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[Xmca-l] Re: The Learning Sciences in the era of U.S. Nationalism

Helena, yes that was it 'Pride'!

The second part of the question you posed:

I lazily used 'transposition' and its not Bourdieu's word: he argues that
every cultural field has a power structure that is to a large degree
homologous to THE FIELD OF POWER whose basis is largely that of economic
capital, albeit that there is some 'autonomous' structure of cultural
capital in the field that implies there is 'work' to be done in
transforming economic capital into cultural capital and vice versa (you
can't simply 'buy' the papacy or the presidential palace, but money plus
other capitals might do the trick). I wrote about this a bit in a recent
MCA paper (Choudry & Williams 2016?).

In this view then the academic field(s) of power might be revealed as
being a 'transposed' (if you forgive my short-hand for Bourdieu's
perspective) version of that of the Field of Power at large, which is in
turn transposed into the gender politics field that the women
marchers/LGBT activists are engaged in.

The right kind of social analysis is supposed to help the gay pride
marchers to recognise that they are on the same side as the striking
miners; failures to get this right and make this visible is the main
reason why Trump and Co can win, and why Trumps may be even a necessary
risk for the ruling class to break up the resistance to their domination
in tough times (i.e. The Davos crowd would rather do it the Clintons' way,
but in hard times fascism may be needed to culturally dispossess the
already dispossessed so they can be crushed).

Now I go to the first part of your question:

I like the way you put it here - and it points to a weakness in Bourdieu's
reflexive sociology (he sees it as the job of the sociologist-activist to
raise consciousness; while Id say with Freire that it is all our jobs).

It is true that even though I should be expected (as a well-paid and
comfortably middle-classed professional) to side with conservatism, I find
myself culturally disposed to side with the oppressed, e.g. supporting
Momentum and the Labour left.  The oppressed can have many allies on this
basis as well as those who actually are economically and politically

But then I am torn: there are many things that I 'have to do' to maintain
a position of power in the academic field that are downright exploitative
and oppressive. So in my academic work I may (at least sometimes) be part
of the problem rather than the solution. I think what the Cognition &
Instruction authors were suggesting was that the Learning sciences could
be more 'part of the solution' if they develop a progressive
perspective/agenda for their LS research… e.g. Critiquing the 'what works'
type of domination of the field. Im OK with that.

Hope this makes some sense and I didn't 'lose the momentum' of the thread.


On 24/01/2017 04:29, "xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu on behalf of Helena
Worthen" <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu on behalf of
helenaworthen@gmail.com> wrote:

