Re: [xmca] interweaving

From: bb (
Date: Sat Oct 14 2006 - 20:57:54 PDT

Thanks Mike, those background texts are very helpful, and I appreciate the time you have taken to locate them, and reproduce them here.

While on travel, I've been reading closely Gordon Well's 1996 paper in MCA and I can see this metaphor of interweaving providing a visual for the way sequences and episodes of communication, while beginning and ending, contribute to the continuitiy of conversations, of texts, much as fibers begin and end while making up a continuous thread (and communication on xmca certainly can be considered supporting data that is in our faces, which I will exploit in a moment).

To pursue what is relational with communication, drawing upon Halliday and Hasan, there is a taxonomy of how reference is made in text -- with reference being one form of relation, typically unidirectional.

For example, for me to now Address Andy's claim that writing with a relational lexicon is the use of "motherhood" words is to make a reference from this posting before you to that of Andy's -- and that of Andy's does not reference this posting, having preceeded it in time, and without anticipation for this posting. My posting is in relation to Andy's -- and taking Michaels post in perspective, both are constitutive of a greater textual whole. The full exchange: Andy's post, my response, Andy's response, and this follow-up is an instance of a sequence of moves in which those of Andy and mine are mutually (reciprocally) constitutive, each contributes to making the next, as each is in response and in reference to the other, i.e. in relation to the other. Gordon writes:

"In the co-construction of a text, the smallest building block is the Move, for example a "question"
or an "answer.'" However, it is the Exchange -in which such reciprocally-related moves combine-that
constitutes the minimal unit of spoken discourse." (p. 78)

Does this make sense?


 -------------- Original message ----------------------
From: "Mike Cole" <>
> What follows are raw materials that are the beginning of a response to bill
> barowy's inquiry involving the use of the metaphor of interweaving in
> discussions of persons, actions, agency, situatedness, etc.
> I do not come to this discussion as a philosopher, let alone a Marxist
> scholar and dialectician. To some this would automatically exclude me from
> any serious
> discussion of cultural historical activity theory. I am an auto-didact in
> these matters, coming to them through an odd pathway derived from American
> pragmatism,
> via behaviorism and skinner (of easy to trash fame) and experimental
> psychology of learning. It was issues of cultural variation and processes of
> development that led me to chat long after I worked with Luria.
> But perhaps consideration of the following statements by three scholars who
> I take to be, on the surface at least, as markedly different from each other
> as one could hope to find, both in their disciplinary allegencies, the
> empirical phenomena they studied, and their philosophies of science. What
> strikes me is the similarities in their intuitive efforts to deal with the
> heterogeneity of the constituents of human experience/nature/consciousness,
> the issue of relations of individual elements to their
> putative wholes, continuity/discontinuity, and the necessity for the study
> of such phenomena over time.
> I will try to return to the specific text under discussion later this
> weekend if I can make it through the 101 spotted promotion files that I am
> privileged to read and comment on about this time of year.
> So, here are the meditations, for your consideration
> mike
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> -------------------------------------------------------------
> The world is full of partial stories that run parallel to one another,
> beginning and ending at odd times. They mutually interlace and interfere at
> points, but we cannot unify them completely in our minds. In following your
> life-history, I must temporarily turn my attention from my own. Even a
> biographer of twins would have to press them alternately upon his reader's
> attention. It follows that whoever says that the whole world tells one story
> utters another of those monistic dogmas that a man believes at his risk. It
> is easy to see the world's history pluralistically, as a rope of which each
> fibre tells a separate tale; but to conceive of each cross-section of the
> rope as an absolutely single fact, and to sum the whole longitudinal series
> into one being living an undivided life, is harder. We have indeed the
> analogy of embryology to help us. The microscopist makes a hundred flat
> cross-sections of a given embryo, and mentally unites them into one solid
> whole. But the great world's ingredients, so far as they are beings, seem,
> like the rope's fibres, to be discontinuous cross-wise, and to cohere only
> in the longitudinal direction. Followed in that direction they are
> many.(William James, *Lecture 4 Pragmatism - the one and the Many)*
> I'll tell you what I like to think about: sometimes I like to think of a
> rope. The fibers that make up the rope are discontinuous; when you twist
> them together, you don't make them continuous, you make the thread
> continuous. . . . even though it may look in a thread as though each of
> those particles are going all through it, that isn't the case. That's
> essentially the descriptive model. . . . Obviously, I am not talking about
> the environment. I am not talking about inside and outside. I am talking
> about the conditions of the system (quoted in McDermott, 1980, p. 14‑15).
> Each of these children was seen to engage in a great many behavior episodes
> a day]; the number of things a child did in a day, according to our criteria
> of episodes, varied approximately from 500 to 1,300. . . . Most of the
> episodes did not occur in isolation. Behavior was more often like the
> interwoven strands of a cord than like a row of blocks in that the molar
> units often overlapped. . . . Most of the overlapping was a matter of the
> intersection of the whole of a short episode and a relatively small part of
> a longer one. . . . The behavior continuum was cord‑like, too, in the sense
> that overlapping episodes often did not terminate at the same time but
> formed an interwoven merging continuum (Barker and Wright, 1966, p. 464).

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