RE: [xmca] Socio-Cultural Theory Interest Group Seminar Series

From: Julian Williams (
Date: Thu Sep 28 2006 - 10:40:44 PDT

Dear BB

The distinction I thought relevant at the meeting was between 'everyday' and 'scientific', the latter being mostly associated with school-going/pedagogy. The story telling in the family home seems to me 'everyday' and the attendant scientific structure an imposition of the authors. It seemed to me that the Ochs paper misses Vygotsky's (Marx's?) notion of 'scientific', being something approached by the best thinking that human culture has to offer.

(I think you might need sight of the first few pages of the paper to make sense of this...?)


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of bb
Sent: 28 September 2006 18:07
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: RE: [xmca] Socio-Cultural Theory Interest Group Seminar Series

Interesting notes, especially around storytelling and the zpd, the latter ever so elusive in our last x-discussion of it. I'm really wondering about the relationships between and among concepts, explanation, language, theories and their constructions. What do we mean by "learning a concept' in activity theory and how is that different from "learning language" or "learning to speak"?

I could not access the ochs paper, but at least found the abstract:

The present study examines the activity of storytelling at dinnertime in English-speaking, Caucasian-American families. Our findings demonstrate that, through the process of story co-narration, family members draw upon and stimulate critical social , cognitive, and linguistic skills that underlie scientific and other scholarly discourse as they jointly construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct theories of everyday events. Each story is potentially a theory of a set of events in that it contains an ex planation, which may then be overtly challenged and reworked by co-narrators. Our data suggest that complex theory-building through storytelling is promoted by (and constitutive of) interlocutors' familiarity with one another and/or the narrative events. As such, long before children enter a classroom, everyday storytelling among familiars constitutes a commonplace medium for socializing perspective-taking, critical thinking, and other intellectual skills that have been viewed as o utcome s of formal scho oling. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR

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