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[Xmca-l] Re: Time for a Generational Change

Thank you Mike for your dedicated stewardship of the list. 
It's been an important part of my life for several decades, now, and because these kinds of communities are so rare, we don't have good ways to know the extent to which xlchc/XMCA's longevity owes to the constancy of your online presence--I guess we'll find out more about that as Alfredo takes the helm; good luck Alfredo. 

Your hope that MCA/XMCA might arrive at a cumulative discourse seems related--perhaps identical--to the possibility that psychology, itself, might pass from the what Kuhn called the pre-paradigm stage to full paradigmatic maturity characterized by an initial consensus of basic perspectives, or as you put it, "agreement on a broad set of principles/empirical embodiments and a research program that identifies the limits of the theory and the most fruitful lines of inquiry." Of course the difference is that you were talking just of the sociocultural/chat branch of psychology. But, somehow, the kinds of issues/controversies we confront on XMCA seem continuous with the broader issues that separate the major paradigms of psychology.

If Kuhn is correct then achieving this consensus is the principal underlying imperative across the many branches of psychology, though each is attempting to frame that future with itself as the unifying center. Beautiful technological platforms may  help, but it seems the final breakthrough, if it ever comes, will be intellectual.


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
Sent: Monday, October 24, 2016 12:36 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>; lchc-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
Subject: [Xmca-l] Time for a Generational Change

Hear Yee XMCA -O-Phytes.

Having removed myself from the active faculty of LCHC which is now in the capable hands of Angela Booker and Stephan Tanaka, the time has come for me to step back from the doings of MCA and XMCA.  At MCA the new editorial team of (in reverse alphabetical order, Jennifer Vadeboncoeur, Bonnie Nardi, Victor Kaptelinin, and Natalia Gajdamashko) has taken over as editors, and begun the process of carrying the enterprise into a new generation. I will remain as a kind of "editor for special projects" for the journal and will continue to participate in XMCA.

But with respect to XMCA it is past time for me to give up what David Kellogg has called my "pastoral" role in seeking to coordinate and develop discourse focused around provocative articles that appear in the journal.
The original idea was to provide authors with rapid feedback and public recognition instead of having to wait the 2-3 year cycle of replying via an authorized journal.

The reality, as you know, is somewhat different - a mélange of topics that intersect, loop back on themselves, and leak out into the semiosphere.

Luckily, Alfredo Jornet has offered to try his hand at the pastoral role, and will be recognized on the journal masthead as *MCA Forum Mediator*.
Alfredo brings to the task his early career in Spain, his later career in Norway, and his present career in Victoria. And all of this international experience before has started "his career." Brave soul. Alfredo and the editors are considering a variety of options for the future of the journal, including importantly, its status as a new medium promoting rapid exchange of the news between otherwise isolated scholars with complementary interests.

My participation in xlchc and then xmca has been central to my adult education, and I appreciate what I have learned here more than words can suffice to explain. There are not so many academic ecologies in the world, so enduring those that do spring up seems a worthwhile way to promote its reproduction.... keeping in mind Phillip White's reminder that the future of development is not predictable at the level of everyday experience.

As I see it, there are two major failures in this effort over the years.
The first is the enormous imbalance in the gender representation of the participants. With a few periods where the exceptions ended up proving the rule, female voices have been conspicuously absent. Academic "guy talk" has dominated. Understanding and, if possible, re-mediating that sad set of circumstances seems like a major task for the future.

Second, MCA discourse does not accumulate. The discussions are more like chaining than the development of new concepts. As in the Sakharov - Vygotsky blocks experiment, we talk about green triangles then blue triangles then blue squares, each a legitimate line of inquiry, but constantly changing criteria/topics as we go. Every once in a while we ascend to the level of pseudo-concepts (these are the cases that evoke the most controversy it seems to me). My fond hope is that Alfredo and our sometimes engaged tech gurus will provide a more supportive environment for the creation of "truce concepts" -- agreement on a broad set of principles/empirical embodiments and a research program that identifies the limits of the theory and the most fruitful lines of inquiry.

Thus spake