Re: [xmca] Re: Abraham Lincoln Brigades in Second Life

From: Paul Dillon (
Date: Sun Nov 05 2006 - 09:45:55 PST

  The idea of organizing multiple groups to participate in these games on a long-term basis (say at least two years due to the need to move through the systems to gain the necessary "capital" and experience) seems fascinating, especially if it was never let on in the game that the CHAT Corporation was really composed of researchers. Of course one could invent an appropriate set of words to use for CHAT (Corporation of Highly Advanced Theosophists, for example). What field work! Hours of online gaming :-).
  As to Geertz v. Engestrom, I really didn't mean to pit them against each other. I realize they come out of totally different traditions, for one, and represent totally different objectives. I like Geertz work, and read most of it while a grad student, and there is no doubt he was a great figure in cultural anthropology. I had a lot of friends who worked in Bali and Indonesia when at Cornell who appreciated his work -- along with Victor Turner (e.g., Forest of Symbols) he was part of the generation that oriented anthropology away from the Radcliffe-Brown and other functionalist directions (including what came to be known as cultural materialism-Leslie White/Steward/Harris) toward the study of the meanings for the people of the culture themselves, and this is one step away from the objectification that one encounters even in Evans-Pritchard who was perhpas the closest to doing analyses of meaning in such works as Witchcraft among the Azande (shortened title).
  Nevertheless, I reject Jay's idea that we need people from our own cultures to interpret "other" cultures to us . What is needed is aiding those people to understand our culture so they can explain themselves to us in terms we can understand.

Mike Cole <> wrote:
  Engestrom and Geertz were/are clearly engaged in different enterprises so
efforts to pit one against the other do not strike me as particularly
helpful, Paul. Engestrom never personally engaged in the kind of immersive
ethography that was at the heart of Geertz's work and Geertz, so far as I
never sought to become an "auxillary stimulus" as a means of helping local
people deal with the
contradictions and difficulties of their working lives. However, the
potential completmentarity of their work has long interested me and for sure
people sitting in San Diego should not be deciding for
people in Quito how to solve THEIR problems since the people in San Diego
are so clearly a part
of the problem.

As to Second life-like projects of the sort being discussed, it strikes me
that the only potentially
practical way to get such a project implemented would be if several of us in
different locales
organized graduate courses simultaneously to work together on an
implementation and self analysis.

