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[Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects

This "confusing struggle of different meanings" is of course nothing other
than activity. That is how signs and situations acquire psychological

In my continuing struggle that is definitely confusing I will share
Vygotsky's own words on what a concept is:

"A real concept is an IMAGE of an objective thing in all its complexity.
Only when we recognize the thing in all its connections and relations, only
when this diversity is synthesized in a word in an INTEGRAL IMAGE through a
multitude of determinations, do we develop a concept.  According to the
teaching of dialectical logic, a concept INCLUDES not only the general but
also the individual and particular.
     In contrast to contemplation, to direct knowledge of an object, a
concept is filled with definitions of the object; it is the RESULT of
rational processing of our existence AND it is mediated knowledge of the
object.  To think of some object with the help of a concept MEANS TO
INCLUDE the GIVEN object in a complex SYSTEM of mediating connection and
relations DISCLOSED in determinations of the concept"
[Vygotsky, The Collected Works, Volume 5, Child Psychology, page 53]

I felt my struggle I am going through may be relevant to others. In
particular "when we recognize the thing in all its connections and
relations .... THROUGH a multitude of DETERMINATIONS".
THIS [thing] is synthesized "in a word" IN AN INTEGRAL IMAGE".

On Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 5:00 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Thanks Manfred. I think we are on the same page.
> This "confusing struggle of different meanings" is of course nothing other
> than activity. That is how signs and situations acquire psychological
> meanings, and children learn not only by observing but by participating in
> those activities.
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> On 25/07/2015 5:50 AM, Holodynski, Manfred wrote:
>> Hi Andy,
>> thanks for your clarification. I now think I have understood your
>> message. You are "travelling" in the social world and discussing Leontyev's
>> understanding of the concept of objective meaning. I can now understand
>> your critique that he might believe that something like an objective
>> meaning may exist or can be extracted from an analysis of social
>> interactions. Ok, if one is going to analyze what the essence of an
>> "objective meaning" e.g. of the word "dog" is (and all the more of abstract
>> terms such as feminism, social justice), then one will find oneself in a
>> confusing struggle of different meanings that are also changing with time.
>> So, the objective meaning of a word or concept is fuzzy and of many voices.
>> Nevertheless, people are sometimes (:-) ) able to communicate their
>> personal sense by using words and concepts. This is not a hopeless endeavor
>> although it sometimes and for some people fails miserably.
>> Your construction of a theory of collaborative projects is indeed a
>> noteworthy proposal to deal with the societal emergence and change of the
>> objective meanings of concepts that maintain the link between the social
>> and psychological plane.
>> Best Manfred
>> Prof. Dr. Manfred Holodynski
>> Institut für Psychologie in Bildung und Erziehung
>> Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
>> Fliednerstr. 21
>> D-48149 Münster
>> +49-(0)-251-83-34311
>> +49-(0)-251-83-34310 (Sekretariat)
>> +49-(0)-251-83-34314 (Fax)
>> http://wwwpsy.uni-muenster.de/Psychologie.inst5/AEHolodynski/index.html
>> manfred.holodynski@uni-muenster.de
>> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
>> Von: xmca-l-bounces+manfred.holodynski=uni-muenster.de@mailman.ucsd.edu
>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+manfred.holodynski=
>> uni-muenster.de@mailman.ucsd.edu] Im Auftrag von Andy Blunden
>> Gesendet: Donnerstag, 23. Juli 2015 16:26
>> An: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Betreff: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects
>> Er: "macro-unit of activity", not "macro-unity".
>> :( Andy
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>> On 24/07/2015 12:10 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>> Hi Manfred, I am delighted to hear your voice again on this list.
>>> I understand what you are saying. I will try to better explain how I
>>> stand with A N Leontyev.
>>> I am a social theorist, that is I am interested in changing societal
>>> arrangements (to put it very politely), and I am one of few social
>>> theorists, properly so-called, who base themselves on Vygotsky's
>>> theories, and use Activity Theory as well. My position is a
>>> contradictory one because Vygotsky and Leontyev were psychologists
>>> (like
>>> you) and not social theorists. Social Theorists and Psychologists
>>> generally live in different buildings on the university campus, in
>>> different departments, publish in different journals, refer to
>>> different founding theorists, and altogether inhabit different
>>> universes. Social theorists have ideas about psychology, but generally
>>> not scientific ones, and vice versa.
>>> In my opinion, Vygotsky's ideas provide an excellent foundation for
>>> social theory because he introduced into human development and every
>>> interaction between two individuals a culturally produced sign. But he
>>> only went so far. He showed how people acted and developed within
>>> their social situation, but he did not tackle the problem of how that
>>> situation arose. Leontyev, by his discovery of the Activity as a
>>> macro-unity of activity, made an epoch-making development which opened
>>> CHAT to become a fully developed social-and-psychological theory. But
>>> what he said himself on questions of social theory was of very poor
>>> quality, as I said, "Neanderthal." Not the sort of ideas that would
>>> win any following among social theorists today. But he was after all a
>>> Psychologist and not a Social Theorist, so he is forgiven.
