations of
production."

This discussion about the relationship of consciousness to conflicting
conditions is important in any look at units of analysis on the
psychological level, as well as in political, cultural, sociological,
economic, historical and other approaches. It is also critical on the
philosophical and methodological level. It could be argued that this
is precisely one of the areas where Marx turned Hegel "right side up,"
that Hegel's idealism, which tended to view consciousness as
determining being, was corrected by Marx's materialism, which saw
social being as determining social consciousness. At the same time,
as Vygotsky explained, this relationship can get reversed on the
individual level, which operates under different laws of motion and
development than the historical and cultural, which Marx was
investigating.

Marx very clearly explains in this quote how at least certain forms of
consciousness must be explained in terms of the contradictions of
material life. I asked a question yesterday about how generalized we
can get with that idea - can we say, and what would justify saying,
that **all** forms of consciousness must be explained in terms of the
contradictions of material life?

It is fine to take Hegel's or anyone's side over Marx's, or any
position in between, of course. I always find your views and
questions and scholarship refreshing and full of insights, Andy. I am
very glad you are on this list, I have learned a lot. Maybe Hegel was
right over Marx on certain things, or correctly addressed things Marx
didn't, and much can be learned by studying all that, as you do. Of
course, maybe both were wrong on various, or even many things. And
for sure, quoting Marx himself or trying to be "consistent" with him
hardly makes one automatically right! We can learn much from Hegel,
Marx, and many others, and interpret and side with or against them on
various issues, but what counts, of course, is what we do. And that
is one of the things I like so much about CHAT: it offers some new
ways to not only think about, but do something about the world.

- Steve

On Sep 2, 2008, at 6:38 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:

> My response Steve, is that what Marx says is to be understood by
> means of the contradictions of material life etc, is the
> *consciousness of an age*, what an epoch thinks of itself, the
> Zeigeist, if you like. This is a fair call. It is a huge leap from
> there to claim that every passing individual thought is determined
> by these grand contradictions. Clearly, a finer grain of analysis is
> needed. I think it is a big mistake to look for a "unit of analysis"
> for everything, so to speak.
>
>
> BTW, and I am sure you have noticed as well, that Marx refers to the
> rather austere conflict between forces of production and the social
> relations of production as what is driving this historical change,
> not "class struggle" - despite what he says elsewhere about "The
> history of all societies histherto ... etc" - though some people do
> take issue with Marx on this!
>
> Andy
> Steve Gabosch wrote:
>> Yes, exactly, Mike, that is just what I was thinking. This very
>> useful quote you offer may be Marx's most succinct statement of
>> historical materialism. It is from the preface to the 1959 "A
>> Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy."
>> The following sentences after your quote are interesting to examine
>> closely. I have a couple questions about them.
>> Here is the first sentence. When he refers to "this conflict" he
>> is speaking of the conflict between the material productive forces
>> of society with the existing relations of production.
>> "In studying such transformations it is always necessary to
>> distinguish between the material transformation of the economic
>> conditions of production, which can be determined with the
>> precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious,
>> artistic or philosophic – in short, ideological forms in which men
>> become conscious of this conflict and fight it out."
>> In the second sentence, he explains that one cannot explain
>> revolutionary transformations in terms of consciousness, but
>> rather, the consciousness of those times must be explained from the
>> conflict ..."
>> "Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about
>> himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its
>> consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be
>> explained from the contradictions of material life, from the
>> conflict existing between the social forces of production and the
>> relations of production."
>> Consider this modification of the second part of the above
>> sentence, which attempts to generalize the above to the highest
>> level to all historical periods, and not just during revolutionary
>> transformations:
>> **All** "consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of
>> material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces
>> of production and the relations of production."
>> Do you think this modification might be true? What would it take
>> to demonstrate or negate it?
>> I ask because if this statement is arguably true, it might contain
>> a clue regarding this unit of analysis/analytical units/concrete
>> universal discussion we are having.
>> Brainstorming a little, a possible form this contradictory
>> conditions approach could take at the psychological level might be
>> an individual's "social situation," as in Vygotsky's "social
>> situation of development." The researcher would be tasked,
>> according to this line of reasoning, with methodically analyzing
>> where a person "sits" and develops within and with the world of
>> contradictions around them, especially tensions between the social
>> forces of production and the relations of production - and perhaps
>> also the class struggle - even if these aspects of society appear
>> remote or hidden at the level of the individual, using currently
>> available tools of observation and analysis.