On 11/5/06, Paul Dillon
> Jay Lemke wrote:
> > there was some confusion between EVE
> >Online, the out-in-the-galaxy space wars (and cultures, and
> >economics) game, and EVE as a shortcode for Everquest, another
> >fantasy-world (no space travel that I know of) online.
> Yes, that was my mistake. Everquest is a Tolkien based MMORPG with no
> travel in Newtonian-Einsteinian type inter-stellar space. In EVE one makes
> regular "jumps" into warp space.
> I> people just set up the factions, which
> >might attract their proponents today as in the last century
> >(believers or perverse role-players), and see what happens?
> People already do this in EVE which is precisely what makes it such a
> rich field for study; economic, social and cultural stratagies are pursued
> in addition to building the most powerful fleet of military ships and
> armaments. And as I pointed out, there are continuations of the community
> outside the game itself whose members, individually and collectively, take
> advantage of a large variety of virtual and non-virtual instruments to
> further their objectives within the game.
> >As to "thick description," it's not really meant to be just
> >description, but rather interpretive accounts that bridge between the
> >participant perspective and the observer perspective.
> Granted but this assumes that the gap can be bridged, when in fact, in
> Geertz's and all other models of traditional ethnography, the observer (and
> its unspoken companion role, the "reporter") pole of the dichotomy is
> predominant, the participant pole simply a "methodology" for gaining
> data. I think it is important to ask who the destinatory of the data is . .
> . Geertz never advocated the kind of ethnography implicit in the CHAT
> framework , especially as practiced in Engestrom and his colleague's work,
> in which the ethnography is used to develop models that are aimed back at
> the people who are its subjects. Rather, Geertz's model feeds back into the
> 1st world academic community (and the various agencies who conduct work in
> the countries of the studied peoples). That is the point I was making.
> >Savvy anthropologists like Geertz know/knew very well that ethnography
> was
> >never politically or morally neutral, and Geertz' rejection of
> >abstract theorizing in the field was meant as a move towards
> >something more like praxis, a rising to the concrete where what
> >matters is what people do to make and change their lives in terms of
> >what things mean to them.
> I don't think this makes any sense. Unless the "thick descriptions"
> serve to make models that feed back into the practice of the people there is
> absolutely no question of "praxis". One can verify descriptions with key
> informants (Geertz's practice as that of all traditional ethnographers) but
> unless these are transformed by the people whose models they are meant to
> be, incorporated into them, there is no sense in which those models are part
> of the praxis of the people, the "thick descriptions" of whose culture was
> used to develop them. Who consumes the object of the activity system, where
> does it link once produced? Yes, it is praxis, but part of the academic
> praxis of the 1st world countries. I think you'll find real examples of
> praxis in the Indigenous Communication movements (such as those in Oaxaca or
> among the Mapuche of Chile and Argentina) whose consequences in the social,
> economic, political and cultural domains (PRAXIS) are reaching the headlines
> of a
> website or newspaper near you. There the idea is to provide tools that
> allow people not only to express themselves (as opposed to having someone
> else express them to an external audience) but to develop that expression to
> meet the real challenges they face as people oppressed by their coerced
> incorporation into the global capitalist system with its attendant
> development of those persistent little contradictions between use value and
> exchange value that inhabit each element of the activity system.
> >Where, after all, do correct ideas come
> >from, if not from the people?
> Which people in particular?? "the People" is an abstraction of an even
> greater order than those initial abstract starting points Marx listed in the
> "Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy" (one of the key texts
> Ilyenkov used to develop Marx's concept of rising from the abstract to the
> concrete). Correct ideas certainly don't come from abstractions. Correct
> ideas for such self-identified people as the Mapuche or the Chanca of
> central Peru certainly don't come from the analyses of "thick" or any other
> kind of description that have been distilled in the universities of the
> central countries in the global system. For these "people" correct ideas
> about their own society, culture, history and economy come from within their
> own daily activity. The last place you find ethnographic studies is in the
> houses of the people who were the subjects of those studies.
> If the people working in the learning centers of the "center" (could
> be in Lima, Santiago, Mexico, DF, etc, as well as Ann Arbor, Paris or
> Berkeley) want to develop conceptual instruments that feed into the activity
> systems of the people they study, and not, directly or indirectly, back into
> the academic commodity market of globalized capitalism, I question whether
> they will find much funding or any other type of academic support for that
> matter for pursuing the work; especially if those instruments help them
> resist the subordination of their people to the global capitalist system.
> Paul Dillon
> Somewhat assisted Babelfish translation:\
> El jay Lemke escribió:
> Ø había una cierta confusión entre la VÍSPERA (EVE)
> Ø > en línea, el juego de las guerras del espacio de la hacia
> fuera-en-$$$-GALAXIA (y las culturas, y
> Ø > economía), y la EVE como shortcode para Everquest, otro
> Ø > fantasi'a-mundo (ningún recorrido de espacio de el cual sé) en
> línea.
> Ø
> Sí, ése era mi error. Everquest es un MMORPG basado Tolkien sin
