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Re: [xmca] Ethnomethodology and Hedegaard's Article
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- Subject: Re: [xmca] Ethnomethodology and Hedegaard's Article
- From: Mike Cole <email@example.com>
- Date: Sun, 15 Mar 2009 17:25:29 -0700
- Cc: Mariane Hedegaard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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David et al-- We have, as usual, and probably as necessary, at least two
lines of discussion interweaving here. I want to pick up on Marianne's
article which I have just re-read.
>From the prior discussions of the article and my earlier memory of it, what
most struck me is the way Marianne comes down on the social situation of
development (SSD hereafter). This is an issue that David and I have
discussed at length along with neoformation and crisis.
I take Marianne to be seeking, in part, to build upon Seth's paper using the
later published/translated work of LSV to
re-visit general theories of child development. The "contextualist"
perspective in Cole and Cole which combines a kind of "privileged
domain/cultural context/practice perspective is lumped with other failed
ways to look at child development, and it was written pre reading of the
crisis/SSD/neoformation work, so it fails the test of a reasonable approach.
I am perfectly happy to get past use of the very ambiguous term, context,
which has now been heavily criticised by myself and many others (to my mind,
notably by McDermott in the Chaiklin and Lave edited book from 1993).
Container metaphors are bad medicine.
But Marianne appears, in her move, which I fully appreciate, to get into
institutions, activities/practices, and agency of the child (often ommitted
when people use contrain metaphors, making them sort of containerized
dopes), takes SSDs to be local. The situation of the child
at school is not the situation at home. And the conflicts that arise between
these situations, which in antiguity was known as the "cultural mismatch"
approach in developmental/educational psychology), is important, generating,
apparently, Jen's comments and behaviors.
LSV, so far as I can tell, was NOT talking about SSD's in this
activity/practice contingent way. Rather, and this was reinforced by Elkonin
later, he was talking about age-specific, experience-general, conditions
that resultin development as "changes in the whole personality."
(recall the Leontiev example of how, once he starts school, a little boy's
SSD at home changes with his new status as a school goes, and by
implication, so do all the situations the child finds itself in).
Rascism, on the other hand, appears to be a pretty general condition of
Helima's (the Turkish girl's) SSD
over a long period of time. I believe that living in conditions of affluence
or poverty also have this general quality.
One thing that left me hanging in Marianne's article was the absence of any
evidence of development in the empirical examples. Jens? Helima?
yes. Neoformations...... not clear to me.
As usual, I am left with more questions than answers. David wrote, in part:
The distinction between the pseudoconcept and the concept seems clear,
critical, and qualitative to me: even though they are functionally
identical, one is a concept for others and the other a concept for myself,
so the distinction is really just like the distinction between a random
gesture interpreted by Mommy as a pointing movement and a deliberate
pointing movement on the part of the child. Perhaps the "limiting" of the
pseudoconcept comes from outside the child? So the "baby whale" is the
beginning of a pseudoconcept?
I find very interesting the idea that pseudoconcepts is for myself and real
concepts are for others. In what sense does this make them "functionally
equivalent"? Functional for who/what? Is what you mean, David, that they are
functionally equivalent in that they allow the conversation to go on as if
each person thought they understood what the was saying? And what does
"limiting" of the pseudoconcept mean? Does it meant that because the word or
gesture functions "as-if" equivalent for self and other, the (more
powerful/knowledgeable other) "tricks"
(unknowingly) the younger, less developed partner into thinking he
understands when he does not?
I also was discomforted by the amount of interpretation that goes into the
Jens example. So far as I can tell, we not only do not have information in
the interaction for Marianne's interpretation of why Jens is doing/saying
what he is, we do not have direct evidence from anywhere. All we have is
Sure am glad I have gotten out of the textbook business with only my name,
like the smile on the Chesire cat's face, left behind. Books are passe
anyway. I prefer this
discussion, heterogenous and incomplete as it is. At least we are saved the
need to answer each others' "easy, medium, and difficult" multiple choice
questions to be allosw to continued participating.