>> Finding ways to understand how these very large, cultural-
>> historical processes psychologically impact each individual in very
>> specific ways would be a major problem to solve. Perhaps new or
>> modified tools and methods are needed. Knowing the analytical
>> units, especially the basic unit of analysis or the concrete
>> universal, (if I am using these words correctly), would of course
>> be essential.
>> But first, one would need to look at the veracity of the above
>> broad statement about consciousness before proceeding with this
>> line of thinking.
>> - Steve
>> On Sep 1, 2008, at 10:48 AM, Mike Cole wrote:
>>> Steve -- As in
>>>
>>> In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter
>>> into
>>> definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely
>>> relations of
>>> production appropriate to a given stage in the development of
>>> their material
>>> forces of production. The totality of these relations of production
>>> constitutes the economic structure of society, the real
>>> foundation, on which
>>> arises a legal and political superstructure and to which
>>> correspond definite
>>> forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material
>>> life
>>> conditions the general process of social, political and
>>> intellectual life.
>>> It is not the consciousness of men that determines their
>>> existence, but
>>> their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a
>>> certain
>>> stage of development, the material productive forces of society
>>> come into
>>> conflict with the existing relations of production or – this
>>> merely
>>> expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property
>>> relations within
>>> the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of
>>> development of the productive forces these relations turn into their
>>> fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the
>>> economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of
>>> the whole
>>> immense superstructure.
>>>
>>> e.g. the always dynamic relations between modes and relations of
>>> production
>>> is the core contradiction that is the engine of change.
>>>
>>> On Mon, Sep 1, 2008 at 10:30 AM, Steve Gabosch
>>> <stevegabosch@mac.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>> I think you are onto something very important, Wayne. Perhaps
>>>> social
>>>> relations of production does not capture the dynamic
>>>> contradiction you point
>>>> out - by itself, it is still just an element, albeit an important
>>>> analytical
>>>> unit, like class in relation to class struggle. Vygotsky's unit of
>>>> analysis, word meaning, is about the contradiction between speech
>>>> and
>>>> thought, originally separate processes that converge and
>>>> transform, creating
>>>> something ontogenetically new in each child, word meaning. This
>>>> idea of
>>>> converging lines of development might be helpful to think about
>>>> in this
>>>> discussion. I think something more general than just capitalism
>>>> is needed,
>>>> as I think you were thinking, although I like the one you bring
>>>> up because
>>>> it is a good example of the kind of contradiction you are
>>>> suggesting. A
>>>> more general one might be the contradiction between the forces of
>>>> production
>>>> and the relations of production. How does that contradiction
>>>> manifest
>>>> itself in concrete entities? Now I'm puzzling over that ...
>>>>
>>>> - Steve
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On Sep 1, 2008, at 10:10 AM, Wayne Au wrote:
>>>>
>>>> Steve,
>>>>> Great, thought provoking idea here. It makes me want to go one
>>>>> more step
>>>>> "back" - so to speak. Assuming we're operating within a Marxist,
>>>>> dialectical
>>>>> materialist framework, then perhaps we should consider
>>>>> identifying a
>>>>> particular process, one driven by contradiction, as our unit of
>>>>> analysis.
>>>>> This is another turn on what you said about Marx and Engels
>>>>> talking about
>>>>> "class struggle" as the unit of analysis.
>>>>>
>>>>> So, working from that platform, then we might be able to say
>>>>> that class
>>>>> struggle is an expression of the contradiction between social
>>>>> production
>>>>> and
>>>>> private accumulation that is inherent within the production of
>>>>> capital (in
>>>>> our given system at least). Can we then consider that a
>>>>> contradiction/process constitutes our unit of analysis? That,
>>>>> playing with
>>>>> your words, "Activity could be understood as mutually
>>>>> constitutive" of the
>>>>> process/contradiction that produces "the aggregate social
>>>>> relations in a
>>>>> particular society"?
>>>>>
>>>>> Just a thought.
>>>>>
>>>>> Wayne
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> On 9/1/08 9:43 AM, "Steve Gabosch" <stevegabosch@mac.com> wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>> Andy wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> One could go on, but if one were to ask what object is served by
>>>>>>> work then the answer is "expansion of capital". I caould give
>>>>>>> 1000
>>>>>>> examples of Marx making ths claim. The idea that the object of
>>>>>>> one's
>>>>>>> labour is profit is always problemtatic for people that work
>>>>>>> in the
>>>>>>> public sector, especially in education or health, but if you
>>>>>>> were in
>>>>>>> the USSR where the state is paying the wages, it would seem
>>>>>>> strange
>>>>>>> indeed. The idea that one's work is part of the reproduction
>>>>>>> of the
>>>>>>> community in a division of labour seems far more appealing.