>>> Now, to your point. If I am not mistaken "objective meaning" is not a
>>> psychological category at all for Leontyev. Yes? And personal sense
>>> is, as you eloquently explain, a fundamental Psychological category.
>>> So if what I said were to be interpreted to say that personal sense is
>>> a subset of objective meaning, that would be quite wrong. While I
>>> accept (as I must) a categorical difference between material
>>> objects/processes and their reflection in my mind, I do not at all
>>> understand societal processes as nonpsychological processes. I try to
>>> conceive of them together in one unit, and I think I am on my own
>>> there (some Freudian/Phenomenologists aside).
>>> There remains of course the distinction between the individual
>>> (Einzeln) and the universal (Allgemein), mediated by the particular
>>> (Besonder). A human individual is something radically different from a
>>> number of individuals. For the human individual and how they erleben a
>>> social situation, I rely on my friends and collaborator-psychologists.
>>> I am interested in how the Activities go. In small part to avoid
>>> having arguments with followers of Leontyev I call activities
>>> "projects."
>>> So I reserve the right to say things about projects without a follower
>>> of Leontyev correcting me. "Project" is not a mysterious or esoteric
>>> concept; every English-speaker knows what a project is, and if there
>>> is any confusion with projects as defined by Existentialists, I call
>>> them "collaborative projects." (i.e., people usually join them, not
>>> create them).  These include capitalist firms, political parties,
>>> sporting clubs or indeed whole sports, a family, a professional career
>>> - all those things which gives our lives mening while we build the
>>> world we and our children must live in, what Fedor Vasilyuk called an
>>> отношение . A project is not a collection of people, it is an
>>> aggregate of actions (like an Activity) and the "logic" of projects is
>>> something different from Psychology, but it is inclusive of Psychology
>>> as well. A project is a kind of psychological phenomenon, but it is
>>> also much more than psychology, because, as you remind us, people
>>> regulate their own behaviour using signs created in the world beyond
>>> their ken. Projects are the material substance of Concepts, and I rely
>>> on Vygotsky for a Psychology of concepts. OK?
>>> Everything you said (except how you characterised my
>>> ideas) I agree with. Complex business isn't it?!
>>> Andy
>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>> On 23/07/2015 10:37 PM, Holodynski, Manfred wrote:
>>>> Hi Andy,
>>>> with great interest, I follow the discussion and your interpretation
>>>> of A N Leontyev's contradiction between subjective sense and
>>>> objective meaning. As far as I interpret ANL he presented a very
>>>> elegant solution of the relation between sense and meaning: For ANL,
>>>> subjective sense is not a part or subset of objective meaning (as you
>>>> seem to insinuate him), but a psychological quality that emerges when
>>>> a person uses societal signs and their objective meanings in order to
>>>> regulate his or her socially embedded activity.
>>>> What happens is a transformation of societal meanings into the
>>>> personal sense of those involved. The personal sense that an
>>>> individual assigns to interactions, facts, and experiences through
>>>> the use of signs can be conceptualized not as a subset of societal
>>>> meanings but as a particular sphere of mind that is constituted by
>>>> two psychological factors in particular (a) the relation to the
>>>> motives of the person, and (b) the relation to the situated and
>>>> sensorially mediated experiences of the individual within the process
>>>> of internalization.
>>>> a) People do not appropriate the use of signs and their meanings
>>>> during social interactions in an impartial way.
>>>> They interpret and use them in the light of their actually elicited
>>>> motives along with the motives they assign to the interaction
>>>> partner. The societal meaning of the used signs does not have to
>>>> match the individually assigned personal sense. For example, an
>>>> outsider may well interpret a public fit of rage by a low-ranking
>>>> bank employee toward his superior as an inexcusable violation of
>>>> social etiquette. However, for the menial employee, it may well be a
>>>> reassertion of self-esteem in response to a humiliating directive.
>>>> b) The personal sense of sign-use is also determined by the
>>>> situatedness and sensory mediation of the previous encounters in
>>>> which the use of signs is (or was) embedded. Societal meanings are
>>>> coded primarily not by propositional phrases (e.g., “a dog is a
>>>> mammal” or “wide-open eyes signal fear”) but through their ties to
>>>> sensorially mediated and situated perceptions—as complex as these
>>>> interrelations may be (Leont’ev, 1978). For example, two persons can
>>>> use propositional phrases to agree on the same definition of the term
>>>> “dog” or “fear.”
>>>> These terms, however, will be situated very differently and enriched
>>>> with other sensory perceptions when one person grew up with a very
>>>> likeable family dog and the other person experienced a highly
>>>> dramatic episode with an overpoweringly large and aggressive dog.
>>>> Thus, conventionalized signs and the meanings assigned to them are
>>>> subject to an interpersonal process of interpretation and
>>>> coordination that more or less successfully supports the embodiment
>>>> and expression of personal sense. People do not have a private
>>>> “speech” at their disposal that they can construct and use on their
>>>> own (Wittgenstein). Therefore, they depend on the appropriation and
>>>> use of conventionalized signs when they want to communicate
>>>> successfully and satisfy their motives in social interactions.
