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[Xmca-l] Re: Solids and Liquids/Entities and dynamic flows

Many thanks for this, Mike.

I too would love to read this article. I am particularly interested in the way many cultures (some more than others) tend to nail down flows and processes by turning verbs into nouns. While there is a developmental model which emphasises flow and change there are others which aim to halt or dam the flow by identifying stages (like locks along a river?) which can be thought about more as things. And there are versions of social psychology which focus more on relationships, interactions and intersubjectivity.

I think there is something about the necessary abstractness of concepts (which have to be sufficiently pulled out from specific contexts to allow them to be shared) that draws them towards reification, turning a flow into a thing (the river, the flow!). But in our lived experience the past runs into the present and the future also shapes the flow. I think the idea of perezhivanie catches this idea of a reciprocity between our past social experiences and the way we make sense of what flows our way.

Sorry if this seems vague and fluid!

All the best,


On 6 Aug 2016 1:23 am, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
I stumbled over an article on the "the psychological foundations of
culture" with a summary/discussion article by Adams and Markus. (ref
below). The authors contrast two prominent definitions/theories of culture
prominent in the literature on the relationship between culture and human
psychological processes. The characterization struck me forcefully as an
example of Bauman's solid-liquid distinction in a different discourse
stream, providing food for thought on the topic of mind, culture, and

One approach is closely related to developmental approaches such as my own,
Barbara Rogoff, Patricia Greenfield, Mike Tomasello). It traces its origins
to ploughshares and agriculture, the process of making things grow,
nurturing. a process transpiring over time. The other (Social Psychology)
adopts "the customary beliefs, social forms, of a racial, religious, or
social group."

The first, developmental approach is said to view "culture as dynamic
process or flowing medium" while the second, social psychology view is
described as an "entity conception of culture." The entity conception
"implies a conception of culture as a relatively 'fixed' system of
"customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits." It also associates
this system with readily identifiable 'racial, religious, or social group."

The authors then list "several undesireable consequences" of adopting the
entity point of view. I found these very interesting. I will just list
them. If there is sufficient interest I can get a scan of the chapter made.





There is, unfortunately, no similar list for the liquid, developmental,
perspective. Liquids, Bauman remind us can spill and spoil the rug and need
to be contained. They flow, to be sure, but that flow is constrained by a

The authors adopt a view they call "culture as patterns."

The juxtaposition of these readings and the ongoing discussion of the 11 ox
paintings has induced me to think again about long standing ideas. Always
enlightening. Thanks.



It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
that creates history. Ernst Boesch

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