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[Xmca-l] Re: Article for Discussion
- To: David Kellogg <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Article for Discussion
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- Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2016 14:34:38 -0700
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I am slowly beginning to make some sense of where you are leading us in the way you are qualifying the meaning of con/text to that which particular phenomena that occurs as a particular kind of *activity* or *behavior*. It is NOT a general endorsement of activity or behavior.
The particular quality forming this *text/context* is this process of *selection* that occurs within metaphorical ways of proceeding.
You do NOT see how activity which is NOT semiotic activity [metaphorical selecting activity] and you do NOT see how behavior that is NOT semiotic behavior [metaphorical selecting behavior] can possibly create texts/contexts.
You are inviting [or calling] us to limit our understanding [or interstanding] of text/context to a particular subset of activity/behavior that *transforms* [through metaphorical selecting processes] the material settings.
We can speak or call something text/context only AFTER this metaphorical selecting kind of activity/behavior *constitutes* THESE texts/contexts.
Another interesting observation is that this kind of semiotic mediation forming texts/contexts *realizes* concepts and *realizes* feelings and *realizes* perceptions . The underlying metaphorical selecting process of something becoming text/context AS semiotic mechanism remains pretty much the same.
As you call to our attention, there is ONLY the forming of text/context when *something* has been metaphorically selected *as* a selecting process [which includes gestural metaphor, phonological metaphor, and lexicogrammatical metaphor].
This selection process occurs FOR creating both text and context which moves us towards *sense* and *shared meanings*.
And this returns us to Cultural Community psychology where culture is defined AS shared meaning.
In conclusion *activity settings* and *behavioural settings* are too general and do NOT highlight or illuminate the particular KINDS of activity settings and behavioural settings that generate *sense* and *shared meanings*.
David, I hope I have done justice to your exploration of text/context??
If not I will continue to remain open to your calling me back to this topic and topos.
Sent from Mail for Windows 10
From: David Kellogg
Sent: Sunday, March 20, 2016 1:33 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Article for Discussion
Actually, that's just the kind of text I'm working with right now. Here's
the plan. Every week, we give a nine month old baby a book. We ask four
questions in two languages (because the baby has one Korean speaking parent
and one English speaking one):
a) English: What's this?
b) English: Is it a ...?
c) Yigot mueo ya? (What's this?)
d) ... yi ya? (Is it a ...?)
Sometimes we mix up the order. This goes on every week for the next three
years, as the child first figures out that a book is not edible. That it
contains pictures. That that the pictures are not just colors but meant to
be signs. That beneath the pictures there are letters. That the letters are
not just drawings but are meant to be symbols. That the symbols encode
settings, characters, and problems. That the problems can only be solved by
means of dialogue, etc.
Now, the first time I tried this, the child simply could not concentrate on
the object for any length of time. But the SECOND time I did it, the child
literally could not look away from it! You could see that although the
child had no idea what was being said, the child was might just be starting
to think some proto-language equivalent of "What's this?" "Is it a...?" "Yi
got mu eo ya?" "Chaek yi ya?" And after a minute or so, the child looked
up, as if to see whether the large person making so much noise might be
thinking something along those lines too.
So maybe THAT's text! And as you can see it doesn't matter at all whether
the text realizes concepts or feelings or just perceptions, the underlying
semiotic mechanism is pretty much the same. But it seems that there's only
text when something has been selected from the material setting by some
human consciousness or consciousnesses for semiotic transformation; there's
only text when there some kind of "metaphor" (gestural, phonological,
lexicogrammatical) for context. It seems that it's precisely THIS act of
selection which transforms a material setting into a context, and it's
premature to speak of context before that happens. So for example I
wouldn't use the term context for the first week of work, only for the
I think it's legitimate to talk about "social context" and "cultural
context", because I believe that context, like text, exists on a cline of
instantiation. At one end, we have the relationship between a context of
situation (Malinowski) and a text (Halliday). That's the end I'm at right
now. At the other, we have the relationship between a context of culture
(again, Malinowski) and...and a whole language system (again, Halliday). I
gather that's the end at which the KEEP and the Community Development
projects in Micronesia and the Delinquency Research plans are working. But
I don't see how "activity" or "behaviour" can ever realize context, unless
it is semiotic activity and semiotic behaviour, in which case we might as
well start looking around for text. That's where the garlic and ginger is.