>>>> By an act of reflection, the person can try to realize and to become
>>>> aware of his personal relation and sense of the situation and the
>>>> used signs, but also this reflection has to fall back on societal
>>>> signs in order to express this personal relations. So, this is the
>>>> overall tension between objective meaning of an event or an object
>>>> and its personal sense for a specific person.
>>>> Best
>>>> Manfred
>>>> Prof. Dr. Manfred Holodynski
>>>> Institut für Psychologie in Bildung und Erziehung Westfälische
>>>> Wilhelms-Universität Münster Fliednerstr. 21
>>>> D-48149 Münster
>>>> +49-(0)-251-83-34311
>>>> +49-(0)-251-83-34310 (Sekretariat)
>>>> +49-(0)-251-83-34314 (Fax)
>>>> http://wwwpsy.uni-muenster.de/Psychologie.inst5/AEHolodynski/index.ht
>>>> ml
>>>> manfred.holodynski@uni-muenster.de
>>>> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
>>>> Von:
>>>> xmca-l-bounces+manfred.holodynski=uni-muenster.de@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+manfred.holodynski=uni-muenster.de@mailman.ucs
>>>> d.edu]
>>>> Im Auftrag von Andy Blunden
>>>> Gesendet: Donnerstag, 23. Juli 2015 06:32
>>>> An: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>> Cc: Geoffrey C. Bowker
>>>> Betreff: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary Objects
>>>> I was waiting to see what Lubomir would say in response to my post to
>>>> take it from there, Mike, but I will try to respond as best I can to
>>>> the question about subjectivism and objectivism.
>>>> When I first remarked in my 2009 paper that I thought that A N
>>>> Leontyev was too much of an objectivist, Morten Nissen remarked that
>>>> that was odd, because in Europe ATists thought he was too subjective.
>>>> So there you are!
>>>> Activity Theory as propounded by ANL is a theory of Psychology, and
>>>> yet I want to use AT as a foundation for social theory, so my claim
>>>> does seem anomalous.
>>>> What it comes down to is the insistence of ANL in interpreting
>>>> contradictions between the "subjective sense"
>>>> and the "objective meaning" of an activity in terms of the social vs.
>>>> the individual. This reduces subjectivity to a matter of the
>>>> capriciousness of the individual mind or the underdevelopment of the
>>>> child mind. This is hardly objectionable in the domain of child
>>>> development, but in the domain of social theory it is a Neanderthal
>>>> position.
>>>> Social life is made up of a multiplicity of standpoints among which
>>>> none have the right to claim unproblematic "objective truth"
>>>> for themselves. This is the basis on which I describe ANL as giving
>>>> too much to the Object. Engestrom on the other hand, is different,
>>>> but people's intentions are relegated to "phenomenological
>>>> investigation" which are preliminary to the investigation itself. I
>>>> see Engestrom's approach as a kind of social behaviourist approach in
>>>> which change occurs only thanks to "contradictions" at different
>>>> levels in the "system." My aim in proposing to see the "system" as a
>>>> "project" at one or another phase in its life cycle aims to restore
>>>> the purposiveness of human action to Activity Theory. The
>>>> interpretation of purposes and intentions in social science is a
>>>> challenge, but I believe that with the aid of Hegel it can be met.
>>>> I am happy to join Rubinshtein and declare "All the the Subject!"
>>>> though I know nothing at all of his work.
>>>> The problem with your question about Boundary Objects, Mike, is that
>>>> though I knew nothing of them a little while ago, I can now see 3
>>>> different meanings of the term. So perhaps Geoffrey is in the best
>>>> position to answer this question, and I look forward to his answer.
>>>> Andy
>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> *Andy Blunden*
>>>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>> On 23/07/2015 2:13 PM, mike cole wrote:
>>>>> Andy/Lubomir--
>>>>> I am overwhelmed by this thread so this's query may be badly timed.
>>>>> But ....  I recall Lubomir writing that AT was centered on the
>>>>> subject. And now Andy is gesturing to Strands of AT theory that give
>>>>> everything to the object.
>>>>> Question-- isn't this a version of Rubenshtein/Leontiev schools'
>>>>> conflict? Or LSV "vs" AN L on the problem of the environment?
>>>>> Or?
>>>>> What is at stake here theoretically and practically?
>>>>> Mike
>>>>> PS.  I am still trying to absorb the multifaceted discussion of
>>>>> boundary object.  I almost want to ask -- what forms of joint
>>>>> mediated activity do not involve boundary objects? But I am pretty
>>>>> sure that not knowing the answer to this question is a result of the
>>>>> richness of the discussion.
>>>>> It's fair to say that XMCA is a boundary object??
>>>>> Mike
>>>>> On Wednesday, July 22, 2015, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
>>>>> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>>>>       That is exactly right, Larry, I am advocating a
>>>>>       humanism, in opposition to poststructuralism,
>>>>>       structuralism Marxism, and strands of Activity Theory
>>>>>       which give everything to the Object.
>>>>>       Andy
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>       *Andy Blunden*
>>>>>       http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>>>       <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>>>       On 23/07/2015 2:24 AM, Lplarry wrote:
>>>>>           Here is a quote from the introduction of "The
>>>>>           Cambridge Handbook of Merleau-Ponty on the topic
>>>>>           of the subject.
