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[Xmca-l] Re: Which comes first, context or text?



I think what is so powerful about human ontogeny is the constant reinvention (or reimagining) of culturally organised categories by (more or less) culturally organised people. The image I hold from Vygotsky's discussion of the relationship between spontaneous and 'scientific' or 'schooled' categories is shaped by Hofstadter's tree of thought

“We can liken the thought processes to a tree whose visible part stands sturdily above ground but depends vitally on its invisible roots which extend way below ground giving it stability and nourishment.  In this case the roots symbolize complex processes which take place below the level of the [conscious] mind – processes whose effects permeate the way we think but of which we are unaware”  Gödel Escher, Bach: 569

Spontaneous concepts (patterns found in our own experience) come up from our roots to give body and vitality to the culturally organised categories which come down to us through our branches, giving form and 'thinkaboutability' to our experience. Your own kaleidoscope of experience may not be readily traceable in your felt response to the flash of the oriole but it will have made that experience distinctively your own. I am sure you are familiar also with Dewey's observation that:

"We rarely recognize the extent in which our conscious estimates of what is worthwhile and what is not, are due to standards of which we are not conscious at all. But in general it may be said that the things which we take for granted without enquiry or reflection are just the things which determine our conscious thinking and decide our conclusions. And these habitudes which lie below the level of reflection are just those which have been formed in the constant give and take of relationship with others" (Democracy and Education, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/852/852-h/852-h.htm )

What I find mind-boggling is the 'fractal' way in which language allows us to share (albeit only ever partially) in the 'habitudes which lie below the level of reflection' of other people. So your experience of that oriole moment might be coloured and given vitality not only by your own  lived experience of watching birds and sharing the pleasure of birdwatching with others but also by stories, poems, films, conversations, anecdotes and any number of other cultural tools for meaning sharing - tools which allow you to read through particular structures of words or signs to get a glimpse (a flash?) of what things MEAN to another person. And what things mean to that other person will in turn have been calibrated and tuned up through that person's exposure to glimpses of meaning for others. So even the intensely sensory jolt of colour from the oriole sparks a pattern of meaning which would not exist in quite the same form were it not for a whole history of cultural activity.

I think second language learning is markedly distinct from first language(s) learning because the learner of a second language already has words to describe what is being learned (words like 'word', 'meaning', 'language', 'talk' etc.). The blend of what comes from roots and what comes from branches is very different!

It is fascinating to look at the shifts in terminology used to capture the magic of children's discovery of the shareableness of meaning - 'joint attention', 'joint mediated activity', 'shared attention', etc. What is fascinating both for infants and for their caregivers is the way meaning can provide insights into what it is like to be someone else. When I notice what something means to YOU I learn something about what is distinctive about you, so our sense of other selves is constructed from our sensitivity to the way an experience is refracted differently in its meaning for different people. Noticing what others notice doesn't only give us glimpses of other selfs, it also, indirectly, offers us an opportunity to see back through the history that has shaped other people's ways of noticing things. The more people we get to know, the more sensitive and nuanced our noticings may become, as we notice how noticing differs between people and between contexts.

However much we are able to notice, there is always more behind and beneath, of which we are not conscious at all.

All the best,

Rod



-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
Sent: 28 March 2016 17:33
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Which comes first, context or text?

Sorry to be slow in following up here, Rod. And as usual, topics get a little jumbled up.

We were back here:

Mike:  The internal dialogue of consciousness available to an adult is sort of like sharing with oneself over time.

You wrote, in an earlier note, in part:

 *I would say that for you, as an already accomplished participant in a culture of concept systems, the sharing of your oriole experience might well be with a whole host of internalised others.

We got off on the "sharing part"  of this topic, but we did not hold onto the "me as adult suffused with concepts embodied in language/culture."

I take it that what you and David were discussing is the nature of experience before I was an adult, say, when I was 18 months old. That matrix of concepts has been only very diffusely congealed into anything so spatio/temporally distinctive as the sound package "oriole." The developmental question becomes how the biologically developing human organism acquires/is acquired by such ​culturally organized categories.

If I understood David, he said it was through a process of second language learning. Is that how you conceive of the process?

