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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* ?



Related to Andy’s discussion of “settings” as a unit of analysis, based on her work on use of language as a Medium for constituting “in-between” meanings, Bertau (2014) posits use of “situations” and “traditions”:
Thus, the two basic aspects of communication are “situations” and “traditions.” The link between situations (1) and traditions (2) is given by the fact that participants in (1) contribute over time to the sustaining/changing of the long-term practices of (2). A simple chaining in time? Not for Linell, whose dialogical stance allows him to go right beyond a pure sequential-temporal chaining of (1)-(2)-(1)- (2) that would amount to a simple accumulation in time. Rather, for Linell, there is dialogue between (1) and (2). This is grasped by the very term of double dialogicality: the fact that participants “engage in both situated interaction and sociocultural praxis” (2009, p. 52). So, by their actual language activity, subjects both engage and perform a situated, unique verbal interaction and enact the sociocultural praxis the verbal forms they perform belong to (e.g., they perform the conversation belonging to a first date in a restaurant, to a family dinner, to an academic reception).


But what is really interesting is that this dialogical link makes (2), the tradition, perceivable : “Double dialogicality makes us see an … utterance both in its singularity and in its wider sociocultural and historical belongingness” (Linell, 2009, p. 53). There are interdependencies between (1) and (2), interactions (= 1) have situation-transcending aspects (= 2). The examples Linell gives are the case of a speaker who refers to his own words in other occasions, the case of a speaker who breaks out of the current genre (giving a lecture) and shifts into another one (narrating a personal anecdote): dialogues with own, past utterances, and dialogues with framings of genres. That kind of referencing and indexing leads to Linell’s term of “recontextualization,” addressing the traveling of utterances through texts and contexts. 

Linell (2009, pp. 248–249) distinguishes three types of recontextualizations, operating on different time scales, where the first two types correspond to the token level, the third type to the type level: (a) within the same conversation (participants make use of the same expressions several times), (b) to other texts or discourses (re-using or alluding to elements of other specific discourses/texts), and (c) borrowing/importing of other genres or discourse orders or routines. So, we can see these types of recontextualizations as possibilities of indexing (2), the tradition, in (1), the interaction.

The following brief analysis is now possible. According to our temporal being-ness, we experience the situation, the actual interaction (= 1) now . And we also experience the tradition of practices (= 2) now : exactly through these strategies of referencing and indexing, of borrowing and importing, quoting ourselves, others, genres, discourses, by performing reprises and variations, re-invoicements and re-listenings according to formats we reiterate countless times in a great (although not unending) diversity of speech and-listening practices. All these language activities call in, and thereby construct, our tradition. We “have” our tradition only in this mode of calling-in, so we experience our tradition again and again by way of performance of language practices, in our forms, or better: our formations according to conventionalized, public patterns—we hear the tradition for instance in certain intonatory and syntactic patterns, in ways of asking a question.


Cases like migration coupled with the forced use of an alien language, or the isolation from one’s speaker community (in prison), but also common bilingualism shows how painful it can be to not “have  a language”: on the contrary, it is obvious that language can disappear, that it can get thinner and lose contact to reality, which is nothing but others’ reality we could share. So, the socio-historically transmitted tradition is a present practice. 

Bertau, M-C. (2014). Exploring language as the “in-between.” Theory & Psychology, 24(4), 524 –541.

Linell, P. (2009). Rethinking language, mind, and world dialogically. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishers.

Richard Beach, Professor Emeritus of English Education, University of Minnesota
rbeach@umn.edu
Websites: Digital writing <http://digitalwriting.pbworks.com/>, Media literacy <http://teachingmedialiteracy.pbworks.com/>, Teaching literature <http://teachingliterature.pbworks.com/>, Identity-focused ELA Teaching <http://identities.pbworks.com/>, Common Core State Standards <http://englishccss.pbworks.com/>, Apps for literacy learning <http://usingipads.pbworks.com/>, Teaching about climate change <http://climatechangeela.pbworks.com/>






> On Aug 21, 2017, at 2:10 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no> wrote:
> 
> Hi Antti, 
> 
> thanks so much for sharing your work! The case you present is definitely interesting with regard to Andy's example of the problematic of field trips as 'settings'. And congratulations for the recent publication!
> 
> Alfredo
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Antti Rajala <ajrajala@gmail.com>
> Sent: 21 August 2017 19:02
> To: Andy Blunden; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [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* ?
> 
> Dear Larry and Andy and all,
> 
> I agree with Andy that there is a risk of blurring the distinctions.
> Moreover, I would like to consider the context of activity as dynamic in
> the sense that Mike meant it in his book in 1996.
> 
> Andy's example of a fieldtrip resonates so much with a paper that I
> recently wrote with Sanne Akkerman that I could not resist sharing it here.
> It will soon be published in a special issue on dialogical approaches to
> learning, in the journal Learning Culture and Social Interaction. In the
> paper, we analyze how the forest during a fieldtrip is produced in varied
> ways as the context of the activity through the different participants'
> interpretations (teacher, children, nature school educators). We also
> illuminate how these different interpretations are negotiated and
> hybridized in the dialogic interactions during the fieldtrip.
> 
> Hopefully our uses of the terms contribute in small part to the increased
> clarity of these discussions.
> 
> https://www.academia.edu/34293982/Rajala_Akkerman_Researching_reinterpretations_of_educational_activity_in_dialogic_interactions_during_a_fieldtrip
> 
> Antti
> 
> On Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 1:56 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
> 
>> 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
>> 
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> Andy Blunden
>> http://home.mira.net/~andy
>> http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
>> 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?
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Sent from Mail for Windows 10
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>