>>>>>>> But that
>>>>>>> turned out to be a passing episode in twentieth century history.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Perhaps you didn't mean this, but it sounds like you are saying
>>>>>> that
>>>>>> all work serves the accumulation or expansion of capital. But
>>>>>> as you
>>>>>> know, there are many kinds of work that don't. Here are three
>>>>>> examples, as I see it:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> 1) House work (cleaning your own house) does not produce
>>>>>> surplus value.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> 2) Cuban workers today don't contribute to the accumulation of
>>>>>> capital, except in some small businesses and enterprises (such
>>>>>> as some
>>>>>> restaurants, farms), where how much gets accumulated is highly
>>>>>> restricted. There is no capitalist class of any significance
>>>>>> in Cuba
>>>>>> today.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> 3) Public sector workers in the US are not producing surplus
>>>>>> value.
>>>>>> The health and education sectors especially are examples of
>>>>>> workers
>>>>>> and other oppressed layers demanding and fighting for social
>>>>>> programs
>>>>>> that enhance their quality of life, forcing the capitalists to
>>>>>> devote
>>>>>> a small percentage of the surplus value they accumulate to such
>>>>>> programs - which have been under attack for some years now by the
>>>>>> capitalists and political forces that support them precisely
>>>>>> because
>>>>>> these programs do not produce surplus value - they consume it.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> When one begins to look at economies, blocks of capital, wages,
>>>>>> government, public service workers, workers states, classes,
>>>>>> and other
>>>>>> such issues, many of the core features of activity theory
>>>>>> appear on a
>>>>>> new level of analysis: historical materialism. There are of
>>>>>> course
>>>>>> other world views, but this is the one Vygotsky used. Vygotsky
>>>>>> said
>>>>>> he was applying historical materialism to psychology, which he
>>>>>> explained would require the discovery of new laws of
>>>>>> development and a
>>>>>> new basic unit of analysis.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Andy and I had some conversation about class and activity offline
>>>>>> recently and I said that "class" is a unit of analysis in
>>>>>> Marxism, as
>>>>>> in "class analysis" and "the history of all hitherto existing
>>>>>> society
>>>>>> is the history of class struggle" (Communist Manifesto).
>>>>>>
>>>>>> But on further thought, that is incorrect. Marx and Engels say
>>>>>> it
>>>>>> right in that quote - they say **class struggle**, not "class".
>>>>>> Thinking about this, a common error in sociology is to use
>>>>>> class as
>>>>>> the unit of analysis. Classes are only elements of class
>>>>>> struggles.
>>>>>> Class is an analytical unit, but not a basic unit of analysis.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Relating this to CHAT, as I see it, classes are to class
>>>>>> struggles as
>>>>>> actions are to activity. Class struggle is a unit of analysis in
>>>>>> historical materialism in the way that activity is seen as a
>>>>>> unit of
>>>>>> analysis in cultural historical psychology.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> But is activity really the **basic** unit of human existence? As
>>>>>> David was saying, there is a difference between units of
>>>>>> analysis and
>>>>>> analytical units. Is activity an analytical unit, but not the
>>>>>> basic
>>>>>> unit of analysis? This would not overturn any work CHAT has
>>>>>> done,
>>>>>> just shift its attention to a different basic unit of analysis,
>>>>>> and
>>>>>> "demote" activity to an analytical unit, albeit a very useful and
>>>>>> powerful one.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Mohammed Elhammoumi argues in a paper he will present at ISCAR
>>>>>> that
>>>>>> the unit of analysis is the social relations of production. If
>>>>>> that
>>>>>> is the case - I find this idea thought provoking - then
>>>>>> activity would
>>>>>> be an element in that larger entity - activities are carved out
>>>>>> of the
>>>>>> existing social relations and artifacts (artifacts include nature
>>>>>> insofar as humans directly interact with it). Activity could be
>>>>>> understood as mutually constitutive with the aggregate social
>>>>>> relations in a particular society, in the way that Michael
>>>>>> describes
>>>>>> actions and activity as mutually constitutive. Interesting to
>>>>>> think
>>>>>> about.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Steve
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> On Aug 31, 2008, at 7:57 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Thanks for all that Michael. I actually hardly slept last night
>>>>>>> going over in my mind the points you made. I think I can see
>>>>>>> my way
>>>>>>> through this now, and that "(a system of) activity" or "an
>>>>>>> activity"
>>>>>>> is indeed a very good candidate for a "unit of analysis". You
>>>>>>> will
>>>>>>> doubtless get something from me on your editor's desk in a
>>>>>>> couple of
>>>>>>> months on the topic. But altogether I feel much better about ANL
>>>>>>> now. Thank you.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> But the questions about word meanings here are still
>>>>>>> outstanding:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> (1) "activity" - as used in Hegel and Marx and Leontyev when
>>>>>>> he says:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> "[The processes that mediate the influences of the objective
>>>>>>> world
>>>>>>> reflected in the human brain] are those that realise a person's
>>>>>>> actual life in the objective world by which he is surrounded,
>>>>>>> his
>>>>>>> social being in all the richness and variety of its forms. In
>>>>>>> other
>>>>>>> words, these processes are his activity."