Tomasello et al seem relevant to this discussion because they have looked in such interesting ways at the ontogenetic origins of joint mediated activity.

So much to take into account!!
mike
​

On Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 11:31 AM, Rod Parker-Rees

Yes indeed but how much is the oneself that one shares with really one's
> 'own' self, and how much a composite, formed out of previous
> interactions with others?
>
> Surely this sort of internalised conversation is an example of
> Vygotsky's 'Higher Mental Functions' - taken in from experience in social interactions.
>
> ailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> [mailto:
> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
> Sent: 22 March 2016 16:29
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Which comes first, context or text?
>
> This is very much along the lines of what I was thinking Rod:
>
> *I would say that for you, as an already accomplished participant in a
> culture of concept systems, the sharing of your oriole experience
> might well be with a whole host of internalised others. As adults we
> can share an experience with our friends without needing them to be
> there ('X and Y would love this').*
>
> Except, i started to think, I can also share with myself, mediated by
> that same system of concepts. I can stand there and, post facto,
> think, "Gee, its sure rare to see an oriole" and think about last time
> I saw one there, or remind myself to get some grape jelly to see if I
> can entice more to come visit. And I can sure think about telling my
> wife when I go back into the house and the pleasure she will get from
> knowing we had a distinguished visitor.
>
> The internal dialogue of consciousness available to an adult is sort
> of like sharing with oneself over time. Dialogic imagination?
>
> mike
>
>
>
>
> On Tue, Mar 22, 2016 at 1:23 AM, Rod Parker-Rees <
> R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:
>
> > Mike,
> >
> > I would say that for you, as an already accomplished participant in
> > a culture of concept systems, the sharing of your oriole experience
> > might well be with a whole host of internalised others. As adults we
> > can share an experience with our friends without needing them to be
> > there ('X and Y would love this') - and of course social media
> > allows us to share experiences with remote friends, though I am not
> > sure that the pleasure of sharing is of quite the same order - maybe
> > it is more so for digital natives.
> >
> > My interest in 'which comes first' is really ontological - I would
> > have to argue that for any individual person context always comes
> > first because we are born into a pre-existing (albeit fluid) culture.
> > I am also inclined to go along with Steven Mithen's contention (e.g.
> > in 'The Singing
> > Neanderthals') that interactions and relations, first expressed
> > through movements and vocalisations, must have preceded any form of
> language.
> >
> > An image which I particularly like is of a mountain rising out of
> > lush, verdant valleys. Down in the valleys life is abundant, rich
> > and complicated but as one ascends the mountain the vegetation gives
> > way to
> ice and snow.
> > The air becomes clear and cold and one can see for miles. Climbing
> > is a very direct form of abstraction, lifting oneself out of the
> > muddle of context to be able to see further and more clearly. But
> > you can't live up there for long. Very young children live in the
> > foothills but they don't have to find their own ways up to higher
> > places because they are able to see their parents and siblings making the ascent.
> >
> > For me it is a particular challenge to try to imagine what it is
> > like to be a two-year-old, not yet able to lift oneself out of one's
> > immediate context to think 'about' things but instead able to think
> > in and with the things and people and interactions that make up
> > one's environment or context. I would argue that it is easy to
> > forget this
> 'withness thinking'
> > as John Shotter calls it, once thought is marshalled by more or less
> > shared concept systems. Even the most abstract of thinkers still
> > have to come down the mountain sometimes to engage with other
> > people, to eat, wash and sleep and these contexts of lived practice
> > are also internalised, like the opinions of our friends, and become
> > part of our own relationships with our contexts.
> >
> > All the best,
> >
> > Rod
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
> > Sent: 22 March 2016 00:27
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Which comes first, context or text?
> >
> > Dear Colleagues.
> >
> > Mike:
> >
> > I did not intend to offer the oriole example as an example of
> > foreground and background, David. Rather, what I was after was the
> > process of an event becoming a semantic event. I was under the
> > influence of the discussion of fon/phonem and Rod's questions about
> which comes first.
> >
> >
> >
> > My example seems to fit Rod's specifies the process as I experienced
> > it pretty well. An initial flash of unexpected light for which there
