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[Xmca-l] Re: Article for Discussion
- To: Andy Blunden <email@example.com>, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Article for Discussion
- From: Greg Thompson <email@example.com>
- Date: Wed, 23 Mar 2016 10:08:36 -0600
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Regarding your concern with the lock-step of feeling the same emotions and
values in the same situations, I wonder if the same might be said of your
concern with "the dangers inherent in appropriating expressions like
these," and your insistence on "shared concepts"
In the case of the concept, it seems like you may be asking for a lock-step
of harmonious meaning in which the meanings of a concept are policed (by
whom? whose conception of the concept rules the meaning?) to ensure that
everyone is "thinking the same thing" when they deploy the concept (e.g.,
"zone of proximal development").
I wonder if Starr's "boundary objects" might be useful here to free up
concepts a bit?
Can we imagine concepts being differently meaningful to different people
engaged in different activities? (and indeed, I wonder if this might be the
only way to ensure that a concept can exist).
I'm sympathetic to the concerns of some kind of Derrida-ian anarchy of
meaning in which nothing means anything, and I understand that the
particular value of a concept as a transformative act (e.g., to see the
world differently) often depends on a very particular and specific meaning
of that concept (the understanding of which has everything to do with the
cultural and historical context of that concept!).
But, when it comes to concepts, might there be some middle ground between
legislated lock-step meaning and anarchical, meaningless meaning? (and
perhaps this is necessary for "development" too, both individual and
community, for who was able to really "get" Vygotsky upon first
Andy, upon a second reading of your post, I suspect that this is what you
were getting at in your post, so please forgive me for sounding ignorant of
Delighted at the conversation about interdisciplinarity.
On Sun, Mar 20, 2016 at 4:34 AM, Andy Blunden <email@example.com> wrote:
> 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.
>> 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.
>>> 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
>>> to stimulate discussion among what he and Cliff saw as people with a
>>> family resemblance. He passed away before this part of the discussion
>>> 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
>>> In this case, Cliff is intending to send this message and an invitation
>>> 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
>>> Enjoy, and of course, send along to others you think might be interested.
>>> Its legal, free, above board, and, hopefully, interesting!
>>> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
>>> that creates history. Ernst Boesch
>> Clifford R. O'Donnell, Ph.D.
>> Professor Emeritus
>> Past-President, Society for Community Research and Action (APA Division
>> University of Hawai‘i
>> Department of Psychology
>> 2530 Dole Street
>> Honolulu, HI 96822
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602