>>>>>           "Foucault's archaeological studies of the early
>>>>>           1970's, most notably "The Order of Things" and
>>>>>           "The Archaeology of Knowledge", did perhaps more
>>>>>           than any other work of the period to LEGITIMIZE
>>>>>           conceiving of processes without subjects."
>>>>>           This is an "antihumanist" program as Foucault saw
>>>>>           the failure of phenomenology and the residual
>>>>>           links between subjectivism and anthropology.
>>>>>           The force of Foucault's argument was tying the
>>>>>           philosophy of the subject to what he saw as an
>>>>>           outmoded humanism.
>>>>>           It may be what Andy is highlighting is a new humanism.
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>           From: Lubomir Savov Popov
>>>>> <mailto:lspopov@bgsu.edu>
>>>>>           Sent: ‎2015-‎07-‎22 8:55 AM
>>>>>           To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>>           <mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>; Andy Blunden
>>>>>           <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>
>>>>>           Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary
>>>>>           Objects
>>>>>           Hi Alfredo,
>>>>>           The object doesn't carry in itself the motive and
>>>>>           the purpose of activity. Actually, depending on
>>>>>           the motive and purpose of activity, the object can
>>>>>           be approached in many different ways.
>>>>>           It is true that the relationship between the
>>>>>           object and the subject caries the
>>>>>           purpose/goal/objective/motive of activity. This
>>>>>           type of relationship might has several aspects and
>>>>>           the teleological aspect is one of them. Actually,
>>>>>           in AT, the teleological aspect is central one
>>>>>           among all aspects of Subject-Object relationships.
>>>>>           The teleological aspect in AT is envisaged at
>>>>>           several levels with distinctive teleological
>>>>>           phenomena: motivation, goal, etc.
>>>>>           It is difficult to find diagrams of the structure
>>>>>           of activity with its three levels. I just tried to
>>>>>           do that and in most cases I got the famous
>>>>>           "triangle." The internet is dominated by English
>>>>>           language texts where the authors evidently use
>>>>>           that version of activity theory. The three
>>>>>           structural levels of activity might be found in t
>>>>>           Lubomir
>>>>>           -----Original Message-----
>>>>>           From:
>>>>>           xmca-l-bounces+lspopov=bgsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+lspopov=bgsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu]
>>>>>           On Behalf Of Alfredo Jornet Gil
>>>>>           Sent: Wednesday, July 22, 2015 11:25 AM
>>>>>           To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity; Andy Blunden
>>>>>           Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary
>>>>>           Objects
>>>>>           That was a very helpful entry, Andy. Thanks!
>>>>>           I see that our treatment of object in the paper is
>>>>>           very much in line with the notion of
>>>>>           Arbeitsgegenstand as you describe it.
>>>>>           I have many questions, most of which I should find
>>>>>           in the literature rather than bother here. But I
>>>>>           would like to ask one here. It concerns the quote
>>>>>           that the object "carries in itself the purpose and
>>>>>           motive of the activity." What does "in itself"
>>>>>           mean here?
>>>>>           Thanks again for a very informative post,
>>>>>           Alfredo
>>>>>           ________________________________________
>>>>>           From:
>>>>> xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>>> <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>>>>           on behalf of Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>>>>>           Sent: 22 July 2015 08:31
>>>>>           To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>>           Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary
>>>>>           Objects
>>>>>           If I could try to do my thing and draw attention
>>>>>           to some
>>>>>           distinctions in this field ... we have at least three
>>>>>           different versions of Activity Theory involved
>>>>>           here plus
>>>>>           Leigh Star's theory and in addition the theories
>>>>>           that have
>>>>>           spun off from Leigh Star's initial idea. Each is
>>>>>           using the
>>>>>           word "object" in a different way, all of them
>>>>>           legitimate
>>>>>           uses of the English word, but all indexing different
>>>>>           concepts. So for the sake of this discussion I
>>>>>           will invent
>>>>>           some different terms.
>>>>>           The German word Arbeitsgegenstand means the object of
>>>>>           labour, the material which is to be worked upon, the
>>>>>           blacksmith's iron. It is objective, in that if may
>>>>>           be a nail
>>>>>           to a man with a hammer and waste material for a
>>>>>           man with a
>>>>>           broom, but it is all the same Arbeitsgegenstand.
>>>>>           Engestrom
>>>>>           use the word "Object" in the middle of the left
>>>>>           side of the
>>>>>           triangle to mean Arbeitsgegenstand, and when it
>>>>>           has been
>>>>>           worked upon it becomes "Outcome." The hammer that the
>>>>>           blacksmith uses is called "Instruments" or now
>>>>>           "instrumentality," and the Rules, whether implicit or
>>>>>           explicit, these are respectively the base and apex
>>>>>           of the
>>>>>           triangle.
>>>>>           Engestrom says " The object carries in itself the
>>>>>           purpose
>>>>>           and motive of the activity." So this "purpose or
>>>>>           motive" is
>>>>>           not shown on the triangle, but I will call it the
>>>>>           OBJECT.