> > is no name that becomes lexified as "the male oriole!"  But the
> > issue of sharing is a little problematic. Standing in the backyard,
> > not talking aloud, with whom was I sharing an event being woven into
> > a semantic event? The semantic event happened, but the sharing?
> >
> >
> >
> > It seems important that Tomsello's monumental corpus of work should
> > find its way into this discussion. And Nelson's too.
> >
> >
> >
> > Anyway, thanks to all for bringing round this topic. That it should
> > occur mutually relevant to community psychology and to whatever this
> > list represents, seems non-accidental.
> >
> >
> >
> > mike
> >
> >
> >
> > PS- On the question of context and figure/ground, I will send around
> > three uses of the metaphor of context as rope. Their variety of
> > origins/applications of the metaphor strike me as worth thinking
> > about and speak to David's characterization of my views.
> >
> > On Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 3:31 PM, Rod Parker-Rees <
> > R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:
> >
> > > This is helpful, David but I am not sure that your cline, as I
> > > understand it, fully recognises the asymmetries of texts framed in
> > > systems of
> > concepts
> > > and texts framed in 'real' things and interactions. For the infant
> > > there
> > is
> > > no significant distinction between the attention and activity and
> > > the knowledge which subtends them. Concepts, categories and words
> > > allow multiple instances to be woven into nameable ideas which can
> > > exist
> > outside
> > > any particular 'real' context and can therefore be shared but
> > > whether we think lived experience is reduced or elevated to
> > > shareable knowledge,
> > that
> > > knowledge can only be understood if it is given colour and
> > > vitality by 'spontaneous concepts'. So the wordy, abstractable
> > > text depends on every hearer/reader/participant's ability to
> > > connect shared branches with
> > private
> > > roots - breathing meaning into it but when meaning is shared
> > > directly, in shared attention, for example, it does not depend on
> participants'
> > ability
> > > to make connections with the branches of a system of concepts. It
> > > may be possible to put this sort of 'face to face' meaning sharing
> > > into words (though inevitably this will involve some reduction or
> > > elevation) but
> > this
> > > translation is not a necessary part of the experience of the text.
> > >
> > > I have a feeling that weather is already half way
> > > reduced/elevated, a generalisation which can describe an
> > > experience shared by many, even if
> > it
> > > has not attained the level of generalisation required for thinking
> > > about climate. Shared attention may be something more contained -
> > > a flash of lightning, a gust of wind or a flurry of snow on the
> > > face of
> that beast!
> > >
> > > It seems to me that what is required for an event to be woven into
> > > a semantic event is just that its noticing is shared. When infants
> > 'discover'
> > > that a previously undifferentiated 'Great We' can be
> > > differentiated into 'my attention' AND 'your attention' they can
> > > delight in the experience of 'locking on' which is felt when
> > > attention is shared. I am still very uncertain about the boundary
> > > beyond which an event can be thought of as semantic. I suspect
> > > that the felt familiarity of a situation which has
> > been
> > > shared before (like Andy's book sharing but not necessarily with
> > > anything as texty as a book) may be enough to produce a sense of
> > > 'Ah, I know what
> > to
> > > expect here' which might convert an experience into a kind of
> > > experience, elevating it (or reducing it) out of the weather of
> context.
> > >
> > > It is difficult to form uncertain ideas into texts which stand a
> > > chance
> > of
> > > sharing meaning with people I have never even met but grappling
> > > with
> > these
> > > posts does sometimes bring me up with a flash of connection (or
> > > what
> > feels
> > > to me like connection!). I did like the footprints in the snow.
> > >
> > > All the best,
> > >
> > > Rod
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> > > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of David Kellogg
> > > Sent: 21 March 2016 20:57
> > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Which comes first, context or text?
> > >
> > > Rod:
> > >
> > > I think the word "context" will work just fine. We just have to
> > > see a cline of instantiation, from the context of culture (the
> > > speech community as a whole, seen as the sum total of all the
> > > persons who speak a
> > language)
> > > and the context of situation (the elements of the context of
> > > culture and the elements of a material situational setting which
> > > are selected to be semanticized in a given exchange). This cline
> > > of instantiation between context of culture and context of
> > > situation is exactly what Malinowski describes in the long
> > > addendum he appended to
> "The Meaning of Meaning"
> > > in Ogden and Richards, except that Malinowski is not so clear
