Re: [xmca] ISCAR - Sevilla 2005 -- Theoretical Concepts in CHAT andtheir connestion to physical concepts and knowledge

From: Ana Marjanovic-Shane (
Date: Fri Oct 07 2005 - 09:32:54 PDT

I just searched the Conference abstracts for the "Freud" and found three
references -- one of which is "Freudenthal" -- a last name of a
presenter. The two other references that actually refer to "freudian"
are given in the two abstracts I posted below. It is interesting that
there is no more references to the psychoanalysis especially in the
light of 200 references found for "emotion" and more than 600 references
(give or take) found for "Self"

Session 86 September 20, 2005 Tuesday
Chair: Adrian Blackledge, University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, United Kingdom
OS. 9. Language as social practice: Expanding the analysis of discourse
in complex
*Rethinking the metaphysics of activity as system or structure*
Nick Peim, University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, United Kingdom
This paper is founded in a wilful act of bricolage that involves
bringing together two different
traditions of thought. Here activity theory meets Derrida's
sign-oriented critique of metaphysics
Here Derrida is taken as metonymic of another tradition founded in the
critique of the metaphysics
of presence. This tradition grows out of - and against - the
phenomenological tradition that
addresses what appear to be key elements in activity theory: objects,
aspects, perspectives,
positions, ideas and subjects. Here the metaphysical assumptions of
activity theory are explored and
expanded. Implicitly caught up in this complex are concepts of genesis,
being, identity, practice and
transformation. Above all, perhaps, is the question of a materialist
thinking of social practice. All of
this is inescapably caught up in the question of discourse: as activity,
as identity, as difference ... as,
in effect, deontologizing ontology.
Both activity theory and Derrida's critique of metaphysics engage with
(in utterly different ways)
the distinction between the intelligible and the sensible. A point of
genesis for activity theory,
Marx's 'Theses on Feuerbach', announcing a call to philosophy to grasp
sensuous human activity
('the real thing') at the very same time enacts the classic distinction
between the sensible and the
intelligible. This is the very distinction that Derrida problematizes in
relation to the founding of a
decentring ethnology that enables metaphysics (while remaining
metaphysics) to address critically
the terms and conditions of its own operations of thought - a move that
is paralleled in the
decentring of the sign as signifier and signified (i.e. sensible /
intelligible) and the refusal to resolve
the difference in relation to any kind of centre or point of origin.
Derrida claims that thinking the structurality of structure is in itself
decentring - problematizing the
very idea of centre and thereby activating the mobility of play. This
thinking Derrida provisionally
attributes to: i. the Nietzschean critique of metaphysics, the critique
of concepts of being and truth;
ii. the _*Freudian *_critique of self presence, that is the critique of
consciousness; and, 'more radically'
iii. the Heideggerian destruction of metaphysics, of onto-theology, of
the determination of being as
presence. The problem, however, is represented by Derrida as a circular
relation between the history
of metaphysics and the destruction of the history of metaphysics: 'We
have no language - no syntax
and no lexicon - which is foreign to this history'.
The question for activity theory is what is the role - in the
determination of activity as system - of
the sign. The sign is frequently taken as the mediating element and yet
this very idea of mediation
presumes a more or less strict distinction between the sensible and
intelligible - signifier and
signified. What's more the sign - subject to the logic of the
supplement, the trace and dissemination
- also activates the decentring element of play. The issue of discourse
in the description of activity
provides an occasion for rethinking activity from the perspective of the
radical legacy of the
phenomenological tradition.


