Re: goals, agency, and interplay of forces

Date: Mon Mar 22 2004 - 18:17:13 PST

Nice question Iraj. When reading it, I was wondering whether there are
non violent ways to break with a shared situation of domination and if
they exist, which are they?

Quoting IRAJ IMAM <>:

> Renee wrote:
> "Eugene's response to David really gets at something that I am
> struggling
> with in CHAT: "I think a sociocultural notion of agency - who-what
> is
> responsible for an activity - has to be inherently distributed
> across
> people, tools, time, and space"
> OK. I understand that CHAT notion of distribution across individuals
> should
> be viewed as a reaction to individualistic psychology... But how
> does CHAT
> address conflicts of interest, and contradictory agendas within a
> single
> (shared?) activity? It seems to me that shared implies accord.
> Which I'm
> not comfortable with. For example, in a class where a racist
> history
> textbook view is contested and resisted by minority students ... how
> can we
> say that agency is distributed across these students, the texts they
> resist,
> and the teachers complicit in reproducing oppression?"
> I am still new to CHAT and could be off completely, but am quite
> interested
> in this discussion. I share with you a sense of discomfort with
> apparently a
> Durkeimian condition for agency to be 'inherently distributed across
> people,
> tools, time, and space.' As your example shows, a social space of
> activity
> is fluid, filled with conflicts (eg, in purpose and in motivation),
> and
> contains emergent properties. It seems to me that all activities,
> shared or
> not, have boundary making forces--physical and/or virtual--in time
> and in
> space.
> In your example of the class, you point to the social racist
> discourse, or
> activity (regime) of schooling, that tends to deny the
> self-determined
> agency for minority students. This particular activity produces a
> racist
> social space--physical and virtual-- (eg, by its text, its legitimacy
> to be
> presented and read in the classroom, and its version of ideology in
> defining
> different peoples from the view of the racist). I can imagine this
> space to
> be 'distributed across people, tools, time, and space' as dominant
> social
> space, but not the only one! To the extent that the minority students
> buy
> that racist story and do not engage with its inherent contradictions,
> they
> remain dominated and trapped into that social space ( of activity).
> This
> seems to parallel Fanon's 'black skin white mask' in the struggle
> against
> colonialism in Algeria.
> The moment that those minority students doubt and question the
> racist
> version of that reality, their agency (individual and group) is
> activated in
> their production of new social space in the same (or other) activity.
> What
> was once shared, not any more. This emergent social space of activity
> (third
> space) includes virtual space of self-determined ideas, their
> projection
> into the physical and social world, and their interplay and struggle
> with
> the racist social space (this is my reading from my background in
> spatial
> theory).
> Is this process any similar to that of 'expansive learning' where a
> new
> space of learning has to be produced for the learner?
> iraj imam
> The Center for Applied Local research

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Nov 09 2004 - 11:42:24 PST