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[Xmca-l] Re: Wertsch is focusing on the concept of *settings* and I wonder if the notion of *human worlds* is considered equivalent to this notion of *settings* ?

Larry, all notions are linked, I am sure.

The idea of "settings" is a powerful one, used not only by Wertsch but others such as Hedegaard. The trouble I have with it is that it can function to blur some important distinctions. Is the setting an artefact (e.g. a type of building and related furniture and signage, etc., for example marking it as a school) or is it an activity (such as doing schoolwork). Extending this (example) what is the setting on a school field trip? - the ambiguity is of course a real one, not just an artefact of theory - on a field trip, in the absence of all the physical markers of the classroom, kids can mistakenly behave in a way inappropriate to school work. On the other hand, extending the same (example) in the other direction, if a child is acting as a stand-over man in the classroom in order to extort pocket money from other children is this deemed to be taking place in a "school setting"? That is, it tends to blur the mediating artefact with the activity, albeit in ways which mirror real ambiguity. Expressions like "cultural [settings], institutional [settings], and historical [settings]" seem in turn to merge activity and tool/sign with context in the broadest sense. Such settings do indeed "provide and shape the cultural tools" insofar as they are deemed to imply collaborating with other people. The next sentence talks about "mediational means"; these are indeed "carriers" of patterns of activity, etc. But artefacts (tools and signs) are not the only mediational means. Does the author mean artefacts, or are theories and practices (such as for example would characterise a specific institution) also intended to be included? If so, what does this mean for the idea of a "setting." How does setting differ from frame, or context, or discourse, or activity or genre or field, or ...?

So there are some powerful ideas in this mixture, but the blurring going on disturbs me.


Andy Blunden
On 21/08/2017 2:02 PM, Larry Purss wrote:
On page 204 of the Wertsch article : “The Primacy of Mediated Action in Sociocultural Studies”  is the notion of broadening the concept of *Settings*  On page 204 is this paragraph:

“Vygotsky’s analysis of mediation is central to understanding his contribution to psychology. Indeed, it is the key in his approach to understanding how human mental functioning is tied to cultural [settings], institutional [settings], and historical [settings] since these settings shape and provide the cultural tools that are mastered by individuals to form this functioning.  In this approach the mediational means are what might be termed the *carriers* of sociocultural patterns and knowledge.”

I notice that other traditions posit the notion of {worlds] that come into existence with human approaches to [worlds].

Is it ok to consider that Wertsch who is exploring linking human mental functioning to human settings is indicating the same realm as others who are exploring human mental functioning linking to human *worlds*.

In particular the author John William Miller posits the actuality of *midworlds* that resemble or have a family semblance to the notion of *settings*.
Also Continental Philosophy explores *worlds* that exist as human dwelling places?

The notions of [settings] and [worlds] seem to be linked?

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