Poster session on Thursday, September 22
*Children of the Moon: The representation of family in institutionalized
children excluded
from the familiar life*
Sheila Daniela Medeiros dos Santos, Brazil

Currently in the Brazilian society, increasingly high rates of children
living without their families are
observed: every two days a baby is abandoned in the State of São Paulo;
in Brazil a million children
are living in boarding schools and eight million of them are abandoned,
living on the streets. At a
first moment, with the intention to focus on protagonists of this
situation (orphans, abandoned
children and/or those proceeding from unstructured homes) and
apprehending the trams that were
constructed in their daily lives in an institution assigned to receive
them, it was seen, early in the
observations, something paradoxical happening: children who did not live
familiar relations, but
lived in an environment that were the negation and/or the artificial
substitution of the family,
thinking about, dreaming of, desiring and representing a structured and
formally constituted family.
In this context, having as theoretical reference the historic-cultural
perspective in Psychology, this
research aimed at analyzing the representation of family in
institutionalized children excluded from
the familiar conviviality, intending to deepen the study on: the way
these children represented the
family in the verbal/written speech, the drawings and the tricks
(symbolic game); the ways of
functioning of this familiar representation; and the impact of this
representation in the social
relations that arose between adult/children and children/children in the
institution. Considering that
the symbolic order tends to impose its rules to the imaginary, although
it does not achieve the
neutralization of its power to generate meanings, we proceeded to the
analysis of dialogical
situations and social interactions. Through the analysis, we could show
how the children expressed,
through the most impressive forms, the desire they had to occupy the
position of son or daughter
inside of the structure of the social relationships and to assume the
roles associated to such
positions (for example, hugging and excessively kissing and "grasping"
the people that visited them
at the institution). In this way, exceeding the *freudian*
psychoanalysis and remembering the lesson of
animal psychology: a little monkey, when frightened by a great wooden
spider, runs for the doll
covered with a velvet-like fabric, and not to the wire doll with a
baby's bottle. The analysis of the
empirical material placed in evidence the necessity of bond between the
son and the mother, neither
as the result of a nutritional and sexual satisfaction at the same time,
nor as the consequence of a
dependence of the baby in relation the mother, but as basic biological
necessity, as important as
feeding itself. The child, upon birth, carries a genetic mark, the
necessity of contact with beings of
the same species. Therefore, taking into account that the social nature
of man is a biological fact
and that man is genetically a "being of relation", if the constituent
experience of the social
relationships fails, or better, if the family (symbolic production) is
not supported on that it is
elementary (the bond), then the family becomes a myth.

David Preiss wrote:

>There was any reference to Freud in the context of the discussion?
>I have always been intrigued by the lack of dialogue between CHAT and
>David Preiss
>Profesor Auxiliar / Assistant Professor
>Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
>Escuela de Psicología
>Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4860
>Macul, Santiago,
>Fono: 56-2-3544605
>Fax: 56-2-354-4844
>-----Original Message-----
>From: [] On
>Behalf Of David H Kirshner
>Sent: Friday, October 07, 2005 11:27 AM
>To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>Subject: Re: [xmca] ISCAR - Sevilla 2005 -- Theoretical Concepts in CHAT
>andtheir connestion to physical concepts and knowledge
>I share (what I sense is) your frustration with this debate. I see the
>insistence on reason, as a variety of dualist thinking entering even
>(otherwise) sophisticated discourses. Now the caveat that people "act ALWAYS
>from reason [but] not necessarily with awareness of it" complicates the
>matter by allowing the possibility that one's actions conform to
>reasonableness criteria even if one's personal mentality doesn't actually
>participate in explicit processes of reasoning. But I think this is just an
>obfuscation of the basic position that humans are basically rational
>creatures. One sees the influence of this perspective in a wide range of
>pedagogical discourses (e.g., cognitivist and constructivist positions--and
>sometimes sociocultural, too?) that construe metacognitive mastery as the
>primary goal of education--the gateway to everything else. My favorite quote
>on the matter (though framed in terms of consciousness) diagnoses the causes
>of the position in almost poetic language:
>Consciousness is a much smaller part of our mental life than we are
>conscious of, because we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious
>of. How simple that is to say; how difficult to appreciate. It is like
>asking a flashlight in a dark room to search around for something that does
>not have any light shining upon it. The flashlight, since there is light in
>whatever direction it turns, would have to conclude that there is light
>everywhere. And so consciousness can seem to pervade all mentality when
>actually it does not. (Jaynes, 1976, p. 23)
>Jaynes, J. (1976). The origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the
> bicameral mind. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
>David Kirshner
> Lois Holzman
> <lholzman who-is-at eastsideins To: "eXtended Mind,
>Culture, Activity
>>, "
> Sent by: cc: (bcc: David H
> xmca-bounces who-is-at weber.uc Subject: Re: [xmca]
>ISCAR - Sevilla 2005 -- Theoretical
> Concepts in CHAT and
>their connestion to physical
> concepts and knowledge
> 10/06/2005 06:51 PM
> Please respond to
> "eXtended Mind,
> Culture, Activity"
>I was also at the session Mike mentions below. While I too would like to
>explore more any relationship between Vygotsky and Spinoza. And that talk
>brought another thing up. I found Jan's talk to raise an intriguing/thorny
>issue. I can't find my notes right now so my summary will be only enough to
>make what I'm thinking (perhaps) clear. Jan was saying that human beings act
>ALWAYS from reason<
>>From: Mike Cole <>
>>Reply-To:, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
>>Date: Tue, 4 Oct 2005 18:08:57 +0200
>>To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
>>Subject: Re: [xmca] ISCAR - Sevilla 2005 -- Theoretical Concepts in
>>their connestion to physical concepts and knowledge
>>Thanks Ana, for your overview. I am checking with folks at LCHC about
>>most easily make all the abstracts of xmca members, or that xmca
>>members want to discuss, gathered together in one place.
>>I have a few clear minutes to write and have been reading with interest
>>what others have
>>been posting. My own feeling is that concrete issues from concrete
>>might be
>>of interest as possible markers for further discussion.
>>For example, at a symposium chaird by Jan Derry, Vladislav Lektorsky
>>about the
>>centrality of formative experiments as central to cultural-historical
>>methodology. this interests me a lot (I, too, identified this as an
>>issue in need of discussion). I
>>not have the text and
>>Slava read in English which made it difficult to follow, but that
>>his ideas are of
>>interest to me for followup.
>>David Bakhurst talked about questions of mediation. I got a few
>>talk to David about
>>his paper which is on what is another of my core interests. I found it
>>odd that he could
>>raise as a possible difficulty the idea that from a chat perspective,
>>the world could be seen as accessible ONLY through a mediator. This is
>>clearly not the position taken by LSV or any
>>of his immediate colleagues, or by anyone I know of working in this
>>tradition. Much more could
>>and should be discussed vis a mediation (e,g. our earlier discussion of
>>whethe operations
>>are mediated, or if, once they become ¨transparent¨they no longer are.
>>did not get enough
>>time to talk, but she raised some (apparently disputable) suggestions
>>the relevance of
>>Hegel and Spinoza. Since the lsv-Spinoza connection is little
>>the issue of
>>cognition/emotion is much discussed, this was something I thought
>>worth following up on. My computer connection is outta money.
>>Other comments to come
>>On 10/3/05, Ana Marjanovic-Shane <> wrote:
>>>ISCAR in Sevilla, September 2005:
>>>In a conference of this scope, where one cannot hope to have attended