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> - is not a unit of analysis, but a presupposition, whilst "an
>>>>>>> activity" or "system of activity", you have convinced me, is a
>>>>>>> good
>>>>>>> "unit of analysis" for the study of the social life of human
>>>>>>> beings.
>>>>>>> As when Marx says:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> "The premises from which we begin are not arbitrary ones, not
>>>>>>> dogmas, but real premises from which abstraction can only be
>>>>>>> made in
>>>>>>> the imagination. They are the real individuals, their activity
>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>> the material conditions under which they live, both those
>>>>>>> which they
>>>>>>> find already existing and those produced by their
>>>>>>> activity." (The
>>>>>>> German Ideology, 1a, 1845)
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> My concern is that we use the same word and I suspect the
>>>>>>> observation that we have here two qute distinct concepts is not
>>>>>>> something which is widely recognised.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> (2) "activity" and "work" - I am going to spend some time
>>>>>>> revising
>>>>>>> how ANL takes labour as the prototype of an activity and the
>>>>>>> bases
>>>>>>> on which "an activity" and "a type of activity" are delineated
>>>>>>> or
>>>>>>> developed. This is my major concern.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> But look. Marx, Capital Vol 1:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> "As a capitalist, he is only capital personified. His soul is
>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>> soul of capital. But capital has one sole driving force, the
>>>>>>> drive
>>>>>>> to valorize itself, to create surplus value, to make its
>>>>>>> constant
>>>>>>> part, the means of production, absorb the greatest possible
>>>>>>> amount
>>>>>>> of surplus labour. Capital is dead labour which, vampire-like,
>>>>>>> lives
>>>>>>> only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more
>>>>>>> labour
>>>>>>> it sucks." - Capital, p.342
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> One could go on, but if one were to ask what object is served by
>>>>>>> work then the answer is "expansion of capital". I caould give
>>>>>>> 1000
>>>>>>> examples of Marx making ths claim. The idea that the object of
>>>>>>> one's
>>>>>>> labour is profit is always problemtatic for people that work
>>>>>>> in the
>>>>>>> public sector, especially in education or health, but if you
>>>>>>> were in
>>>>>>> the USSR where the state is paying the wages, it would seem
>>>>>>> strange
>>>>>>> indeed. The idea that one's work is part of the reproduction
>>>>>>> of the
>>>>>>> community in a division of labour seems far more appealing.
>>>>>>> But that
>>>>>>> turned out to be a passing episode in twentieth century history.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I.e., the most important "activity" today is "capital." That
>>>>>>> seems
>>>>>>> to have been lost somewhere, at least to some extent.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Hi Andy,
>>>>>>>> I am not trying to give you advice. I am talking about my own
>>>>>>>> experiences of having struggled.
>>>>>>>> One of the things Marx criticized his contemporaries for is
>>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>>> they looked at value abstractly. He wrote Das Kapital as a
>>>>>>>> concrete
>>>>>>>> analysis of value, its one-sided expressions in use-value and
>>>>>>>> exchange-value, and how these concretized themselves in
>>>>>>>> possible
>>>>>>>> cases. Any time I want to think about activity abstractly, I
>>>>>>>> get
>>>>>>>> into trouble, which resolve themselves when I take concrete
>>>>>>>> cases
>>>>>>>> of activity and work them through, culturally and
>>>>>>>> historically. I
>>>>>>>> then realize that activity concretizes itself very
>>>>>>>> differently, the
>>>>>>>> activity of schooling is very different in U.S. suburbia then
>>>>>>>> it is
>>>>>>>> in inner-city neighborhood schools in Philadelphia. Not when
>>>>>>>> I do
>>>>>>>> an abstract analysis, but when I go concretely into the nitty-
>>>>>>>> gritty details of everyday life in the schools.
