Re: goals and agency

From: Nate (
Date: Wed Mar 24 2004 - 04:14:54 PST


I think goals (individuals) and motives (activity)are seperate things. I
would not talk about the motive of an indvidual, but of activity.

For example, let's say we were invited over to a mutual friends house to
play cards. The object or purpose may be something like increasing
meaningful social interaction in a highly complex capitalist society.
Our collective participation would be increasing social interaction. We
may have individual goals like increasing our poker skills, but that is
not a big problem if its consistant with the motive of activity.

As to your question who determines this motive, the answer is we do - a
collective we. It is a very complex political and historical struggle.
In recent years, literacy has been defined more tightly which has had a
strong material affect on social studies. More time has been spent on
the "basics" (reading, writing, math, science) and less on other
subjects. What has been deemed essential for a literate subject is
changing and has consequences.

I can not just go into a school and change the activities motive. My
goals may be in accordance or in conflict with the overall motive, but
altering the motive is a complex, political and historical process. One
most likely will not totally alter the motive, but broaden or limit its


Renee Hayes wrote:

> OK (N***, I don't know your real name, sorry!)
> You mention twice "the motive of the overall activity." Once you ask how
> does a goal contradict the motive of the overall activity, and then mention
> that a lot has to do with the motive of the overall activity. And that's
> exactly where I get nervous. Whose motive?
> Can we assume there is one motive? I think the teacher has a motive, sure,
> actually many (at least meet required standards, keep job, probably
> political/philosophical framework, maybe help kids, maybe retire...) and
> kids have other motives for the overall activity (maybe get good grades,
> maybe become popular with peers, maybe sleep, maybe learn something
> interesting). So how can we say there is a motive of the overall activity?
> Renee

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