>Julian, the movie you’re thinking of is Pride.
>Are you suggesting stepping from looking at and studying identity groups
>to “coming out” as being a member of one, and then in full feather of
>one’s identity, relating to the stranger across the aisle?
>But could you please explain what this means: “…..whose cultural capital
>in his analysis is a transposition of the dominant economic, capitalist
>class.”  What does “transposition” mean here?
>Thanks —
>Helena Worthen
>Berkeley, CA 94707
>Blog about US and Viet Nam: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
>> On Jan 23, 2017, at 10:49 AM, Julian Williams
>><julian.williams@manchester.ac.uk> wrote:
>> Dear Helena and all
>> The victories of the right in the US and Europe surely cannot be
>> only by cultural identity issues, and not only by the disaffection of
>> workers with their traditional (-ly hopeless social democratic) parties,
>> though these are important elements of the situation that are making the
>> far right a possible option for capital.
>> Surely we have to look at the global failure of capitalism: the reasons
>> are essentially economic. Our rulers seem ever more desperate to manage
>> rate of profit that will satisfy capital and it seems a small portion of
>> them are prepared to back the far right as an option on the political
>> field if necessary. Not yet a significant minority of the Davos class,
>> because they still need to be convinced that the traditional order
>> be made to work, but the Murdoch's and the UKIP/ Tory petit bourgeois
>> backbone are nearly there already: Trump himself is pretty much there,
>> is Le Pen et al, ..
>> Within this context, and more if/when another 2008 crash hits, the
>> strategy will grow more attractive as the rightist parties attract more
>> disaffected workers, non-workers and petit bourgeois. All the
>> cultural-ideological elements of fascism and nationalism are there in
>> Uk and France/Netherlands etc just as bad as in Trumpland. (Hey Trump
>> didn't even get the majority vote - on any democratic conception he has
>> right to have been declared a winnerŠ. Unless we can declare 'Remain' a
>> victory because its 48% vote is represented in our parliament by a
>> majority of the representatives?)
>> What can 'we' do? Only to keep trying to clarify it, keep telling it as
>> is and might be. What part a conceptualisation of perezhivanie has in
>> I don't know - but it might be worth re-reading 'The struggle against
>> fascism in Germany' again (not being ironic). The lesson then/there was
>> block with Social Democracy and labour unions/parties while explaining
>> failures, helping their support to move left as well as showing there is
>> an alternative to the alternative (here we have Corbyn and momentum; the
>> US have Bernie and ?).
>> But maybe this strategy is not enough? What else? I think there are
>> important interventions also in the cultural fields and so identity is
>> issue for capital. I wrote a bit about this from Bourdieu's perspectiveŠ
>> what progressives in every field have in common is that they resist the
>> dominant powers in their cultural  field - whose cultural capital in his
>> analysis is a transposition of the dominant economic, capitalist class.
>> That¹s what LGBT, underprivileged groups, national/ethnic minorities,
>> everywhere have in common, if we can be helped to see itŠ like that film
>> of the gay rights activists from London who marched to South Wales to
>> support the miners strikeŠ and the miners who in returned joined a gay
>> rights march in LondonŠ what was that called?
>> Julian. 
>> On 23/01/2017 17:55, "xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu on behalf of
>> Worthen" <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu on behalf of
>> helenaworthen@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Well, yes. Good question: How?  I take it Francine is not asking this
>>> ironically: she really wants us to figure out how.
>>> The challenge is to answer the question.
>>> I don¹t think any of us have a quick answer, but it certainly is a
>>> question that is within our collective knowledge to address.
>>> H
>>> Helena Worthen
>>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
>>> Berkeley, CA 94707
>>> Blog about US and Viet Nam: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
>>>> On Jan 22, 2017, at 7:32 PM, Larry Smolucha <lsmolucha@hotmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>> Message from Francine Smolucha:
>>>> The key to an analysis of the Trump movement is understanding the
>>>> fundamental IRONIES that have rocked American politics.
>>>> The workers revolution has resulted in the
>>>> workers/unions deserting the Left, the socialists, the Democratic
>>>> Trump is a Capitalist regardless of whether he actually has a
>>>> Republican ideology.
>>>> The workers' movement has been hijacked by a capitalist.
>>>> The other great IRONY is that Trump wants to make Russia a U.S. ally
>>>> (again).
>>>> The Left, the socialists, the Democratic Party are the ones demonizing
>>>> Russia -
>>>> what a reversal!
>>>> Since CHAT derives from Russian psychology (Leontiev and Vygotsky) and
>>>> the backlash against Trump is also a backlash against all things
>>>> -  this puts CHAT in a particularly awkward position. How can a