>>>>>           This is what Leontyev meant by "object" when he
>>>>>           talks about
>>>>>           "object-oriented activity." The OBJECT is a
>>>>>           complex notion,
>>>>>           because it is only *implicit* in the actions of the
>>>>>           subject(s); it is not a material thing or process
>>>>>           as such.
>>>>>           Behaviourists would exclude it altogether. But
>>>>>           this is what
>>>>>           is motivating all the members of the design team
>>>>>           when they
>>>>>           sit down to collaborate with one another. Bone one
>>>>>           of the
>>>>>           team thinks the OBJECT is to drive the nail into
>>>>>           the wood
>>>>>           and another thinks the OBJECT is to sweep the
>>>>>           Arbeitsgegenstand into the wastebin. These OBJECTs
>>>>>           change in
>>>>>           the course of collaboration and in the End an
>>>>>           OBJECT Is
>>>>>           *realised* which is the "truth" of the
>>>>>           collaboration, to use
>>>>>           Hegel's apt terminology here.
>>>>>           Surely it is important to recognise that while
>>>>>           everyone
>>>>>           shares the same Arbeitsgegenstand, and ends up
>>>>>           with Outcome
>>>>>           as the same OBJECT, along the road they construe
>>>>>           the object
>>>>>           differently. This is what Vygotsky showed so
>>>>>           clearly in
>>>>>           Thinking and Speech. It is not the
>>>>>           Arbeitsgegenstand or some
>>>>>           problem carried within it alone which motivates
>>>>>           action, but
>>>>>           *the concept the subject makes of the
>>>>>           Arbeitsgegenstand*!
>>>>>           Then Leigh Star comes along and applies (as
>>>>>           Lubomir astutely
>>>>>           notices) postmodern ideology critique to the
>>>>>           collaboration
>>>>>           within an ostensibly neutral infrastructure - that
>>>>>           is, in
>>>>>           Engestrom's terms Rules and Instruments, which are
>>>>>           naively
>>>>>           supposed to be there just to aid collaboration.
>>>>>           And Leigh
>>>>>           Star shows that this is an illusion; the Rules and
>>>>>           Instruments are in fact residues of past
>>>>>           collaborations
>>>>>           which carry within them the Outcomes, i.e.,
>>>>>           realised OBJECTs
>>>>>           of past collaborations. It is these one-time OBJECTs,
>>>>>           now-Instruments+Rules which are the Boundary Objects.
>>>>>           But it seems that other have grasped the
>>>>>           postmodern critique
>>>>>           elements of this idea, that apparently
>>>>>           ideologically neutral
>>>>>           obJects (in the expanded sense of socially constructed
>>>>>           entities, usually far more than OBJects - as
>>>>>           things, or
>>>>>           artefacts, including institutions - fossilised
>>>>>           "systems of
>>>>>           activity") and recognised the shared OBJECT as a
>>>>>           Boundary
>>>>>           Object, reflecting the fact not everyone has the same
>>>>>           concept of the OBJECT, as Vygotsky proved.
>>>>>           But what Engestrom has done, by placing the
>>>>>           Boundary Object
>>>>>           in the place of Object on his triangle, joining
>>>>>           two "systems
>>>>>           of activity," for the purpose of looking not at
>>>>>           cooperation
>>>>>           but rather the conflict within the broader
>>>>>           collaboration.
>>>>>           The reconstrual of the Arbeitsgegenstand is
>>>>>           deliberate and
>>>>>           aimed to change the relation between Subject and
>>>>>           obJECT
>>>>>           (here referring to the Hegelian "Object" usually
>>>>>           rendered as
>>>>>           "the Other.") thereby introducing yet a different
>>>>>           strand of
>>>>>           postmodern critique into the equation, namely
>>>>>           Foucault's
>>>>>           Poststructuralism, to mind mind, with great effect.
>>>>>           OK, so we have Arbeitsgegenstand. OBJECT, Boundary
>>>>>           Object,
>>>>>           OBject, obJECT and obJect. And I might say, the
>>>>>           situation is
>>>>>           almost as bad in Russian and German,
>>>>>           Andy
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>           *Andy Blunden*
>>>>>           http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>>>           <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>>>           On 22/07/2015 5:46 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil wrote:
>>>>>           > Thanks a lot for your appreciation, Lubomir.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > To clarify my question in the previous e-mail, I
>>>>>           wish to add that I am a bit familiar with the
>>>>>           distinction between object and tool in activity
>>>>>           theory, though not enough yet. I can see, and we
>>>>>           were aware through the process, that what we
>>>>>           describe in the paper has to do with how the
>>>>>           object of design emerged and developed for the
>>>>>           team in and as they were dealing with, developing,
>>>>>           and resorting to particular means or tools. But I
>>>>>           guess we could say that in our analyses there is a
>>>>>           lack of a historical account of the object that
>>>>>           goes over and above the particular instances
>>>>>           analyzed. Although we provide with some
>>>>>           ethnographic contextualization of the team's
>>>>>           developmental trajectories, all of our discussion
>>>>>           is grounded on concrete events and their
>>>>>           transactional unfolding. We did not resort to the
>>>>>           distinction between object and means because it
>>>>>           seemed to be the same thing in the there and then
>>>>>           of the episodes analyzed, at least in what
>>>>>           participants' orientations concerned. If they ori
>>>>>           >   ented towards anything beyond what was there
>>>>>           in the meetings, it was in and through the
>>>>>           meetings' means. How would then the distinction
>>>>>           between means and object have added to our
>>>>>           understanding of the events? (And this is not to
>>>>>           doubt of the contribution from such a distinction,
>>>>>           I really mean to ask this question for the purpose
>>>>>           of growing and expanding; and as said before, part
>>>>>           of the answer may be found in Engestrom et al.