On Sun, Mar 15, 2009 at 4:31 PM, David Kellogg <email@example.com>wrote:
> Martin and others:
> I have only read the basics in ethnomethodology (Garfinkel, Sacks) but I
> know conversation analysis a bit better, because it's been used, notably by
> Seedhouse, to try to get some of the social situation of development back
> into the analysis of classroom discourse.
> David Kirshner and I recently wrote a piece on Vygotsky, complexity and
> "dyadic interaction" in which ethnomethodological conversation analysis was
> one of the ways we can avoid a downwardly reductionist view of interaction,
> the sort of thing on offer from chaos-complexity theory these days, and an
> upwardly reductionist one, the sort of thing on offer from critical
> discourse analysis.
> But re-reading what we wrote in the light of Mariane Hedegaard's article,
> I'm a little unconvinced by the "middle way" that Kirshner and Kellogg put
> forward. First of all, as Ed Wall points out, it DOES involve coding, of a
> rather formalistic kind ("adjacency pairs" and "first pair part" and "second
> pair part" and so on). Secondly, as we all know, conversation analysis
> eschews any interpretative mechanisms that are not actually visible in the
> transcripts, arguing that the interactants are not "dopes" but participants,
> and what they do is not submit to but rather but rather negotiate the terms
> of the interaction.
> The problem is that in a very important sense Jens really is a dope. Two
> problems come up in the data that suggest this. The first is when he argues
> that the pedagogue should be worried because his father will not like her
> behavior. The second is when he suggests that a baby whale doesn't look like
> a baby. In neither case does his version of events form a significant part
> of a negotiated solution.
> Suppose that what we have here is the kind of complexive thinking that
> Vygotsky describes in Chapter Five. Jens has a purely concrete,
> graphic-visual understanding of adult behavior; anything that doesn't go
> with what Daddy does is somehow non-adult. Ditto his understanding of the
> word "baby"; if it doesn't look like baby or squawk like a baby, it's not a
> Of course, as Vygotsky says, this kind of complexive thinking will
> EVENTUALLY become functionally equivalent to thinking in concepts. But LSV
> is a little unclear on exactly how this happens. First of all, his sequence
> of complexes (associative, collection-complex, chain, diffuse,
> pseudoconcept) is not obviously sequential; it's not too clear how each one
> arises on the basis of the last one, as he himself admits on p. 229 (of the
> Minick version, Vol. One in the Collected Works).
> Secondly, on p. 156, he suddenly introduces a SECOND root of thinking in
> concepts, namely the "potential concepts" that Paula raised at the beginning
> of our "Strange Situation" discussion. He says this constitutes a "third
> stage" in the child's thinking, although that means that there will be FOUR
> stages and on p. 134 he gave three as the number.
> But in the next section, 17, on pp. 157-158 it's not a third stage, or even
> a stage of child thinking at all, but something we share with animals, even
> chickens. Although he uses phrases like "completely justified" and "fully
> justified", by the end of this section (p. 165) he is excoriating poor
> Buhler for ignoring the role of the word in concept formation (165).
> Are there three stages, or four? Are potential concepts shared with animals
> or not? Paula, Steve, and I have been scratching our heads over this for
> some months now.
> Perhaps these "potential concepts" and Vygotsky's whole "third stage" are
> simply a McGuffin...a character with a walk-on role, or one of those scenes
> in an Alfred Hitchcock movie where a phone rings in a deserted room for no
> particular reason. That happens quite a bit in discourse. Now, adults are
> capable of sorting this stuff out and negotiating what is signal and what is
> noise. But Jens?
> There's a lot to figure out in Chapter Five--ideas that are not revisited
> in any way in Chapter Six, except in the criticism at the end. For example,
> the distinction between the diffuse complex and the pseudoconcept is that
> one is bounded and limited--but by what? If it is bounded by the selection
> of a particular abstract trait, isn't that trait a concept?
> The distinction between the pseudoconcept and the concept seems clear,
> critical, and qualitative to me: even though they are functionally
> identical, one is a concept for others and the other a concept for myself,
> so the distinction is really just like the distinction between a random
> gesture interpreted by Mommy as a pointing movement and a deliberate
> pointing movement on the part of the child. Perhaps the "limiting" of the
> pseudoconcept comes from outside the child? So the "baby whale" is the
> beginning of a pseudoconcept?
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> xmca mailing list
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