[xmca] Fw: second response (missing in cyber-space possibly)

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at yahoo.com>
Date: Mon Dec 15 2008 - 12:21:19 PST

Peter attempted to send the following to xmca but apparrently hasn't been able to do it.

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Peter Sawchuk <psawchuk@oise.utoronto.ca>
To: phd_crit_think@yahoo.com
Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 10:51:49 AM
Subject: second response (missing in cyber-space possibly)


I responded to your follow up on my initial response to you a few days ago, but I still do not see it in the XMCA list. I'm wondering if I don't know how to post there at all. In any case, though we disagree in several things, I very appreciate your comments, so I feel obligated to paste the response in below. Your comments have produced a nice opportunity for me to clarify my own thinking. In particular, it has made me think more about the possibilities of Schutz for my ongoing work around class consciousness, memory, time, meaning and activity. I suspect that you gained much less from this than I did, so I would just like to say thank you formally.

Sincerely - Peter

(response from Peter)
On the matter of our use of the term ‘conduct’. Beginning in the abstract we use the term ‘social conduct’ primarily. It is true that authors we cover do not use the term social conduct or conduct, and nor do we attribute this usage to them. They use the terms social action and enactment, or offer some variation on these two orientations which we take a good deal of space to explain. We do use the term ‘social conduct’ in the introduction of the article in order to simply provide an orientation to our discussion of examples of both clusters of approaches (and those which seem to fuse elements of the two). Our use of term, necessarily broadly defined, is an organizing umbrella term for the specific concepts we explore in the piece. It is necessarily general for this reason since we wish it simply to direct attention, as we spend our time explaining, to social action, enactment, etc. For what it is worth, the use of the term conduct was also a
general framing to respond to the idea that we felt some non-sociological readers may have that sociology is a field primarily fixated on social structures, institutions, values and so on with little attention to people's interaction, action/enactment and so on. We had no intention of referencing the field of ethics. Despite what Paul says, the terms ‘conduct’ and ‘social conduct’ are often used in sociology in the same way we use the term here. Should we have been more consistent throughout the paper in this regard? Perhaps, but I don’t see that that orienting framing of the paper got in the way of people’s reading of the argument we were attempting to advance. On this related matter of the meaning of ‘world’, ‘reproduce’, etc. that Paul goes on to question. I think for the purposes assigned this particular attempt at orientation in the introduction, they served their purpose fine. The fact is that the authors we
dealt with would have radically different perspectives on what these terms meant. To describe these views would have been a different paper.

On the matter of Schutz. Paul states that his primary concern is our inability to fully explore the connection between Husserl and Schutz. This is true. We did not fully explore the connection between Husserl and Schutz. In fact, as we structured the introduction of Schutz in the paper I think it’s clear that we are much more interested in Schutz’s critical synthesis across Weber and Husserl (and beyond) than simply his development on Husserl. Schutz’s exchanges with Parsons are very interesting on this matter. We indicated that Schutz was heavily influenced by Husserl twice in the paragraph devoted to him, and got on with the work of generating a concise description. In the case of every author in sections where we explain social action, enactment and their overlaps, we chose to cite their own work and not secondary and subsequent interpretations despite ample opportunity in every instance. This was to encourage others to look back at the
 original sources of
what we felt were important ideas. So, as elsewhere we reference Schutz’s work directly and do not get into subsequent interpretations, and provide an explanation that we do not believe is misleading but invaluable for further exploration in relation to CHAT more fully for us and others in the future. Here we attempted to point out the potential importance of the question of, among several other matters, internal-time in relation to social action, inter-subjectivity and the complexities of experience. The question of temporality was but one point among several squeezed into our description. We take from his work in this area that action has a complex temporal dimension: as Paul stated in an earlier post referencing retention, the present and protension (and the terms “ancestors”, “contemporaries”, and “descendants”; to which for our purposes we could add the terms Schutz (and Luckmann) also used “actual experience”, “past
experience” and “anticipated experience”). As in conventionally understood, these are a component of action that were not developed adequately in Weber’s theory of social action and verstehen, but through Schutz were shown to be crucial for explanations of the uniqueness of meaning for actors and their subjective, and inter-subjective experience which runs counter to externalized-structuralist reading of the meaning-making process. We chose to refer to these, to my mind unambiguously, with another set of terms Schutz uses “past now”, “now” and “future now”. I don’t understand how this can be interpreted as treating the now as either ‘empty’ or ‘abstract’. Rather these are terms which to our minds captures the importance of the so-called vivid present for Schutzian social phenomenological approach (yes, drawing on Husserl) in particular when Schutz actively takes up a theory of action and acts
neither of which it’s worthwhile confirming take place in either the past or the future. Our formulation seems to me to accurately emphasize the flow of lived experience from one now to another as a continuum, i.e. the stream of consciousness; self-conscious meaning (as distinct from experience) having a special relationship with the past, a past which can be extended into the future in some cases but rooted in the past nonetheless; remembrance as the past is reconstructed in the present now; and so on. I suppose I would have to say that matters such as these are what constitute my reading of the “experiential structures of temporality” that Paul asks about, if I’m understanding his question properly. While I have not read the citation that Paul mentioned in an earlier post (Kummel; at least in English translation), perhaps all my concerns would be dealt with, but at this point I don’t see the use of these terms as detracting from the point
Schutz’s work was trying to make. Indeed, we think this is a reasonable entry point to Schutz’s argument in this area. Is it ‘fully elaborated’? No, and nor are a variety of points which, like this one, are meant to serve as a reasonable entry point into future dialogue.

I’ll only speak for myself in this matter, but I honestly look forward to what will likely be a fascinating piece on Schutz and activity theory from Paul in the future. I cannot claim to understand exactly what he has in mind regarding the connection of Schutz’s discussion of ‘motive’ (and ‘projects’ and systems of ‘relevance’: Schutz 1970) and conceptualizations of CHAT tradition, but he may be on to something. Let’s wait and see.

In fact, this exchange has solidified in my mind the idea that the book project that I’ve had in mind for some time in this area must feature a chapter on Schutz and others in the social phenomenology tradition perhaps. Bernstein, as Harry has mentioned, would also be highly suitable, as would Bourdieu and of course a variety of others mentioned and not mentioned in Anna and I’s article. Obviously greater justice could be done to the types of matters that Paul raises in a format dedicated to a single author per chapter. If there are people interested in contributing to this type of project, I would be pleased to discuss it with them. (psawchuk@oise.utoronto.ca)...

Finally, I do not want to be rude in any way. I am so very pleased to have had this opportunity to engage more deeply on several matters expressed in the list. But I also view my own time here on the list as a guilty pleasure running against my other duties and deadlines not the least of which are marking, car repairs and holiday shopping. Best wishes to Paul and everyone else. This has been a very interesting ‘experience’ (‘meaning’ of which I will still have to make, as it were).

Cheers - Peter

Peter H. Sawchuk, PhD
Associate Professor
Sociology and Equity Studies in Education
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
University of Toronto
252 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5S 1V6
(t) 416-978-0570
(e) psawchuk@oise.utoronto.ca
(f) 416-926-4751

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Received on Mon Dec 15 12:22:51 2008

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