>>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>>> Michael
>>>>>>>> On 31-Aug-08, at 8:07 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>>>>>>> Oh Gosh, Micahel I thought we were going to have a good ol'
>>>>>>>> flame! :) and I was just getting started.
>>>>>>>> OK. As I said, I will study those quotes, and their contexts,
>>>>>>>> where
>>>>>>>> I can, and think some more about it, but I really don't think I
>>>>>>>> want to shift to "concrete cases" to clarify a concept if the
>>>>>>>> concept isn't clear at the start. That's just not my style,
>>>>>>>> if you
>>>>>>>> know what I mean. I am not anywhere saying that the work
>>>>>>>> Leontyev
>>>>>>>> and others have done with these ideas is not perfectly good,
>>>>>>>> valid
>>>>>>>> science. But there *are* problems, there *are* limts to the
>>>>>>>> applicability of these ideas, and I am exploring them.
>>>>>>>> More later, and thanks heaps for laying hold of those quote and
>>>>>>>> your explanations so speedily!
>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Hi Andy, After I sent off the mail I thought you might
>>>>>>>>> misunderstand. I do understand and know your background. I
>>>>>>>>> meant
>>>>>>>>> to say rather than discussing activity in the general, take a
>>>>>>>>> concrete one and talk about it. I meant discuss concrete
>>>>>>>>> cases. I
>>>>>>>>> think if you were to have taken a concrete case of activity
>>>>>>>>> from
>>>>>>>>> your experience and discussed activity in this situation
>>>>>>>>> some of
>>>>>>>>> the problems that appear when you discuss it in the abstract
>>>>>>>>> would
>>>>>>>>> not show up.
>>>>>>>>> Sorry for having written a message that could have been and
>>>>>>>>> was
>>>>>>>>> mistaken in its intention.
>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>>>> Michael
>>>>>>>>> On 31-Aug-08, at 7:41 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>>>>>>>> C'mon Michael. I spent 30 years as a union activist
>>>>>>>>> transforming
>>>>>>>>> activity and thinking about what I was doing. At 62 I am now
>>>>>>>>> reflecting on that work. I don't need to be told to "go out"
>>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>> put someone under my microscope and observe them.
>>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>> Hi Andy, it is and is not a system of actions. Actions and
>>>>>>>>>> activity stand in a constitutive relationship. There are no
>>>>>>>>>> actions independent of activity and no activity independent
>>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>>> action. One of the problems that can arise is because---as we
>>>>>>>>>> have done today----we talk about activity in the abstract,
>>>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>>>> this is what Marx didn't like about Hegel, we talk about
>>>>>>>>>> ideal
>>>>>>>>>> things, not about concrete sensual activity, which you only
>>>>>>>>>> get
>>>>>>>>>> when you analyze real activity rather than the idea of
>>>>>>>>>> activity.
>>>>>>>>>> I see you struggle with the idea, when what you should be
>>>>>>>>>> doing
>>>>>>>>>> is go out and study concrete activity. What you need to do is
>>>>>>>>>> study concrete everyday activity, that is, actual cases
>>>>>>>>>> where an
>>>>>>>>>> activity realizes itself. And here you will find that
>>>>>>>>>> people act
>>>>>>>>>> but in the process concretize the activity in THIS rather
>>>>>>>>>> than
>>>>>>>>>> other possible ways. Their actions are not JUST actions,
>>>>>>>>>> they are
>>>>>>>>>> oriented toward the activity, which only comes about in and
>>>>>>>>>> through the actions; yet the actions presuppose the
>>>>>>>>>> activity that
>>>>>>>>>> they realize.
>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>>>>> Michael
>>>>>>>>>> On 31-Aug-08, at 7:25 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>>>>>>>>> Apologies. I sent two mails just to Michael instead of the
>>>>>>>>>> list
>>>>>>>>>> by mistake!
>>>>>>>>>> I will think about this some more. "Activity" here means a
>>>>>>>>>> system
>>>>>>>>>> of actions which have a common societally-determined
>>>>>>>>>> object, like
>>>>>>>>>> the collective hunt in his famous example. But it seems to me
>>>>>>>>>> that the idea of "activity" (in this sense) as a "unit of
>>>>>>>>>> analysis" poses some problems.