> recorrido en el tipo Neutoniano-Einsteinian espacio interestelar. En saltos
> regulares "de las marcas de la EVE una" en espacio de la deformación.
> >¿La gente de I> apenas instala las facciones, que
> Ø pudo atraer a sus autores hoy como en el siglo pasado
> Ø > (los believers o los papel-jugadores del perverse), y ve qué
> sucede?
> La gente hace ya esto en la EVE que es exacto qué le hace un campo tan
> rico para el estudio; los stratagies económicos, sociales y culturales se
> persiguen además de construir la flota más de gran alcance de naves y de
> armamentos militares. Y como precisé, hay las continuaciones de la comunidad
> fuera del juego sí mismo que miembros, individualmente y colectivamente, se
> aprovechan de una variedad grande de instrumentos virtuales y no-virtuales a
> más futuro sus objetivos dentro del juego.
> >en cuanto a la "descripción gruesa," realmente no se significa para
> ser justo
> > descripción, sino las cuentas algo interpretativas que tienden un
> puente sobre entre
> > perspectiva del participante y la perspectiva del observador.
> Concedido. Solamente esto asume que el boquete puede ser tendido un
> puente sobre, cuando en hecho, en Geertz y el resto de los modelos del
> ethnography tradicional, el poste del observador (y su papel del compañero
> silente, el "reportero") de la dicotomía es predominante, el poste del
> participante simplemente una "metodología" para ganar datos. Pienso que es
> importante preguntar quiénes es el destinatorio de los datos. . . Geertz
> nunca abogó la clase de ethnography implícita en el marco de la TACH,
> especialmente según lo practicado en Engestrom y el trabajo de sus colegas,
> en los cuales el ethnography se utiliza para desarrollar los modelos que
> están dirigido detrás a la gente que es sus temas. Algo, el modelo de Geertz
> retroactúa en la comunidad académica del 1r mundo (y las varias agencias que
> conducen el trabajo en los países de la gente estudiada). Ése es el punto
> que hacía.
> >los antropólogos Listos tienen gusto de Geertz know/knew muy bien que
> el ethnography era
> >nunca político o moral neutral, y rechazamiento de Geertz ' de
> Ø theorizing abstracto en el campo fue significado como
> movimiento hacia
> > algo más como praxis, un levantamiento al concreto donde qué
> > importa está de lo que hace la gente para hacer y para cambiar sus
> vidas en términos
> > qué cosas significan a ellos.
> No pienso que esto tiene cualquier sentido. A menos que las
> "descripciones gruesas" sirvan para hacer los modelos que retroactúan en la
> práctica de la gente no hay absolutamente cuestión de la "praxis". Uno puede
> verificar descripciones con los informadores dominantes (práctica de Geertz
> como el de todos los ethnographers tradicionales) pero a menos que éstos
> sean transformados por la gente que modelos se significan para ser,
> incorporado en ella, allí no son ningún sentido en el cual esos modelos son
> parte de la praxis de la gente, las "descripciones gruesas" de de quién
> cultura fue utilizada para desarrollarla. ¿Quién consume el objeto del
> sistema de la actividad, dónde él se liga producido una vez? Sí, es praxis,
> pero parte de la praxis académica de los 1ros países del mundo. Pienso que
> usted encontrará ejemplos verdaderos de la praxis en los movimientos
> indígenas de la comunicación (tales como ésos en Oaxaca o entre el Mapuche
> de Chile y de la Argentina) que
> consecuencias en los dominios sociales, económicos, políticos y culturales
> (PRAXIS) están alcanzando los títulos de un Web site o de un periódico cerca
> de usted. Allí la idea es proporcionar las herramientas que permiten que la
> gente se exprese no solamente (en comparación con tener algún otro expreso
> ellos a una audiencia externa) pero desarrollar esa expresión para resolver
> los desafíos verdaderos que hacen frente como gente opresa por su
> incorporación forzada en el sistema global del capitalista con su desarrollo
> acompañante de esas pequeñas contradicciones persistentes entre el valor del
> uso y el valor de intercambio que habitan cada elemento del sistema de la
> actividad.
> > de dónde, después de todo, las ideas correctas vienen
> >, si no de la gente?
> ¿Qué gente en detalle?? "la gente" es una abstracción de una orden
> incluso mayor que esos puntos de partida abstractos iniciales Marx enumerado
> en la "introducción a la crítica de la economía política" (uno de los textos
> dominantes Ilyenkov desarrollaba el concepto de Marx del levantamiento del
> extracto al concreto). Las ideas correctas no vienen ciertamente de
> abstracciones. Las ideas correctas para la gente autodefinida tal como el
> Mapuche o el Chanca de Perú central no vienen ciertamente de los análisis de
> "densamente" o de ninguna otra clase de descripción que se han destilado en
> las universidades de los países centrales en el sistema global. Para estas
> ideas correctas de la "gente" sobre su propia sociedad, la cultura, la
> historia y la economía vienen dentro sus la propia actividad diaria. El
> lugar pasado que usted encuentra estudios etnográficos está en las casas de
> la gente que era los temas de esos estudios. Si la gente que trabaja en los
> centros que aprenden del
> "centro" (podría estar en Lima, Santiago, México, el DF, el etc, tan bien
> como Ann Arbor, París o Berkeley) desea perseguir la búsqueda de desarrollar
> los instrumentos conceptuales que los alimentan en los sistemas de la
> actividad de la gente estudie, y no, directamente o indirectamente,
> nuevamente dentro del mercado comercial académico de globalized capitalismo,
> pregunto si ella encontrará el tipo mucho de financiamiento o algún otro de
> ayuda académica para esa materia para perseguir el trabajo.
> ---------------------------------
> Want to start your own business? Learn how on Yahoo! Small Business.
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
xmca mailing list

Want to start your own business? Learn how on Yahoo! Small Business.
xmca mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Jan 03 2007 - 07:14:21 PST