Re: [xmca] From Kevin's paper to internal tension and conflict in activity systems

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Tue Jul 25 2006 - 11:38:36 PDT

probably top down AND bottom up, Kevin. With a lot of doubt about both
starting points and where they are leading to!

On 7/25/06, O'Connor, Kevin <> wrote:
> bb,
> Thanks for the citations, and for sending Yrjo's paper. That paper is
> actually one that I am familiar with, and in fact it has to some extent
> informed an article that I'm currently revising in which the same Tech
> students are flexibly appropriating a discursive genre in the service of
> their own emerging goals. One of the things I like about Yrjo's paper is
> how he goes from the description of specific scenes of the story to unpack
> the tensions involved in the organization of the characters' actions, and
> the developmental consequences. Many of these tensions, and the
> development
> that results, are unpredictable until the scenes are closely analyzed. I
> see this as in many ways similar to what I was doing in the discussion of
> the videoconference and the self-introductions.
> Mike writes that "someone wanting to use a CHAT instead of a COPS position
> would point to the analytic categories that constitute an activity system
> as
> a source of greater specification that tells you where it might be
> interesting to look." I agree that the analytic categories are more
> developed in CHAT than in the CoP perspective thus far, and see these as
> powerful analytic resources. (And I certainly don't want to position
> myself
> in opposition to CHAT!) What I'm still wondering is whether analysis
> might
> be somewhat constrained or circumscribed if we were to start from activity
> systems (or communities of practice), as opposed to starting from situated
> interaction and seeing how various indexical potentials are brought into
> interaction and with what consequences.
> I'll take a look at some of the other articles you cited, bb - I'd also be
> interested in seeing your work that mike mentioned, if it's available.
> Kevin
> On 7/25/06 10:09 AM, "bb" <> wrote:
> > Hi Kevin,
> >
> > In reply to your question, here is something both short and long. On my
> hard
> > drive I've found an article by Engestrom that seems to go in the right
> > direction -- I actually dislike doing this because its really not a very
> > cohesive and personal response to you, but on the other hand the article
> seems
> > highly relevant and, having upgraded my workstation OS to fedora core 5,
> > getting it to talk correctly to an exchange server is taking up
> unplanned
> > time.
> >
> > Yrjo's work on tensions in multiple systems of activity is in his
> Learning by
> > Expanding, located somewhere on the MCA/lchc web site. Several years
> ago I
> > did a study which used his approach of historical analysis of multiple
> > systems, recognizing tensions in and between them to look at the
> simaltaneous
> > development of a person and her contexts. Peter Smagorinsky has a good
> > article on a student becoming a teacher, which uses chat, but not, as I
> > recall, with multiple systems. Peter's or Yrjo's article might be a
> good
> > place to extend discussion of the issues I think you raise in your
> paper,
> > although neither has the same focus on language that your paper
> has. But then
> > Gordon Wells has a couple articles on activity systems and language,
> which
> > might bridge the gap.
> >
> > bb
> >
> > bb
> > _______________________________________________
> > xmca mailing list
> >
> >
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