>>>>>           contribution).
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > As to how we would position our contribution
>>>>>           with regard to activity theory, I would reiterate
>>>>>           what we said when introducing the paper for
>>>>>           discussion: we begun with the purpose of working
>>>>>           outside any particular framework and think, as we
>>>>>           think Star did, broadly, drawing from several
>>>>>           sources. These included cultural historical
>>>>>           psychology, ethnomethodology, and discourse
>>>>>           analysis. But also the ideas about Experience (in
>>>>>           the Deweyan/Vygotskyan sense) that have been the
>>>>>           topic in this discussion were in the background
>>>>>           all the time, but we did not operationalize them
>>>>>           in terms of any particular theory. This is not to
>>>>>           say that we went for the "anything goes;" we tried
>>>>>           our best to keep internal coherence between what
>>>>>           we said about the data, and what the data was
>>>>>           exhibiting for us. Perhaps Rolf would like to add
>>>>>           to this.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > I think the questions you are rising about
>>>>>           activity theory are very much in the spirit of
>>>>>           what I am after, and I am not the best to answer
>>>>>           them; but this xmca list may be one of the best
>>>>>           places to be asking those questions.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > Alfredo
>>>>>           > ________________________________________
>>>>>           > From:
>>>>> xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>>> <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>>>>           on behalf of Lubomir Savov Popov <lspopov@bgsu.edu>
>>>>>           > Sent: 21 July 2015 21:16
>>>>>           > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>>           > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary
>>>>>           Objects
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > Dear Alfredo and Rolf,
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > There are also a few other things that I would
>>>>>           like to bring to this discussion.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > First, you have a wonderful project and a great
>>>>>           article. It is a great example of an
>>>>>           interpretativist approach to everyday life
>>>>>           phenomena. Really interesting and fascinating. It
>>>>>           is all about our minds, culture, and activity.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > However, how is your approach related to classic
>>>>>           Activity Theory? Some people might find that it is
>>>>>           a Symbolic Interactionist approach; others might
>>>>>           say it one of the Deconstructivist approaches that
>>>>>           emerge right now or have emerged in the last
>>>>>           decades; still other people might look for
>>>>>           connections to ethnomethodology, discourse
>>>>>           analysis, etc. I am not trying here to impose a
>>>>>           template or categorize your methodology -- just
>>>>>           raising a question about its connection to
>>>>>           Activity Theory. And again, I am not saying that
>>>>>           this is a shortcoming -- I would like to clarify
>>>>>           certain things for myself.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > For example: What are the limits and boundaries
>>>>>           of Activity Theory? How much we can fuse Activity
>>>>>           Theory and Postmodernist approaches? What do we
>>>>>           gain when we infuse new methodological,
>>>>>           epistemological, and ontological realities into
>>>>>           Activity Theory? What do we lose? What is the
>>>>>           threshold when it is not Activity Theory anymore?
>>>>>           (I mean here Activity Theory as research
>>>>>           methodology.) Do we need to call something
>>>>>           Activity Theory if it is not? If we create a new
>>>>>           approach starting with Activity Theory, do we need
>>>>>           to call it Activity Theory?
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > Activity Theory is a product of Modern thinking,
>>>>>           Late Modernism. The discourse you use in your
>>>>>           paper borrows strongly from Postmodern discourses
>>>>>           and approaches. I am not sure that Modernist and
>>>>>           Postmodernist discourses can be fused. We can
>>>>>           borrow ideas across the range of discourses, but
>>>>>           after we assimilate them for use in our project,
>>>>>           they will "change hands" and will change their
>>>>>           particular discourse affiliation and will become
>>>>>           completely different components of a completely
>>>>>           different discourse. Mostly because the
>>>>>           epistemologies and ontologies are different; and
>>>>>           the concepts are very different despite of the
>>>>>           similarities in ideas and words used to name these
>>>>>           ideas.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > Just a few questions that I hope will help me
>>>>>           understand better what is going on in the realm of
>>>>>           CHAT.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > Thank you very much for this exciting discussion,
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > Lubomir
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > -----Original Message-----
>>>>>           > From:
>>>>>           xmca-l-bounces+lspopov=bgsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>>> [mailto:xmca-l-bounces+lspopov=bgsu.edu@mailman.ucsd.edu]
>>>>>           On Behalf Of Alfredo Jornet Gil
>>>>>           > Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2015 11:36 AM
>>>>>           > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity; Andy Blunden
>>>>>           > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary
>>>>>           Objects
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > Andy, all,
>>>>>           >   I just recently begun to read Engeström and
>>>>>           cols. contribution to the special issue, which is
>>>>>           very interesting. I have particular interest in
>>>>>           the difference that they point out between
>>>>>           boundary object on the one hand, and object and
>>>>>           instrumentality as different aspects of activity
>>>>>           theory on the other. Rolf and I came across this
>>>>>           distinction while writing our own paper. We
>>>>>           noticed that the museum space, through multiple
>>>>>           forms of presentations (e.g., the room itself, a
>>>>>           floor plan, performances of being in the room
>>>>>           while not being there, etc), was a means, an
>>>>>           instrument for achieving a final design product.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > At the same time, the museum space begun to
>>>>>           become the object of the designers' activity.