>>>> historical psychology that originated in Russia become the leader in
>>>> anti-Trump discourse? or lead an anti-Trump educational movement? You
>>>> are even extolling a Russian concept PEREZHIVANIE.
>>>> I think the XMCA needs to examine its own perezhivanie at this time.
>>>> ________________________________
>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>> on behalf of mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
>>>> Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2017 3:01 PM
>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>> Cc: Mariane Hedegaard; Reijo Miettinen; Seth Chaiklin
>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Learning Sciences in the era of U.S.
>>>> Nationalism
>>>> Helena et al --
>>>> An important emphasis in the article for me was on the fact that
>>>> although
>>>> the article focused on the American nationalist movement that has just
>>>> pulled of an alt-right coup, similar movements are poised to take hold
>>>> in a
>>>> lot of places in Europe to join the many already entrenched unsavory
>>>> governments in other parts of the world.
>>>> The CRADLE center in Helsinki is under very concerted attack and the
>>>> right
>>>> wing government appears, from this distance, to be making great
>>>> progress on
>>>> destroying its legacy. The same process has been in Denmark for some
>>>> time,
>>>> also with apparent success.
>>>> What do our international colleagues who have already felt the hot
>>>> breath
>>>> of right wing nationalism have to offer in terms of strategies of
>>>> resistence?
>>>> Back to "what is to be done," that sombre question from an earlier
>>>> The
>>>> answer last time did not produce what it promised.
>>>> mike
>>>> mike
>>>> On Sun, Jan 22, 2017 at 12:22 PM, Helena Worthen
>>>> <helenaworthen@gmail.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Thank you, Alfredo - I gave it a read.
>>>>> Sure, of course they¹re right. But I am very disappointed.
>>>>> I was hoping that the following was only item #1 in a long list of
>>>>> "what
>>>>> the 2016 election made apparent":
>>>>> The 2016 election has made apparent the need for scholarship that
>>>>> explicitly defends and furthers the rights and well-being of people
>>>>> color, immigrants, Muslims, women, people who are differently abled,
>>>>> LGBTQ
>>>>> communities, and the earth. These are stances that have been limited,
>>>>> at
>>>>> least explicitly, in the Learning Sciences.
>>>>> But the call for inclusion was not just #1, it seems to be the whole
>>>>> thing.  In other words, it¹s all about identity ‹plus the earth, of
>>>>> course.
>>>>> While inclusion is necessary, it¹s not even a start. Yes, research,
>>>>> teaching, publishing, promotion, conferences ‹ everything associated
>>>>> with
>>>>> teaching and learning has to include everyone as equals (see Andy¹s
>>>>> book)
>>>>> in one way or another ‹ but then what? What are they (we) supposed to
>>>>> do?
>>>>> Where does the pretty language touch the ground?
>>>>> I was listening to a broadcast of the Women¹s March in DC on Saturday
>>>>> morning, and Kamala Harris, who was the California State Attorney
>>>>> General
>>>>> and is now a junior Senator from CA, was addressing the rally. She
>>>>> said,
>>>>> ³People always ask me to talk about women¹s issues. I say, ŒOh, I¹m
>>>>> glad
>>>>> you¹re interested in economics!! Let¹s talk about economics.²  And
>>>>> ran
>>>>> through a whole set of parallel back-and-forths, always pulling
>>>>> identity
>>>>> questions back to wages, jobs, earning, supporting your family, etc
>>>>> etc.
>>>>> Much as we need to wipe away any barriers to the Learning Sciences
>>>>> the professions and institutions dedicated to them) due to identity,
>>>>> until
>>>>> the Learning Sciences start taking a look at the place where most
>>>>> people
>>>>> spend most of their lives ‹ not school, I mean ‹ but work, they will
>>>>> engaging in a soft conversation at the edge of the real issue. It¹s a
>>>>> pleasant conversation but it doesn¹t put a hand on the levers that
>>>>> translate skill and knowledge into rent and groceries.
>>>>> H
>>>>> Helena Worthen
>>>>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
>>>>> Berkeley, CA 94707
>>>>> Blog about US and Viet Nam: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
>>>>>> On Jan 22, 2017, at 11:38 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> Here it is,
>>>>>> http://cognitionandinstruction.com/engagements-the-learning-
>>>>> sciences-in-a-new-era-of-u-s-nationalism/
>>>>>> Alfredo
>>>>>> ________________________________________
>>>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>>>> <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>>>> on behalf of Helena Worthen <helenaworthen@gmail.com>
>>>>>> Sent: 22 January 2017 20:24
>>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Learning Sciences in the era of U.S.
>>>>> Nationalism
>>>>>> Someone please re-send the link to this article?  I think I¹m going
>>>>> want to read it and respond to Mike¹s question.
>>>>>> Thanks ‹ H
>>>>>> Helena Worthen
>>>>>> helenaworthen@gmail.com
>>>>>> Berkeley, CA 94707
>>>>>> Blog about US and Viet Nam: helenaworthen.wordpress.com
>>>>>>> On Jan 22, 2017, at 12:25 AM, Alfredo Jornet Gil