> > > about distinguishing between a material situational setting and a
> > > context of situation.
> > >
> > > Halliday (who was a big influence on Stephen P. Witte) describes
> > > the relationship between context of culture and context of
> > > situation as being like weather and climate: two different
> > > perspectives brought about by two different timescales on one and the same phenomenon.
> > > The difference in timescale does mean that in a context of culture
> > > certain phenomena which
> > I
> > > will call cultural and social are foregrounded and other phenomena
> > > which
> > I
> > > will call interpersonal and psychological are backgrounded, while
> > > in a context of situation, we find things the other way around:
> > > the interpersonal and psychological is made explicit and thus
> > > tends to get foregrounded while the cultural and social are left
> > > implicit and
> > therefore
> > > backgrounded. This is not that different from climate and
> > > weather: with climate, what is decisive is the angle of the sun
> > > and the extent to which the earth retains solar radiation and what
> > > is accidental
> > is
> > > the patterns of air movement, while with weather what is decisive
> > > is the pattern of air movement and the incidence of solar
> > > radiation is...well, incidental.
> > >
> > > Mike likes to say that foreground and background "create each other"
> > > I think that's one reason he is so taken with his orioles and with
> > > McDermott's spirals/concentric circles. I am less taken with these:
> > > taken too far, they set my dialectics against my materialism. To
> > > me the reason why the infant must give up proto-speech and learn
> > > mother tongue as a SECOND language is because in the long run
> > > climate determines weather rather than the other way around; in a
> > > language, the context of culture
> > is
> > > ultimately mightier than the context of situation even though (and
> > > even precisely because) the context of culture is really nothing
> > > more than the sum total of contexts of situations.
> > >
> > > But let us apply Mike's principle here. If context and text really
> > > do create each other (and if they evolve, as you and Katherine
> > > Nelson and
> > also
> > > Vygotsky describe, out of an undifferentiated joint attention)
> > > then we should be able to find a counterpart to text at one end of
> > > the cline of instantiation as easily as we do at the other.
> > >
> > > So we do. The counterpart to a context of situation is, of course,
> > > a
> > text,
> > > so long as we see text as a semantic event and not simply the
> > > recording thereof in paper and ink. Text is what people like to
> > > call discourse, but such is the conservatism of academics we tend
> > > to associate text with writing rather than with thinking and with
> > > speech. If that were text, though, infants would have to wait for
> > > half a decade for it, and they don't. Text is semantic; we have
> > > text wherever we have the analysis of a setting into a context and
> > > the sharing of that analysis through communication. Text is the
> > > beast itself and not simply its footprints in the snow.
> > >
> > > And the counterpart to a context of culture? It's just the sum
> > > total of everything that a speech community writes, reads, speaks
> > > and
> understands:
> > > it's the sum total of text produced in a language. But my point
> > > was that it's text, or anyway the socio/cultural equivalent of
> > > text (and in some cases, e.g. the Torah or the Confucian Classics,
> > > it's literally reducible to a handful of written texts). It's not
> > > just "behaviour", or "activity", or "production".
> > >
> > > It's not behaviour because it's more about knowing than doing.
> > > It's not activity because it's not defined by single goals. And
> > > it's not
> > production
> > > because there is no exchanging of labor and capital, no production
> > > of commodities, no use or exchange value, just "value" tout court.
> > > But it's value to which every infant is invited to partake, and in
> > > at least one
> > way
> > > the infant's understanding of what is going on with the context of
> > culture
> > > is more accurate than ours. Infants, unlike adults, appear to
> > > assume that since attention and even activity is shared, the
> > > knowledge which subtends them must be shared as well.
> > >
> > > David Kellogg
> > > Macquarie University
> > >
> > >
> > > On Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 8:01 PM, Rod Parker-Rees <
> > > R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:
> > >
> > > > David,
> > > >
> > > > I have opened a new strand to avoid distracting from the
> > > > discussion of the Tharp and O'Donnell article.
> > > >
> > > > If we go back to the roots of text in weaving it makes sense
> > > > that, in the wider sense to which you allude, text is always
> > > > between people. It is when people connect their interests in
> > > > some way and share meanings that stuff and events get woven into
> > > > text. Even if you hadn't said anything when you presented the
> > > > book to the 9 month old baby, the second presentation would be