>>>>>           Since this were interdisciplinary designs, and the
>>>>>           partners had multiple, sometimes opposite
>>>>>           interests, what seemed to be a common object for
>>>>>           all them was the museum as place. Thus, most
>>>>>           representations of it begun to be made in terms of
>>>>>           narratives about being there. That was the
>>>>>           orientation that seemed to stick them together.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > Thus, the museum space was both object and
>>>>>           instrument. We wondered whether we should do
>>>>>           connections to notions of object of activity and
>>>>>           tools, but we felt that that road would take us
>>>>>           away from the focus on body and experience. We
>>>>>           ended up drawing from Binder et al (2011), who
>>>>>           differentiate between object of design, the design
>>>>>           thing that work delivers, and the object's
>>>>>           constituents (or means of presentation before the
>>>>>           design thing is finished).
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > When bringing the notion of boundary object into
>>>>>           the picture, we could discuss the history of
>>>>>           development of these relations between the
>>>>>           different forms of presentations of the museum
>>>>>           means towards the object without necessarily
>>>>>           articulating the differences between the two. One
>>>>>           advantage was that boundary objects focus on the
>>>>>           materiality, which, as already mentioned, is not
>>>>>           about materials in themselves, but about
>>>>>           consequences in action. From the point of view of
>>>>>           the persons implicated in the process, the museum
>>>>>           space as object of design was an issue in and
>>>>>           through the working with some material, some form
>>>>>           of presenting it or changing it. Both object and
>>>>>           instrument seemed to be moments of a same
>>>>>           experience. But I still want to learn what we may
>>>>>           get out of making the distinction between object
>>>>>           and tool, as Engeström and colleagues do (so I
>>>>>           should perhaps read more carefully their study
>>>>>           rather than be here thinking aloud).
>>>>>           > Any thoughts?
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > Alfredo
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > ________________________________________
>>>>>           > From:
>>>>> xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>>> <xmca-l-bounces+a.g.jornet=iped.uio.no@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>>>>           on behalf of Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>>>>>           > Sent: 21 July 2015 14:38
>>>>>           > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>>           > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Emergence of Boundary
>>>>>           Objects
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > Henry, anything. But the point is objects which
>>>>>           play some
>>>>>           > role in mediating the relation between subjects,
>>>>>           probably a
>>>>>           > symbolic role, but possibly an instrumental
>>>>>           role, too, and
>>>>>           > one subject challenges that role and turns the
>>>>>           object into
>>>>>           > its opposite, and changes the terms of
>>>>>           collaboration.
>>>>>           > A number of examples spring to mind.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           >    * Loaded, especially pejorative words, such
>>>>>           as Queer, are
>>>>>           >      embraced by a despised group who take
>>>>>           control of the
>>>>>           >      word and assertively embrace it;
>>>>>           >    * The post-WW2 women's peace movement who
>>>>>           deployed their
>>>>>           >      stereotype as housewives and mothers to
>>>>>           magnificant effect;
>>>>>           >    * ISIS's hatred and fear of women turned into
>>>>>           a weapon
>>>>>           >      against them by Kurdish women fighters
>>>>>           (ISIS flee before
>>>>>           >      them rather than in shame);
>>>>>           >    * The Chartists who turned the British govt's
>>>>>           stamp which
>>>>>           >      put newspapers out of reach of workers
>>>>>           against them by
>>>>>           >      printing the Northern Star as a stamped
>>>>>           newspaper and
>>>>>           >      obliging workers to club together in groups
>>>>>           to buy and
>>>>>           >      read it, thus making the paper into a
>>>>> glorious
>>>>>           >      organising tool;
>>>>>           >    * the naming of Palestine and the Occupied
>>>>>           Territory /
>>>>>           >      Israel is the struggle over the meaning of
>>>>>           a shared
>>>>>           >      object (the land);
>>>>>           >    * Gandhi's use of the landloom as both a
>>>>>           weapon and tool
>>>>>           >      for Indian independence and
>>>>>           self-sufficiency, raising it
>>>>>           >      from the status of obsolete and inferior
>>>>>           technology to a
>>>>>           >      symbol of India.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > In think this is not what Susan Leigh Star had
>>>>>           in mind when
>>>>>           > she introduced the term, but core point is that the
>>>>>           > ideological construction placed upon an object
>>>>>           is subject to
>>>>>           > contestation, and if successful, the re-marking
>>>>>           of an
>>>>>           > artefact is a tremendously powerful spur to
>>>>>           subjectivity.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > Yrjo raises the question: is the"boundary object" a
>>>>>           > mediating artefact or the object of work
>>>>>           > (/Arbeitsgegenstand/)? I think the answer is
>>>>>           that in these
>>>>>           > cases it is a mediating artefact, tool or
>>>>>           symbols according
>>>>>           > to context. In principle it is not the Object in the
>>>>>           > Engestromian sense, though it might happen to be.