>>>>>>> <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>> Mike,
>>>>>>> thanks a lot for sharing this article. You and Michael, who have
>>>>> know more history, have spoken in terms of reminiscences. I have
>>>>> and
>>>>> know less, and the article feels like fresh air. During my PhD, I
>>>>> begun to
>>>>> increasingly feel that I had to due something to act and respond to
>>>>> increasing ecological and humanitarian globe crises. But how could I
>>>>> anything if I had children and a PhD to finalise?? What could I do
>>>>> would also be doing my job as researcher in a department of
>>>>> It
>>>>> was very difficult to find anything, partly because almost every
>>>>> academic
>>>>> quest would focus on learning, but so little on social development.
>>>>> many scientific articles are dedicated to socio-political questions
>>>>> the
>>>>> most cited educational journals? I felt very powerless.
>>>>>>> To be able to address these questions within my expertise, is a
>>>>> challenge partly because contrary to Dewey's hope, educational
>>>>> research has
>>>>> only marginally focused on these questions, and yet they may be
>>>>> exactly the
>>>>> question that matter to education. What are we educating for? Indeed,
>>>>> what
>>>>> is education for? I think we face a serious problem when someone
>>>>> myself), being an educational researchers/scholar, still has to
>>>>> scratch her
>>>>> head wondering <<how can I make my profession matter to social change
>>>>> and
>>>>> development?>> Vygotsky would be shocked!
>>>>>>> Alfredo
>>>>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>>>>> <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>>>> on behalf of mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
>>>>>>> Sent: 19 January 2017 04:51
>>>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: The Learning Sciences in the era of U.S.
>>>>> Nationalism
>>>>>>> Yes Michael,
>>>>>>> It feels like the world of the later 1930's about the time I was
>>>>>>> born as
>>>>>>> that period came down to me through the prism of a family of
>>>>>>> "premature
>>>>>>> anti fascists."
>>>>>>> For a great re-creation of those times see the highly ambivalent
>>>>>>> film by
>>>>>>> Frank Capra, "meet John Doe." It has American big capital
>>>>>>> interconnected
>>>>>>> with fascism combined with populist collectivism in a manner that
>>>>> points at
>>>>>>> the media (as then experienced) as the bad guys in disguise. Happy
>>>>> Ending,
>>>>>>> Beethoven Ode to Joy and all.
>>>>>>> It's come round again, nastier this time.
>>>>>>> Mike
>>>>>>> On Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 6:20 PM Glassman, Michael
>>>>>>> <glassman.13@osu.edu>
>>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>>>> Mike
>>>>>>>> It was so interesting to read this note after reading the
>>>>>>>> and
>>>>>>>> Instruction essay.  All the way through it I kept thinking we have
>>>>>>>> been
>>>>>>>> here before.  It reminded me of the scholars, especially those who
>>>>>>>> had
>>>>>>>> escaped from Germany, trying to make sense of what had happened to
>>>>> their
>>>>>>>> society during World War II.  The foremost in my mind was Lewin.
>>>>> Except I
>>>>>>>> wonder if he would say the process of transformative action starts
>>>>>>>> not
>>>>> with
>>>>>>>> emergence of quasi-needs, but our willingness and abilities to
>>>>> back
>>>>>>>> from our quasi-needs and the ways that they drive us, often to
>>>>>>>> dysfunctional behaviors that it ultimately destructive to both our
>>>>> society
>>>>>>>> and to us as individuals.  How hard this is to do, we have to keep
>>>>> going
>>>>>>>> back again and again.  The quasi-needs, tribalism, acceptance,
>>>>> standing are
>>>>>>>> always there.  It is how they shape us that is critical.
>>>>>>>> Michael
>>>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
>>>>>>>> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
>>>>>>>> Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 8:31 PM
>>>>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
>>>>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] The Learning Sciences in the era of U.S.
>>>>>>>> Nationalism
>>>>>>>> In following  the perezhivanie thread I encountered the note I
>>>>> re-membered.
>>>>>>>> And interestingly mis-remembered. A translation into my focus on
>>>>>>>> mediational means. He places the starting point of the process of
>>>>>>>> transformative action at the emergence of quasi-needs (from Kurt
>>>>> Lewin).
>>>>>>>> That seems correct to me. The new mediational means emerge under
>>>>>>>> environmental presses. Ever functionalist ego need a goal(!). (The
>>>>> problem
>>>>>>>> with functionalism) In David's words,
>>>>>>>> Perhaps the place we should look for "exaptations" that can save
>>>>>>>> both
>>>>> our
>>>>>>>> personalities and our environment is not in our evolved needs, but
>>>>>>>> in
>>>>> yet
>>>>>>>> to be designed quasi-needs. Artificial organs, after all, always
>>>>> suggest
>>>>>>>> new and ever more artificial functions, like chess and language.
>>>>>>>> This point seems worth keeping in mind as we look at where this
>>>>>>>> group
>>>>> of
>>>>>>>> critical scholars who work within the Learning Sciences
>>>>>>>> framework would like to lead us.
>>>>>>>> mike