Re: [xmca] Emotion at Work

From: Steve Gabosch <sgabosch who-is-at>
Date: Wed Aug 15 2007 - 18:08:39 PDT

Michael, I appreciate you identifying Klaus Holzkamp and Jonathan H.
Turner as two core influences on your thinking about emotions and how
they relate to motives. I do not know either of these authors
enough to have a sense of how they would deal with the idea of
distinguishing objective and subjective motives. In fact, I am not
sure who makes this precise distinction and what they make of it (not
that many haven't). This question, among others, which comes out of
studying your stimulating article and participating in this
discussion, will be helpful for me in my continuing studies of CHAT,
emotions, subjectivity, work relationships, etc.

This distinction I am making between subjective and objective motives
seems essential to me. I would go so far as to suggest this
distinction can be viewed as paralleling Vygotsky's genetic law of
development: objective motives that are first met on the
interpsychological plane are then internalized and met by the
individual once again, in transformed states and therefore as new
kinds of entities, on the intrapsychological plane. What makes this
paradigm extremely rich for me is its potential to show, using a CHAT
framework, how contradictory social conditions (class antagonisms,
women's oppression, oppression of ethnic and/or language-based
groups, etc. etc.) create contradictory and conflicting objective
motives, which then become transformed into a rich inner world of
conflicting subjective motives in each individual, often in extremely
unique, creative, surprising, and not infrequently, unconscious ways.

My problem with the emotional payoff and valence concept is not that
it does not help shed light on essential dimensions of subjective
motivation, but that it easily becomes confused with and even
substituted for the analysis of objective conditions and motives,
which I consider, methodologically, a necessary prerequisite for
scientifically penetrating into the even more complex realm of
subjective experience and motive.

Following this reasoning, I find myself taking direct issue with the
idea that emotional payoffs drive motives in individuals. This idea
seems to reverse the overall cause and effect and underlying
emergence relationship between motive and emotion, between the
objective and subjective. There is no doubt that this popular idea,
that emotional payoffs generate individual motives, resonates rather
strongly and widely in mainstream psychology and social theory. But
I think CHAT theorists should be extremely careful to avoid losing
CHAT's foundations in classical Marxist ontology in regard to the
paradigm that social being determines social consciousness.

- Steve

On Aug 10, 2007, at 11:25 AM, Wolff-Michael Roth wrote:

> Hi Andy,
> when people engage in activities (deyatel'nost', Tätigkeit), they
> contribute to the collective control of life conditions and expand
> their individual control over life conditions, even if they don't
> farm, hunt, gather.... It is part of securing life. Holzkamp (1983)
> writes something like: "THe achievement of goals in collectivity
> with others have a certain associated levels of satisfaction
> (social control needs), so that the anticipation of the collective
> success also motivates individual engagement. Only by making such
> an assumption can the evolution of the emotional readiness for
> action to the depicted collective activities made possibly
> understandable on logico- historical grounds, and thereby also the
> evolutionary coming about of the collective activities
> themselves" (p. 171).
> You see how he constructs a tight link between engagement in
> activity for securing control over life conditions and emotion.
> :-)
> Cheers,
> Michael
> On 10-Aug-07, at 6:35 AM, Andy Blunden wrote:
>> Michael, perhaps you could clear this up for me. I had the feeling
>> from your paper that you thought that people acted so as to
>> maximise emotional valence. Could you clear that up for me. That
>> would be wrong, wouldn't it?
>> Andy
>> At 05:44 AM 10/08/2007 -0700, you wrote:
>>> This categorical analysis was done by Klaus Holzkamp (Grundlegung
>>> der
>>> Psychologie [Foundations of Psychology], 1983), I use his results to
>>> interpret the data at hand. Also, look into Jonathan Turner's
>>> work, I
>>> think he says pretty well the same thing. Holzkamp, if some have
>>> forgotten, rigorously takes Leont'ev's work a step further, really
>>> using the method outlined by Marx, the evolutionary / cultural-
>>> historical, much more so than probably Yrjö has done--I am thinking
>>> of the latter's presentation of the evolution of activity (Expansive
>>> learning, 1987) and the earlier work by Klaus Holzkamp.
>>> Cheers,
>>> Michael
>>> On 10-Aug-07, at 12:24 AM, Steve Gabosch wrote:
>>> Continuing the discussion on Michael's R's paper Emotion at Work ...
>>> I have a problem with the claims the paper makes about the
>>> relationship between emotional payoffs and valences, on one hand,
>>> and
>>> motives, on the other. It seems to me that it is vital to
>>> differentiate between the needs and motives generated objectively by
>>> an activity, and the needs and motives that are generated
>>> subjectively by a person engaged in an activity. Are the categories
>>> and relationships suggested in this paper (emotions, payoffs,
>>> valences, motivations, identity) helpful for distinguishing between
>>> objective and subjective motives? Is it indeed vital to make this
>>> kind of distinction?
>>> - Steve
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