>>>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>> Hi Andy, you can always identify structure, the question is
>>>>>>>>>>> whether you can understand it own its own or only in its
>>>>>>>>>>> relation to other structures. I think it is the latter. So
>>>>>>>>>>> even
>>>>>>>>>>> within the unit you can identify all sorts of things, but
>>>>>>>>>>> they
>>>>>>>>>>> are not independent and constitute each other. That is why
>>>>>>>>>>> Yrjö's website is a bit deceiving, because he talks about
>>>>>>>>>>> elements----I think the word appears 6 times----when
>>>>>>>>>>> Vygotsky
>>>>>>>>>>> and Leont'ev always talk about doing unit analysis. So
>>>>>>>>>>> there is
>>>>>>>>>>> structure, just that it cannot be understood independently
>>>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>>>> other structures, each of which is a one-sided expression
>>>>>>>>>>> of the
>>>>>>>>>>> unit, which is activity. Or so I read it.
>>>>>>>>>>> Michael
>>>>>>>>>>> On 31-Aug-08, at 6:55 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>> Well spotted, Michael.
>>>>>>>>>>> In that same paragraph he says: "activity is ... a system
>>>>>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>>>>>> has structure" so he is here referring to what might be
>>>>>>>>>>> called
>>>>>>>>>>> the "*system of* activity", as opposed to acts or
>>>>>>>>>>> operations,
>>>>>>>>>>> and actions - this entity that Robert explained to me is
>>>>>>>>>>> constituted as an entity by means of system-theoretic means.
>>>>>>>>>>> Is that right?
>>>>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>> Hi Andy,
>>>>>>>>>>>> I think he does say something that is at least very close
>>>>>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>>>>>> naming it unit analysis on p.50:
>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>> Activity is a molar, not an additive unit of the life of the
>>>>>>>>>>> physical, material subject. In a narrower sense, that is,
>>>>>>>>>>> at the
>>>>>>>>>>> psychological level, it is a unit of
>>>>>>>>>>> life, mediated by psychic reflection, the real function of
>>>>>>>>>>> which
>>>>>>>>>>> is that it orients the subject in the objective world. In
>>>>>>>>>>> other
>>>>>>>>>>> words, activity is
>>>>>>>>>>> not a reaction and not a totality of reactions but a
>>>>>>>>>>> system that
>>>>>>>>>>> has structure, its own internal transitions and
>>>>>>>>>>> transformations, its own development.
>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>> Where I would accentuate as follows:
>>>>>>>>>>>> Activity is "a *unit of life*", "a system that has
>>>>>>>>>>>> structure,
>>>>>>>>>>>> *its own* internal transitions and transformations, *its
>>>>>>>>>>>> own
>>>>>>>>>>>> *development."
>>>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>>>>>>> Michael
>>>>>>>>>>>> On 31-Aug-08, at 6:27 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>> OK, thanks for that Michael. I understand Tätigkeit, so
>>>>>>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>>>>>>> settles some questions, though not all.
>>>>>>>>>>>> I have another question about Activity to add to these.
>>>>>>>>>>>> Vygotsky, Davydov, Engstrom (to take just three) all talk
>>>>>>>>>>>> about
>>>>>>>>>>>> "unit of analysis", "germ-cell" or single instance (as in
>>>>>>>>>>>> Pavolv's study of the reflex), but in the works of AN
>>>>>>>>>>>> Leontyev
>>>>>>>>>>>> that I have access to (on marxists.org) he makes no
>>>>>>>>>>>> reference
>>>>>>>>>>>> to any of these terms. This seems not accidental to me
>>>>>>>>>>>> actually. Can anyone clarify this?
>>>>>>>>>>>> Did Leonteyv (a) think that "activity" passes as a "unit of
>>>>>>>>>>>> analaysis", (b) disagree with the idea that a science
>>>>>>>>>>>> should
>>>>>>>>>>>> begin from a Unit of analysis, or (c) define subject-
>>>>>>>>>>>> activity-
>>>>>>>>>>>> object as the "unit of analysis somewhere?
>>>>>>>>>>>> And I need citation, I'm afraid.
