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Nancy cited Rogoff and Gutierrez (thanks for the reference):

"We argue against the common approach of assuming that regularities are
static, and that general traits of individuals are attributable
categorically to ethnic group membership " 

Their argument that culture is developed through local, historical action
and interaction militates against the idea of the 'ideal' of 'essence,' and
resonates with the notion ... 

that people and groups 'make' culture... 

Interestingly, there exists a parallel approach in spatial theory about
fluidity in the production of space (Lefebvre, Soja, Harvey). In that, space
(like "culture") is both made by peoples' practices and, at the same time,
is forming peoples' practices. Physical spaces, or perceptions of it
(knowledges or meanings made of it, have no 'essence' of their own (airports
before and after 9/11). The assumption is that space is produced both in the
physical and in the imagined realities--both are equally real. 

Any physical space already has a history and culture, or will acquire a
projected 'ideal' or utopia (gated community, resort/fantasy island,
soldiers cemetery, pentagon, Kremlin, Statue of Liberty, 9/11, Auschwitz,
Abu Gharaib, etc). 

You suggest:  "It seems to me that these claims are related to the work on
internal and external spheres of activity...there really is no way to
identify those spheres separately, as they are in constant, dialogic
Again, the same concern in spatial theory is: how physical and imagined
spaces are linked? As you suggest, a dialogical conversation occurs.
Similarly, but more intensely, spatial theory suggests that an interplay of
forces is at work. And the assumption is that there are always struggles and
outcomes depend on the balance of forces in the moment and in the locations.

People's spatial practices produce our social space --incorporating the
physical and the imagined spaces through their activities. And this seems
very close to your assumption that our activities (internal and external)
create our identities and cultures. 

My interest in all this is about how to make visible the gaps between
activities and identities and how to transform them--third spacing

Have a good weekend,  iraj