Re: [xmca] Streamed Discussion of Discussion of Development in CHAT theory

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Thu Nov 15 2007 - 15:26:27 PST

LCHC is in a shambles of being 20% moved to a new location.
Agency is not my word. I rented it from someone. Perhaps it was not worth
the bit of life I paid for it. I will try to go back and recover
the relevant conversation when I have electricity and a working phone.

On Nov 14, 2007 8:37 PM, Paul Dillon <> wrote:

> David
> If it's not your word then it seems I disagree with mike's word but you
> used it and disclaiming the word's origin doesn't speak to the objections I
> presented. And I don't see how the linguistic examples you provide
> illuminate the process of socialization or the infant's awakening to higher
> mental functions . Similarly, the comparison of orchestra and audience
> doesn't seem relevant to the process of socialization .The separation of
> audience and performer seems light years away from the kind of process
> Vygotsky explored and theorized.
> Nietzche's "Birth of Tragedy" relates the transformation of carnival
> (Dionysian bacchanal) into theater, stage, audience and perfomrer, the
> process of separating participants from audiences with the left over trace
> of the chorus..(almost Mead's generalized other, or Gadamer's open horizon)
> But this historical consequence,of early state formation seems to me to be
> the very antithesis of the developmental learning process that Vygostky
> posited in his effor to provide an educational psychology for socialist
> society.
> Paul
> David Kellogg <> wrote:
> Paul--
> I gather you don't like the word "agency". It's Mike's word, not mine (and
> it's not LSV's either, as you point out). But I don't see what is wrong with
> it. It's one of those really delightful expressions that means both itself
> and its opposite (like "I could care less" or "I couldn't care less" or "I
> thought you'd REMEMBER me" and "I THOUGHT you'd remember me"). We say that
> somebody who can do things for his or herself has "agency", but of course
> when we want somebody to do something for us we go to a travel/real estate
> agent.
> I'm very fond of these pushmipullyu expressions because they show so very
> clearly how WRONG it is to think that (as my colleagues in the phonology
> department like to say) utterances or words or phonemes "carry" meaning.
> They only point to where you have to rummage around to find it, and in that
> sense even the most symbolic expressions are merely indexes.
> Very well then. Here is another place for you to rummage around in order
> to find my meaning. This morning there was a story about how Sir Simon
> Rattle, conducting a performance of Mahler's Ninth, was disturbed by
> coughing sounds from the audience. He stepped off the stage into the
> audience and explained to them that Mahler's Ninth was written to include a
> moment of silence at the beginning and at the end, and that the audience
> thus had to participate in the creation of the music by providing that
> silence. He even took out a handkerchief and demonstrated how to blow your
> nose silently as if he were showing a novice orchestra member how to play a
> particularly challenging instrumental passage.
> That's all I meant to say: the audience has a peripheral role, while the
> orchestra is central. But as Sir Simon points out, a peripheral role is
> still a role. My ex-grad would complain that it is a non-interactive one,
> but in fact this is not strictly true either, else Sir Simon would not have
> had to stop the performance. Mutatis mutandis, a child whose only way of
> communicating is crying, who stops crying when the communicative need is
> satisfied even when the underlying biological need remains, is still playing
> a social role.
> (At the end of the piece, the story says, the audience remained silent,
> but you could hear police sirens outside the concert hall...)
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
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Received on Thu Nov 15 15:28 PST 2007

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