>>>>>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>>>>> Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Hi Andy,
>>>>>>>>>>>>> it's not just the Russian. In German there is the parallel
>>>>>>>>>>>>> distinction between "Tätigkeit" (deiatel'nost') and
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Aktivität
>>>>>>>>>>>>> (aktivnost'). In the former there is an orientation----
>>>>>>>>>>>>> toward
>>>>>>>>>>>>> object/motive, which is not in the latter, and the
>>>>>>>>>>>>> former is
>>>>>>>>>>>>> oriented toward and a result of society (Gesellschaft),
>>>>>>>>>>>>> whereas the latter is not (necessarily). When Leont'ev is
>>>>>>>>>>>>> translated into German, you find the words Tätigkeit and
>>>>>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>>>>> adjective "gesellschaftlich" (societal) whereas in English
>>>>>>>>>>>>> there is activity and social----and that has made all the
>>>>>>>>>>>>> difference, to quote Robert Frost.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Michael
>>>>>>>>>>>>> On 31-Aug-08, at 4:18 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>> I wonder if our Russian speakers could indulge me again
>>>>>>>>>>>>> with a
>>>>>>>>>>>>> point of clarification. déjatel'nost' (or
>>>>>>>>>>>>> деятельность) is the Russian word for
>>>>>>>>>>>>> "activity".
>>>>>>>>>>>>> 1. I understand that in Russian the use of definite and
>>>>>>>>>>>>> indefeinite partcles (a and the) is rare, so in the
>>>>>>>>>>>>> title to
>>>>>>>>>>>>> AN Leontyev's famous book, does déjatel'nost' mean "an
>>>>>>>>>>>>> activity" or "activity" - with the connotation of
>>>>>>>>>>>>> substance
>>>>>>>>>>>>> that a word has in English if used without a or the.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> When we
>>>>>>>>>>>>> have "act, action and activity," is that third category
>>>>>>>>>>>>> the
>>>>>>>>>>>>> same word, déjatel'nost'?
>>>>>>>>>>>>> 2. déjatel'nost' can also be translated as "work". How
>>>>>>>>>>>>> strong
>>>>>>>>>>>>> is the connection between "work" and "activity" in the
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Russian
>>>>>>>>>>>>> mind when talking of "activity theory"? Does that sound
>>>>>>>>>>>>> like
>>>>>>>>>>>>> "work theory"? Or is this just like any ambiguous word. I
>>>>>>>>>>>>> mean, English speakers would not think that in this
>>>>>>>>>>>>> context
>>>>>>>>>>>>> "activity" referred to autonomous physiological processes,
>>>>>>>>>>>>> which can also be called "Activity". When "Theses on
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Feuerbach" is translated into Russian, can Russian
>>>>>>>>>>>>> readers see
>>>>>>>>>>>>> the diffrence between "work" and "activity"?
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Andy Blunden wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Fascinating response, Robert. So let's see if I
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> understand
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> you right. A mass of interconnected actions can be
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> understood
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> as some *whole* (and not just an arbitrary collection of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> individual things) if we can perceive some kind of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> *constraint*, operating over the domain, which limits the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> domain of possible configurations? Is that it?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Robert Bracewell wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Hi Andy and all,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I agree with Michael that the relationship between
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> activity
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> and action is a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> constitutive one, but I think this points to a big
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> theoretical gap in CHAT
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> generally. If actions are the constituents of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> activity, then
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the issue
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> arises as to how the constituents are arranged in
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> order to
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> constitute
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> activity (and there may be other types of constituents
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> in
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> activity also). As
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Leont¹ev said, this arrangement cannot be serial (e.g.,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> chains of s-r
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> pairs), nor additive in the sense of accumulative (as
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> contrasted with the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> mathematical sense). So how are we to theorize the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> arrangement? The issue of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> arranging constituents to achieve higher order
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> structures
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> has been treated
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> by both linguistics and artificial intelligence. The
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> general
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> approach is to
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> constrain the possible relationships between
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> constituents--
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> in linguistics
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> this usually done via a grammar, in AI via a program.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> For
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> CHAT I think our
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> task may be to build on Leont¹ev and figure out these
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> constraints.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Regards,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> --Bob Bracewell
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On 8/29/08 1:24 PM, "Wolff-Michael Roth" <mroth@uvic.ca
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> <mailto:mroth@uvic.ca
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Hi Andy,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I think he expresses the constitutive relation between
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> actions and
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> activity. Activity is not just the sum of actions, it
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> presupposes
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> them but is itself presupposed by the actions that
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> constitute it. I
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> am pasting the definition from OED, which appears to be
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> consistent
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> with this (my) reading of Leont'ev. Leont'ev and
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Vygotsky
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> want to do
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> unit analysis, not element/al analysis. That is, even
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> if
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> you can
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> identify structures within activity, these cannot
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> stand on
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> their own
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> like elements. What they are is dependent on all the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> other
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> structures
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> that can be identified, with which they stand in a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> constitutive unit,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> and which are subordinate to activity. :-)
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> molar, adj.3
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 2. Psychol. Designating a large-scale unit of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> behaviour,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> esp. an
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> integrated set of responses serving to bring about a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> common
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> goal, as
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> distinguished from an elementary unit of behaviour
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> such as a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> physiological response (cf. MOLECULAR adj. 5); of or
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> relating to (the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> study of) such behaviour.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Michael
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> On 29-Aug-08, at 7:11 AM, Michael Glassman wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Andy,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> This is just my perspective, but I still believe
