Re: Talk of courses and discussions

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Mon Jun 06 2005 - 08:14:23 PDT

On 06/06/2005, at 5:44 AM, Kevin Rocap wrote:

> One thought for me is that CHAT could help serve an integrative
> function with regard to these others, no?

Hi Kevin,

That has been my interest in CHAT since the time I discovered that
Chomsky, and later Pinker et. al. weren't going to help answer my
questions from the language classroom. I guess we need to ask how we
might go about any sort of systematic inquiry into power relations as
you mention? I recall the paper by Carolyn Panofksy (in an earlier
discussion on xmca - see the readings site - as offering some
interesting insights into just this issue, and although I have
re-thought the relevance of aspects of systemics for this issue, I
wrote then:

"With habitus and social spaces as tools for analyzing, or
unpacking, social interaction in the classroom, we have at our disposal
a powerful means to seek out the unfolding power relations in classroom
activity and discourse. However, exactly how we can grasp the
differences that emerge through interaction and say meaningful things
about them that will inform practice is still a hazy concept, unless we
continue with Bourdieu's thinking and conceptualise a language that
will reflect the meanings of power relations. Bourdieu (1998), in fact,
makes a claim for symbolic differences , which, as the term implies,
offers a promise of a semiotic that can be negotiated. The following
extract makes this point quite clearly:

[T]he essential point is that, when perceived through these social
categories of perception, these principles of vision and division, the
differences in practices, in the goods possessed, or in the opinions
expressed become symbolic differences and constitute a veritable
language . P. 8

Lemke (1995) adds to this ‘veritable language' the notion of body hexis
  to explain Bourdieu's notion that sociocultural dispositions are
embodied (Lemke, 1995, p. 32). As Lemke notes, this idea of habitus ,
that peoples' perceptions, reactions, habits, preferences, attitudes,
dispositions to actions and discourse are embodied relieves us of the
Cartesian split between mind and body, and allows us to view
relationships within social interactions as embodied: “Cultural habitus
for Bourdieu is an embodied system of sociologically structured and
structuring dispositions” (Lemke, 1995, p. 33)."


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