(Rod--I'm new at this stuff: watching infants crack the whole problem of
anthropogenesis single-handed, I mean. That's how exciting it is,
and that's about how baffling it is too. I know you are an old hand. Can
you give me any tips on what to read and advice about what to do next?)
On Sun, Mar 20, 2016 at 10:14 PM, Rod Parker-Rees <
> I was driven to respond to David's earlier comments about context since my
> own understanding of this term is in the context of trying to understand
> how preverbal children make sense (meanings framed by social and physical
> contexts more than by systems of concepts). Here it is difficult to
> separate a text out of the context, an 'individual' thought process apart
> from the interactions in which it can occur.
> It strikes me that Andy's point about the contexts in which concepts have
> their meanings is particularly relevant here. The intersubjectivity
> available to a caregiver-child dyad or within a family is of a different
> order to that available between otherwise unconnected speakers of the
> 'same' language. Where one is rooted in a history of shared experiences in
> common contexts the other is rooted in a history of more or less
> abstracted ideas (concepts) which refer to experiences but 'from above'
> rather than 'from within'. Knowing what someone else means is never
> completely achievable and I think the positive consequence of this is that
> intersubjectivity has to be understood as a process, a conversation rather
> than an answer. 'Feeling' with other people is not an achieved end but a
> means towards sharing understanding (I like the idea that the word
> understanding is misunderstood - 'under' deriving from the same root as
> 'inter' and meaning 'among' rather than 'below' - to understand something
> is to stand IN it).
> We can know ABOUT other cultures through reading about them or watching
> films but how we know cultures in which we have stood is importantly
> different - I think. Meeting other people, or meeting with them, can enrich
> our personal understanding by exposing us to different ways of thinking but
> I think we have to recognise that thinking ABOUT ways of interacting has to
> be understood as a multi-layered thing, ranging from the thickest knowing
> of our lived and co-lived experiences to the ethereal abstractions of
> philosophical thought-play.
> So sharing concepts out of context is doable but not achievable.
> All the best,
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com [mailto:
> firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> Sent: 20 March 2016 10:34
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Article for Discussion
> I don't know if the issue is having common interests, Cliff.
> I think it's very productive, even necessary, that each little bunch of us
> has different concerns and shines light on different aspects of human life.
> But what we really need is shared concepts, through which we can understand
> each other and collaborate. So it is good news that CC has appropriated
> zone of proximal development, activity setting, shared activity and the law
> of genetic development.
> I think we need to be very conscious of the dangers inherent in
> appropriating expressions like these though. You pointed out that in the
> early days of CC, "'cultural psychology' was generally practiced as
> 'cross-cultural', largely as comparison studies", but everything I read in
> your paper tends to suggest "culture" is still understood and used in just
> this sense. Consequently it is very easy to miss the meaning attached to
> "culture" in CHAT, which, after all, originated in pretty much a
> mono-cultural situation. One word can index different concepts. Achieving
> interdisciplinarity is only achieved by means of shared concepts. But on
> the other hand, since the content of a concept is ultimately the larger
> system of practices to which it is indigenous, it seems almost as if a
> concept can only be shared when the broader context of its use is already
> Along these lines, it was a little while before I realised that you were
> using the word "intersubjectivity" with quite a different meaning than I
> would. It seems to denote empathy. "Intersubjectivity involves co-actors
> feeling the same emotions and values in the same situations," and I don't
> even know it means to "feel values."
> Connected with this the description of joint action, turned out to be in
> sharp contrast to my conception of it. As I see it, collaboration (my
> preferred term, rather than "joint
> action") necessarily entails both moments of conflict as well as
> cooperation. Harmony and bliss are great things, but I think they are
> rather cheaply purchased simply by everyone marching in step.
> I suspect that these two examples of shared words indicating different
> concepts are connected to the hope of mutual appropriation by means of
> having a "center of commonality."
> *Andy Blunden*
> On 20/03/2016 12:28 PM, Cliff O'Donnell wrote:
> > Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Alfredo. Roland and I thought
> > that although CC and CHAT have many common interests, most folks in
> > each appeared to be unaware of the other (judging by the infrequency
> > of common citations). As described in our article, we and several of
> > our colleagues have been influenced by CHAT and have used CHAT
> > concepts in our research and intervention programs.
