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[xmca] Emotions and methodology

As part of my email became public, I decided to write to xmca. Apologies for this impromptu...


First of all, I would like to say that I appreciate very much the references, Martin and Michael. Also, thank you very much, Mike for your symphathy... I am familiar with Michael Roth's contributions to the field. Also, as I was pushed to the public space, I confess that I was lurking when his article was discuss some time ago (I think that I even posted something, I have been part of xmca for 12 years, mostly lurking and from time to time posting). If I do not participate consistently in xmca is because appart of my PhD I do not have an institutional/financial estability since I migrated to London, so I have too much work. Still, I read the posts when I can.


As difficult as it might seem, in my personal note to Andy I mentioned that I am optimistic and think I can cope with this issue. He diverted his response to the topic of emotions (I cannot blame him cause I did the same, I mean talked about emotions), but I did not ask about that. I was just complaining :(... :)!  


I finished the whole draft of my thesis already, so I will not use Michael Roth's techniques, that I discuss in my methodology chapter. In spite of the fact that I hope to be close to submission, a strong questioning from one of my supervisors just came about, in terms of the issue mentioned, that is that I am not actually studying emotions, but their expression. This brought me back to discuss with my first supervisor initial points about emotions. I was in the field of ICT, and during the phase of analysis of the videos, I realised that something was going on in my data that could be related to emotions.


In my personal note to Andy I mentioned how I study emotions:
The metaphor that I use about emotions is: I study emotions as a thread in a tissue. When I say this I imagine this very Mexican colourful textiles. I study one of the threads or maybe some of them, that are part of the tissue. I follow the thread (studying its micro-history). I can then see how the thread goes up or down, or to the right (in relation to my perspective :) or to the left, and how sometimes it curves itsef around another thread producing a knot. This can only be understood by studying the process. With the analysis of my videos, I find evidences that emotions are not only linked to ‘motives’, they are, in turns, the goal of action, the driver, the ‘nature’ of lived experience, the intention, the motivation, an apparently unintentional 'eruption', as well as the communicative resource contributing to the construction of alliances or negotiating power relationships, and so on. 


I think that Vygotsky explained all these things much better than my 'tissue', but he really did not study emotions as such. He broadly discussed what had been studied, and in parallel to his discussions of the crisis in psychology, he grouped the perspectives in two main approaches.  


My question to Andy was if he could please give me some references about the difference-relation between ontological and methodological dualism? I was aimed to get some contemporary references to this discussion. I already had read Vygotsky. Does anyone has a suggestion, please?


Thank you,



> Date: Sat, 14 Nov 2009 08:56:07 -0800
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Hello Other Brain, how are you?
> From: lchcmike@gmail.com
> To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> There was a discussion of this topic around your MCA article a while back,
> Michael. Mabel might be able to use some of the specific techniques, which,
> I recall, were not too demading in terms of technology, to find a bridge to
> what her advisors expect.
> Martin's sources are right on. But Mabel is going to have to negotiate the
> rocky
> shoals of her own institutional situation, and invoking XMCA is not likely
> to win her a lot of friends!!
> mike
> On Sat, Nov 14, 2009 at 8:16 AM, Wolff-Michael Roth <mroth@uvic.ca> wrote:
> > In the following piece, we show how emotion (as evidenced in prosody) is a
> > resource for the coordination of social action. Michael
> >
> > Cult Stud of Sci Educ
> > DOI 10.1007/s11422-009-9203-8
> > Solidarity and conflict: aligned and misaligned prosody
> > as a transactional resource in intra- and intercultural
> > communication involving power differences
> > Wolff-Michael Roth Æ Kenneth Tobin
> >
> > here
> >
> > On 2009-11-14, at 6:55 AM, Martin Packer wrote:
> >
> > I'm going to ignore Andy's request to ignore his message to Mabel, because
> > I'm sure Mabel is not the only person being told this sort of thing. The
> > claim, I suppose, is that emotion is a subjective experience, and therefore
> > something mental, internal, personal, private and so inaccessible to other
> > people, including the researcher, who has access only to the external
> > 'expression' of that emotion, on the face, in movements, etc.
> >
> > Nonsense. How to argue against that view? Take a look at Joe de Rivera's
> > work on emotions as interpersonal movements, towards or away from people on
> > three interpersonal dimensions of intimacy, openness, and status. Read Hall
> > and Cobey (1976) on emotion as transformation of the world. Read Mead's
> > Mind, Self and Society where he challenges Darwin, insisting that "we
> > cannot approach them [emotions] from the point of view of expressing a
> > content in the mind of the individual" (p. 17) because to do so presumes a
> > dualism between consciousness and the biological organism.
> >
> > These are some resources that come immediately to my mind. What can others
> > out there recommend?
> >
> > Martin
> >
> >
> > On Nov 14, 2009, at 4:42 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
> >
> > You have good muses Mabel (Vygotsky and Marx), pity you
> >> don't have better supervisors. Your approach, studying
> >> microsituations as social, is Vygotsky's approach too, I
> >> think, and excellent one, that is often, I fear, not well
> >> understood. I am probably the last person to ask about that
> >> kind of problem as I have a devil of a problem making myself
> >> understood. Others will know the answers to your questions
> >> better than me, too. But I will mention a few suggestions.
> >>
> >> Mabel Encinas wrote:
> >>
> >>> My supervisors are questioning now, that I do not study emotions, but
> >>> "the expression of emotions". I know how to solidify my argument in this
> >>> bit, but could you please give me some references of where should I read
> >>> about the difference-relation between ontological and methodological
> >>> dualism?
> >>>
> >>
> >> I guess you have already read Vygotsky's comments on
> >> ontological vs methodological/epistemological dualism:
> >> http://marx.org/archive/vygotsky/works/crisis/psycri13.htm#p1367
> >>
> >> If you use Google on this one, you will probably find a page
> >> where I am being attacked by someone called Neville for
> >> failing to make this distinction. I am far from sure of the
> >> value of that exchange but you are welcome to read it. I
> >> would not attempt a short summary of this issue.
> >>
> >> I am not sure what you are being accused of about emotions.
> >> Martha Nussbaum is a Critical Theorist who writes good stuff
> >> about emotions. And of course everyone reads Antonio
> >> Damassio, with his distinction between feelings and
> >> emotions. Certainly, emotions are only present in
> >> consciousness thanks to their "interpretation" by culturally
> >> acquired concepts.
> >>
> >> ""the expression of emotions" is a strange expression to me.
> >> Are they using "emotions" to refer to forms of consciousness
> >> which are "expressed" in high blood pressure, etc? Or are
> >> they using "emotions" to refer to physiological conditions,
> >> which are "expressed" in the character of behavior. I don't
> >> understand. I am sure others will know. Sounds like a
> >> template accusation.
> >>
> >> Andy
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> xmca mailing list
> >> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> >> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> >>
> >
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