[xmca] Re: Attack Agency?

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at gmail.com>
Date: Mon Nov 19 2007 - 10:45:59 PST

Could you further unpack this,. Paul? I sometimes refer to culture as
"history in the present" and as a dynamic process always in change.
hence culture-historical (not cultural AND historical). We have some
terminological problems here that may foul up our attempts at
communicating clearly.

On Nov 19, 2007 10:25 AM, Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think@yahoo.com> wrote:

> mike,
> I want to clarify that I wasn't attacking the notion of agent or agency,
> per se, rather the attribution of "agency" to the supposedly isolable
> individual subject (biologically prepared at birth to ?agentize?) that is
> really a secret agent lurking in many interpretations of Vygotsky although
> that seems completely antithetical to my meagre knowledge of Vygotsky. But
> then, isn't it true that erudition and understanding are different.
> Of course the words "agent" and "agency" refer to something.
> there are indivdual agents, such as: real estate agents, travel agents,
> insurance agents, etc. But it seems that this usage always refers to what
> traditional sociology calls "roles" On a completely collective level there
> are agents for social change such as worker's unionns or civil rights
> organization and probably others I can't think of right now
> But as long as the long-term perspective of human evolution/history, which
> is the dimension of the C in CHAT, isn't always in the background of our
> understanding of the human individual and as long the the H in CHAT plays
> absolutely no part in the theorization, it's not clear to me how a new step
> in understanding of the A in the theory can ever take place.
> Paul
> *Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>* wrote:
> Emily-- I thought the point of David's comment about one on one kinds of
> zopeds was that they were insufficient, not that he was advocating such
> reduction.
> It is Adrian Cussins who uses the footpath metaphor and I thought it
> problematic for some of the same reasons expressed in this thread.
> No agency? No Burkian Pentad?
> Not even a *secret* agent?
> darn.
> what replaces such exciting stuff?
> mike
> ps-- no idea about the problem with reaching the streamed discussion,
> Eric.
> Checking on it.
> On Nov 18, 2007 8:11 PM, David Kellogg wrote:
> > You didn't miss much, Mike! Paul attacked the use of the word "agency",
> > and nobody was willing to defend it.
> >
> > Let's try a new direction instead. On Saturday, as it happens, I went to
> > hear Professor Bachman, who signed the rejection letter you got for the
> > mini-course. He's an assessment wallah in language teaching, and he gave
> one
> > of these airport talks that can be given to anyone and no one on any day
> of
> > the week in any city on earth (a pity, because we just had a very high
> > stakes college entrance exam here in Korea, always accompanied by at
> least
> > one suicide).
> >
> > In the discussion, I tried to extend his idea of "generalizeability"
> (that
> > is, the idea that test results are predictive in some way of behavior
> > outside of the test taking) to the FUTURE--dynamic assessment, of
> course!
> > Professor Bachman couldn't see that there was any problem there at all,
> > because the ability to learn is, as we all know, a form of aptitude, and
> > aptitude is simply another construct which can be sampled and modeled by
> > statistical means.
> >
> > On the way home it occurred to me that it is in principle impossible for
> a
> > test to predict how test-taking behavior can POTENTIALLY (as opposed to
> > actually) change, even if we take (as dynamic assessment usually does) a
> > severely truncated view of what a ZPD involves (one learner plus one
> more
> > able peer or one learner plus one mediational means). It's in principle
> not
> > possible to use the zone of proximal development to predict how the zone
> of
> > proximal development itself will develop.
> >
> > I think that there are some disadvantages to the way in which Professor
> > Engestrom talked about the ZPD (in particular, the only reference to
> > internalization seems to be the ability to move around independent of
> the
> > starting point, which is something that is possible without
> internalization,
> > e.g. using a map). But I think his "footprints in the forest" image
> > catches this limitation extremely well. It is possible to use extant
> > footprints to predict future footprints, but it is not possible to use
> > footprints to predict future trails.
> >
> > David Kellogg
> > Seoul National University of Education
> >
> >
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Received on Mon Nov 19 10:47 PST 2007

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