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           > Andy
>>>>>           >
>>>>>           >
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>           > *Andy Blunden*
>>>>>           > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>>>           <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>>>           > On 21/07/2015 12:27 PM, HENRY SHONERD wrote:
>>>>>           >> Rolf, Alfredo, Andy,
>>>>>           >> I got to thinking about the photographs as
>>>>>           boundary objects. What about video?
>>>>>           >> Henry
>>>>>           >>
>>>>>           >>
>>>>>           >>> On Jul 20, 2015, at 6:07 PM, Andy Blunden
>>>>>           <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>>>>>           >>>
>>>>>           >>> Yes, thinking about this overnight, I came to
>>>>>           see that it was the photographs that Thomas was
>>>>>           endeavouring to turn to use to recover his
>>>>>           humanity. This is consonant with how Yrjo was
>>>>>           using the idea in relation to the subsistence
>>>>>           farmers' movement in Mexico and their corn.
>>>>>           >>> Thanks Rolf!
>>>>>           >>> Andy
>>>>>           >>>
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>           >>> *Andy Blunden*
>>>>>           >>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>>>           <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>>>           >>> On 21/07/2015 3:04 AM, Rolf Steier wrote:
>>>>>           >>>> This makes sense to me, Andy. I could also
>>>>>           interpret the photographs as boundary objects as
>>>>>           they support the coordination of therapy
>>>>>           activities between Thomas and the nurse. I think
>>>>>           it depends on the aspect of activity one is
>>>>>           attempting to explore as opposed to the definite
>>>>>           identification of what may or may not be a
>>>>>           boundary object. This is only my opinion though!
>>>>>           >>>>
>>>>>           >>>>
>>>>>           >>>>
>>>>>           >>>>
>>>>>           >>>> On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 3:49 PM, Andy Blunden
>>>>>           <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>           >>>>
>>>>>           >>>>      Or alternatively, the boundary object in
>>>>>           question is
>>>>>           >>>>      Thomas's aged body, which is subject
>>>>> to an
>>>>>           >>>>      interpretation which Thomas contests by
>>>>>           showing
>>>>>           >>>>      photographs of far away places and
>>>>>           explaining how
>>>>>           >>>>      well-travelled he is, seeking an
>>>>>           interpretation of
>>>>>           >>>>      himself as a well-travelled and
>>>>> experiences
>>>>>           >>>>      man-of-the-world.
>>>>>           >>>>      Does that make better sense?
>>>>>           >>>>      Andy
>>>>>           >>>>
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>           >>>>      *Andy Blunden*
>>>>>           >>>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>>>           <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>>>           >>>> <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>>>           >>>>      On 20/07/2015 11:27 PM, Andy Blunden
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>           >>>>
>>>>>           >>>>          Yes, I agree. My own interest is in
>>>>>           social theory
>>>>>           >>>>          and I'd never heard of "boundary
>>>>>           objects." It
>>>>>           >>>>          seems to me that what BOs do is
>>>>>           introduce some
>>>>>           >>>>          social theory into domains of
>>>>>           activity (scientific
>>>>>           >>>>          and work collaborations for example)
>>>>>           where the
>>>>>           >>>>          participants naively think they are
>>>>>           collaborating
>>>>>           >>>>          on neutral ground. So it is not just
>>>>>           granularity,
>>>>>           >>>>          but also the ideological context.
>>>>>           >>>>
>>>>>           >>>>          In Yjro Engestrom's article, the
>>>>>           home care workers
>>>>>           >>>>          collaborate with the old couple
>>>>>           according to rules
>>>>>           >>>>          and regulations, communications
>>>>>           resources,
>>>>>           >>>>          technology, finance and so on, which
>>>>>           in the
>>>>>           >>>>          unnamed country, the old couple are
>>>>>           apparently
>>>>>           >>>>          cast as "patients". Isn't it the
>>>>>           case that here it
>>>>>           >>>>          is those rules and regulations,
>>>>>           etc., which are
>>>>>           >>>>          the "boundary objects"?
>>>>>           >>>>
>>>>>           >>>>          Andy
>>>>>           >>>>
>>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>>>           >>>>          *Andy Blunden*
>>>>>           >>>> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>>>>>           <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>>>           >>>> <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
>>>>>           >>>>          On 20/07/2015 11:1
>>>>>           [The entire original message is not included.]
>>>>> --
>>>>> Both environment and species change in the course of time, and thus
>>>>> ecological niches are not stable and given forever (Polotova &
>>>>> Storch, Ecological Niche, 2008)