Re: goals and agency

From: Between Identities (
Date: Tue Mar 23 2004 - 04:07:06 PST


I don't like and would not use the term "shared activity" for the
reasons you mentioned. I would however talk of collective activity which
I think is ideal for teasing out the exact problems you mention.

I did find it interesting that you linked agency and responsibility
quite closely. Could we say those with more responsibility have more
agency? I would tend to see "agency" more simplistically as in "goal
directed action".

For example, my goal may simply be to critique the racist text or
instruction. When the Alamo gets mentioned, I ask about the St.
Patrick's Battalion.

How this goal contradicts with the motive of the overall activity is
unclear. Is the individual's action seen as sabotaging or expanding the
narrative of the text or teacher. Using Wertsch, we may have a
"non-racist" text that reproduces the same narrative as a racist one.

I think alot has to do with the overall motive of the activity. For
education is has to do with how "learning" is understood. For a
neo-constructivist it may cease to be a learning activity when it is
dominated by worksheets. I would suspect the individual's goals would be
most successful if it did not contradict with the motive of the activity.


Renee Hayes 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. And up to this point
> I'm there. 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.

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