> > > > recognised as a social event - 'Oh yes, this thing that we do'
> > > > and this feeling of shared experience does seem to play an important part in infants'
> > > > assisted ability to weave public, cultural meanings into their
> private, personal experiences.
> > > >
> > > > As Vygotsky noted, infants develop within an already woven
> > > > context of culture so what happens to and around them is
> > > > pre-patterned and because humans are oddly interested in what
> > > > their infants are interested in, interactions serve to model
> > > > particular weaving patterns and styles. Studies by Tomasello,
> > > > Moll and colleagues (discussed in
> > > Moll, H. and Meltzoff, A.
> > > > (2011) Joint Attention as the fundamental basis of understanding
> > > > perspectives. In A. Seemann (ed.) Joint Attention: new
> > > > developments in psychology, philosophy of mind, and social
> > > > neuroscience. Cambridge,
> > > > MA: MIT Press, 393-413) show that 12 month old infants appear to
> > > > 'remember' their interactions with a researcher and selected
> > > > toys but only if they have played with the toys together -
> > > > watching the researcher play with the toys, or playing with them
> > > > while the researcher watches, does not provide enough embodied,
> > > > enactive, interactive experience to shape future interactions
> > > > (and the infant's knowledge is 'context specific' - not extended
> > > > to other researchers or
> > > other toys).
> > > >
> > > > So there is a naming problem here. Is there, as you say, no
> > > > context without specific, personally experienced and woven text?
> > > > Or is there a pre-existing context which, as yet unbeknown to
> > > > the weaver, influences and guides the texts which come to be formed?
> > > > Infants are surrounded by a cultural context which is richly and
> > > > densely shaped by the concept systems which have evolved out of
> > > > the patterns in people's behaviour. What their caregivers do
> > > > with, to and around them is shaped both by what those caregivers
> > > > have seen other people do and by a long history of people
> > > > hearing and reading about what other people do and have done. I
> > > > would like to be able to use context to refer to the culturally
> > > > patterned environment in which infants are helped to notice
> > > > particular kinds of patterns but you want the word (if I have
> > > > understood correctly
> > > > - and what are the chances?) to refer to a personal frame of
> > > > reference. This is helpful for me, highlighting the way the 'same'
> > > > cultural environment can be woven into different contexts by
> > > > different weavers, but that leaves me needing another word for
> > > > the co-woven, negotiated environment which enables infants to
> > > > join in before they have sorted out or internalised the concept
> > > > systems which shape it. And which allows someone entering a new
> > > > job or a new role to sidle in from peripheral participation to
> > > > feeling they belong
> > at
> > > the core of the group.
> > > >
> > > > If you haven't already read Katherine Nelson's 'Young Minds in
> > > > Social
> > > > Worlds: experience, meaning and memory' (Harvard 2007) I would
> > > > strongly recommend this - she develops a strongly Vygotskyan
> > > > argument that infant development has to be understood in terms
> > > > of interwoven processes of making sense and making relationships
> > > > - drawing together a huge amount of research on early
> > > > communication
> and meaning sharing.
> > > >
> > > > All the best,
> > > >
> > > > Rod
> > > >
> > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> > > > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of David Kellogg
> > > > Sent: 20 March 2016 20:31
> > > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Article for Discussion
> > > >
> > > > Rod:
> > > >
> > > > 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 second.
> > > >
> > > > 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?)
> > > >
> > > > David Kellogg
> > > > Macquarie University
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > On Sun, Mar 20, 2016 at 10:14 PM, Rod Parker-Rees <
> > > > R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > 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,
> > > > >
> > > > > Rod
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> > > > > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Andy Blunden
> > > > > Sent: 20 March 2016 10:34
> > > > > To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > > > > 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
> > > assimilated.
> > > > > 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
> > > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > > *Andy Blunden*
> > > > > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/ 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: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > > > > >> <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of mike cole
> > > > > >> <mcole@ucsd.edu>
> > > > > >> 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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