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Activity
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Theory goes
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> back to roots in work done by Stanislavsky - in
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> particular
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "On Being
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> an Actor" and his book on character development. I
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> think the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> argument that Stanislavsky makes is that you should
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> never
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> consider
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> each scene individually, as encapsulated and whole, I
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> guess
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> you could
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> say there should be no reification of a scene. You
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> have to
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> consider
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> a scene, and the actions of a character, not only in
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> terms
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> of the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> entire play, but in terms of what has come before and
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> what
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> comes
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> after - that activity is part of an ongoing process.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Stanislavsky
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> was working off the new form of playwrights such as
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Ibsen,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Strindberg
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> and especially Chekhov of course. To give an
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> example, when
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Nora
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> walks out on Torvald and her father at the end of "A
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Doll's
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> House"
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the scene makes little sense in an of itself, and if
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> you
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> think of the
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> scenes of the play as simply being additive you are
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> shocked. But if
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> you consider it as part of a moral activity, with a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> building
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> motivation that leads to a choice of action it is
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> extraordinarily
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> complelling.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Anyway, that's my two cents.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Michael
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ________________________________
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> <mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> on behalf of Andy Blunden
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Sent: Fri 8/29/2008 9:53 AM
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Subject: [xmca] Molar, Molecular and Additive behaviour
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Can anyone help me out here. Leontyev says:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> "But human practice is not just a series or a sum of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> actions. In other words, 'activity is a molar, not an
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> additive unit'."
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> OED says:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Molar, Psychol. Designating a large-scale unit of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> behaviour,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> esp. an integrated set of responses serving to bring
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> about a
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> common goal, as distinguished from an elementary unit
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> behaviour such as a physiological response (cf.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> MOLECULAR
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> adj. 5); of or relating to (the study of) such
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> behaviour.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 1932 E. C. TOLMAN Purposive Behavior "On the one hand,
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Watson has defined behavior in terms of its strict
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> physical
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> and physiological details, i.e., in terms of
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> receptor-process, conductor-process, and effector-
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> process
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> per se. We shall designate this as the molecular
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> definition
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> of behavior. And on the other hand, he has come to
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> recognize
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> that behavior is more than and different from the sum
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> of its
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> physiological parts. Behavior has descriptive and
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> defining
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> properties of its own. And we shall designate this
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> latter as
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> the molar definition of behavior."
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Am I missing something. By "not additive" does Leontyev
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> simply mean that there's more to it than S -> R ?
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Andy
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> David Preiss wrote:
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> based on the work made by max plank and run by san
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> francisco's
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> exploratorium
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://www.exploratorium.edu/evidence/
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> David Preiss, Ph.D.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Subdirector de Extensión y Comunicaciones
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Escuela de Psicología
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Av Vicuña Mackenna - 4860
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 7820436 Macul
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Santiago, Chile
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Fono: 3544605
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Fax: 3544844
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> e-mail: davidpreiss@uc.cl <mailto:davidpreiss@uc.cl>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> web personal: http://web.mac.com/ddpreiss/
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> web institucional: http://www.epuc.cl/profesores/dpreiss
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> --------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ---- Andy
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Skype andy.blunden
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> <
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> winmail
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> .dat>_______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>>>>>>> Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435
>>>>>>>>>>>> Skype
>>>>>>>>>>>> andy.blunden
>>>>>>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>>>>>>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>>> Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435 Skype
>>>>>>> andy.blunden
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> --
>>>>> Wayne Au
>>>>> Assistant Professor
>>>>> Department of Secondary Education
>>>>> CSU Fullerton
>>>>> P.O. Box 6868
>>>>> Fullerton, CA 92834
>>>>> Office: 714.278.5481
>>>>> Editorial Board Member: Rethinking Schools (www.rethinkingschools.org
>>>>> )
>>>>> http://ed.fullerton.edu/SecEd/Faculty/Full_Time_Faculty/Au.html
>>>>>
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> xmca mailing list
>>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>>>>
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> xmca mailing list
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>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435 Skype
> andy.blunden
>
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
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