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[Xmca-l] Re: So Why Play?

Social movements came on the third day, Greg, with a plenary session
by Yrjö Engeström. Curiously, though, Engeström emphasized exactly the
opposite point: not that social movements can be seen as other than what it
is, but that social movements that last (unlike, say, "Occupy Wall Street")
are those that leave behind modest but material contributions to the
well-being of their participants. Such social movements have a kind of
"ratchet", which prevents the movement from melting away when people's
momentary burst of social consciousness is subsumed by the toil and
struggle of their everyday lives: in these social movements (Engeström
mentioned a food co-op in Helsinki, the movement "La PAH" against mortgage
foreclosures in Barcelona, and the Community Land Trust initiative NYCCLY
in New York City).

Tomasello uses this term in a rather special way that Engeström didn't
quite grasp--Engeström seemed to be thinking of a ratchet wrench, but
Tomasello was referring to the kind of ratchet trains I remember from the
portion of my childhood spent in India. Hill stations in India (including
the hill station of Ootecamunde, where my stepfather would take me during
the summers) were served by trains that occasionally broke down. To keep
the train from sliding to the bottom of the hill when this happened, the
trains had a huge slab of steel that would poke itself between the railroad
ties and prevent backsliding. Tomasello's idea was that literacy is a kind
of cultural ratchet, because without it, every generation has to
reconstruct the wisdom of the ancestors anew.

Anyway, I had some trouble squaring this with the old Engeström,
the Engeström of breaking away, learning by expanding, and crisis.
That Engeström seemed to stress the historical necessity of creative
destruction, but of a revolutionary rather than a Schumpeterian sort. This
Engeström preferred the idea of construction in the middle of devastation,
gardening in a landslide. It was almost, but not quite, the kind of
opposition we had experienced two days earlier between play as (expansive)
exploration and play as Learning by Observing and Pitching In (LOPI). Not
quite because there was no time to attempt any kind of synthesis.

David Kellogg

On Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 3:41 AM, <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com> wrote:

> David,
> I think this notion of play also works for the most important of skills
> that the child will learn: the ability to treat the world as other than it
> simply is.
> Whether you prefer to speak of this as mediation or in the more
> heideggerian language of disclosure (or unconcealment), the ability to see
> a group of people together and recognize that group as a "protest" or a
> Republican convention or whatever and, more importantly, to understand all
> of the meaningfulness that might be attached to that grouping and/or to
> that event (not to mention how one properly behaves at such an event and
> what kinds of roles are available and how one effectively carries out any
> of those roles)... all of this is the kind of irrealis for which the child
> must develop a capacity if they hope to get along in the adult world.
> What better way to accomplish that then through play (and here I
> particularly have in mind that peculiar form of play known as
> "make-believe" - in all its many variations!).
> Fine preparation for the make-believe of the adult world...
> Cheers,
> Greg
> Sent from my iPhone
> > On Sep 9, 2017, at 8:55 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > animal