>>>even one 10th of all the presentations, it is hard to give any
>>>overall evaluations or even impressions. But, XMCA members who did
>>>not come to Sevilla, ought to have some notion of what went on there
>>>for 5 days in September 2005. So those of us who were there really
>>>need to put our thoughts together and give some descriptions of what
>>>went on. That is not easy. There are different aspects one can write
>>>about, different themes that ran through presentations, different
>>>aspects of organization. I will be working from my notes -- taken in
>>>haste during the workshops, from the abstracts we received and from
>>>some other sources people gave us (handouts, web pages). It would be
>>>very useful if someone at the XMCA headquarters could put the
>>>abstracts in pdf format on the server so that everyone could have an
>>>access to them. (Mike, is it possible to organize it?).
>>>The conference was held in 3 buildings of the Department of
>>>Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy, at the University of Sevilla.
>>>Those are new buildings (not part of the University main venue in the
>>>old Tobacco Factory), built with inner balconies and great
>>>visibility, so they were easy to navigate. The workshops were held in
>>>auditoriums, most of which had a classic layout: a podium with a
>>>blackboard and projection screen, and then rows of seats and desks.
>>>Everything fixed -- unmovable. There were just a few rooms without
>>>fixed benches -- with panels and chairs. They were used for Poster
>>>sessions. My first fear was that the first part of our session was
>>>assigned a room with fixed benches. We would have to move it -- since
>>>it was an interactive drama workshop where people have to have space
>>>to move, group and regroups and play!! Fortunately, it was not: we
>>>were given one of the poster rooms!!
>>>We usually don't consciously think of the space and its qualities
>>>when we participate in activities with intellectual content. But it
>>>is important. If our beliefs about the mediated quality of
>>>intellectual growth and functioning are true, then we have to think
>>>about the space as mediated and mediating. European universities (at
>>>least three of them I know, and now Sevilla) are still mediated by
>>>another paradigm about intellectual processing and education. A
>>>paradigm that Vygotsky started to question 100 years ago. It takes
>>>much more to have this understanding of ourselves trickle down to
>>>those who plan and build schools and universities.
>>>Participants came from many parts of the world. But not from
>>>everywhere. I was happy to see people from Africa -- some of them
>>>from Rwanda! There were not many Africans in the previous ISCRAT
>>>conferences. Participants came from all continents. There were many
>>>people known to us on the XMCA discussion list in the conference: N.
>>>Ares, D. Bakhurst, S. Chaiklin, M. Cole, M. de Haan, J. Derry, Y.
>>>Engeström, S. Gaskin, A. Goncu, P. Hakkarainen, L. Holzman, V.
>>>John-Stainer, E. Lampert-Shepel, C. Lee, E. Matusov, D. Robbins, W-M.
>>>Roth, A. Stetsenko, A. Surmava, J. Valsiner, B. van Oers, N. Veresov,
>>>G. Wells, J. Wertsch..., There were many more we have to learn about.
>>>The conference program listed two main themes with lots of sub
>>>themes: THEME A.- Theoretical and Methodological Issues THEME B.-
>>>Acting in changing worlds Each workshop was classified within one of
>>>the two themes and within one of its subtopics. What was hard on the
>>>conference organizers and on the conference attendees was to separate
>>>workshops that tackled similar problems in time: there were many
>>>workshops I wanted to go to, but they were held at the same time. I
>>>always had to choose between, at least two competing workshops and
>>>more often between three or four. That was very hard to juggle. I
>>>ended up running from one to another, missing chunks from each
>>>workshop that I wanted to hear, or just worrying that I was missing
>>>something else.
>>>Before the conference, I made my own selection of workshops which
>>>have something to do with play and imagination. That was my personal
>>>program guide, I am attaching here. However, I ended up changing it
>>>to accommodate other talks which were also important to me. [Other
>>>participants in Sevilla: Please send your own selection of the
>>>workshops!"]. In my next postings, I will discuss some of the
>>>presentations I attended. I invite you who went to Sevilla to discuss
>>>at least one of the presentations: one paper, one concept you heard
>>>discussed, one thought you found important in Sevilla. Each one of us
>>>has a special "pet" interest, and sometimes, special ways to
>>>understand or to "objectify" this interest through different
>>>selection of topics and different people. Maybe you want to connect
>>>the questions we asked before the Conference with your experience in
>>>the conference? Or maybe you would want to mention just something
>>>unexpected, something that made you think?
>>>Until later.
>>>Ana Marjanovic-Shane
>>>151 W. Tulpehocken St.
>>>Philadelphia, PA 19144
>>>Home office: (215) 843-2909
>>>Mobile: (267) 334-2905
>>>xmca mailing list
>>xmca mailing list
>xmca mailing list
>xmca mailing list

Ana Marjanovic-Shane

151 W. Tulpehocken St.

Philadelphia, PA 19144

Home office: (215) 843-2909

Mobile: (267) 334-2905

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