> > As for influence in the opposite direction, perhaps the KEEP project,
> > Seymour Sarason's work, and some of Maynard's work with Greenfield.
> > Also Kurt Lewin is a source common to both CC and CHAT. I too would be
> > interested to hear of additional influence in the opposite direction.
> > You are correct that Delta Theory builds on psychosocial systems with
> > Vygotsky as an important source. Delta Theory boldly attempts to be a
> > universal theory of how change occurs using Delta as the symbol for
> > change.
> > I'm pleased that you found the discussion of cognitive science,
> > psycho-neurology, and a potential center of commonality in psychology
> > of interest! That is the goal of the article, i.e., to show how the
> > commonality of CC and CHAT have the potential to form that commonality
> > with developmental, educational, cognitive, and neuro-psychology.
> > Hopefully this discussion format will facilitate interest in the
> > process.
> > Cliff
> > On Mar 19, 2016, at 6:17 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil wrote:
> >> Thanks Cliff and Mike for sharing this interesting article. I was not
> >> familiar to cultural community psychology and this and the other
> >> papers in the symposium do a great job introducing and concisely
> >> describing the field, and how it evolved from community to cultural
> >> community psychology.
> >> As I was reading, I wondered how much the influence of CHAT
> >> literature had influenced the development of community psychology
> >> itself from the start. As I progressed in my reading, I then found
> >> clear references to these influences, which even meant the delay of
> >> the publishing of Roland's work, I assume, due to the important input
> >> that Vygotsky's publications meant for the project. But then I
> >> wondered on what had been other sources. What were other foundational
> >> influences to the field? I'd be interested to know about them in part
> >> because, while the paper discusses many examples in which CHAT gives
> >> input to CC, I would like to know more about the (possible) inputs in
> >> the other direction.
> >> Also, I found interesting the mention of a new center of commonality
> >> in psychology in general. I was glad to see, however brief, mentions
> >> to research in cognitive science and psycho-neurology. In your paper,
> >> Delta theory is mentioned as a move forward towards integration. In
> >> the case of CHAT, this was pursued by means of developing a
> >> scientific discipline based on dialectical materialism and the
> >> sociogenetic method. Delta theory (I just had a very brief first
> >> contact) seems to build upon the notion of psychosocial systems. This
> >> sounds very much in line with Vygotsky, who surely is a central
> >> source. Again, here I would love to hear what other insights/sources
> >> are involved that may provide new insights to those more familiar to
> >> CHAT but not so much with CC and Delta theory.
> >> Thanks,
> >> Alfredo
> >> ________________________________________
> >> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> >> <email@example.com> on behalf of mike cole
> >> <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >> Sent: 18 March 2016 02:39
> >> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> >> Subject: [Xmca-l] Article for Discussion
> >> Dear XCMA-er-o-philes-
> >> We thought it appropriate to put up for discussion the paper by
> >> Roland Tharp and Cliff O'Donnell from the most recent issue of MCA.
> >> Roland wanted to stimulate discussion among what he and Cliff saw as
> >> people with a strong family resemblance. He passed away before this
> >> part of the discussion could take place.
> >> Roland and Cliff argue for the mutual relevance of Cultural Community
> >> Psychology and Vygotskian inspired research in the approach referred
> >> to often in these pages as CHAT, not only because it is an acronym
> >> for cultural-historical activity theory, but because we have a
> >> tradition of chatting here about the ideas in papers that sample our
> >> different interests.
> >> In this case, Cliff is intending to send this message and an
> >> invitation to people from Community Psychology to join in. May it be
> >> celebratory of Roland's long life seeking to promote growth enhancing
> >> communication.
> >> get your copy at
> >> http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/current
> >> Enjoy, and of course, send along to others you think might be
> >> interested.
> >> Its legal, free, above board, and, hopefully, interesting!
> >> mike
> >> --
> >> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
> >> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch
> > Clifford R. O'Donnell, Ph.D.
> > Professor Emeritus
> > Past-President, Society for Community Research and Action (APA
> > Division 27)
> > University of Hawai'i
> > Department of Psychology
> > 2530 Dole Street
> > Honolulu, HI 96822
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