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Re: [xmca] Friesen Article

I have been copying Norm Friesen on the messages coming on this list. Cheers, michael

On 10-May-09, at 6:27 PM, Mike Cole wrote:


Thanks for getting us directly connected with this article.
I have a question, the answer to which is presupposed in your term,
technology. One of the aspects of the study of communication as I experience from a department so named is that technology is a term that applies almost exclusively to electronically powered digital devices.... by my *colleagues*,
who also treat "media" as a singular noun and a "cause" in the positive
sense of "the media are responsible for the degeneration of our moral

Put aside my parochial question about media and focus on technology. What is
a technology? I trace my own, vague understandings to the idea
of technea in ancient Greece where teoria referred to the audience at a
dramatic performance. I am guessing you have thought about this a lot.
Can you help me out here? I think it is relevant to the article because of
the everyday interpretation of "educational technology" .

I hope that someone knows how to reach Norm Friesen so that he can join the discussion. I think that discursive psychology is an important intellectual enterprise and would like to understand its relationship to the issues we
are used to discussing.

On Sun, May 10, 2009 at 4:37 PM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>wrote:

Yes, xmca is a bit of a three ring circus: when there isn't a tiger loose on the other thread, then he's either backstage--or prowling the audience. I've got some non-rhetorical and non-display questions about the Friesen

a) My first question has to do with "interdisciplinarity", a recent thread
that snapped befoer it could get as far as "Discursive Psychology and
Educational Technology". In applied linguistics we used to think we were inter-trans-disciplinary: we thought we were language teaching plus any
discipline you need to make language teaching more fun, effective,
affordable, useful. Then we discovered that we were really just a
TECHNOLOGY. It's not the same thing. For one thing, being a technology is more fun, effective, affordable, and useful. For another, it's not nearly as prestigious, which means good riddance to an enormous amount of careerist baggage. Isn't "cognitive science" (and even CHAT) just in the process of
discovering the same thing?

b) My second question concerns p. 133, where Friesen has this to say:
"Discursive psychology does not understand (?) discourse or conversation in terms of communication in its conventional technologized (??) meaning as the transmission of information; instead, it understands discourse above all (as?) a kind of activity--a type of action or work through which the social field of interaction itself is constituted". I can think of a lot of ways in which you could transmit information without "action" or "work" or even a social field of interaction (involuntary signals). I can't think of a single way in which you could constitute a social field of interaction without transmitting information. So am I to conclude that discursive psychology is
a narrower notion than the convental technologized one?

c) My third question has to do with a sentence later in teh same paragraph that goes like this: (...Mind, computer, and other terms and categories woudl emerge from this type of analysis not so much as causes or tools to
produce certain results but as rhetorical and interactional resources
for discursive, social action." To me this suggests that they are not tools
but only potential tools. Given that I am a proud technologist with no
pretensions to interdisciplinarity, why is that a step forward? It looks
like a giant leap backwards from where I am standing.

d) Finally, I wonder about the whole exercise of analyzing a tidbit of
interaction between a human and a chatbot for evidence that the human is responding to the chatbot as we humans are supposed to, that is, as a more
or less successful performance of a perverse kind of role play. The
particular role play that chatbots are supposed to enact is NOT, however, a machine pretending to be human, but rather a human pretending to treat a machine as a human. Isn't the missing precondition for real (as opposed to potential) social action the ASSUMPTION that the other person has a genuine
intention to interact?

David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

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