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RE: RE: [xmca] Gratuitous Difficulty and Guileless Deceit: emotional engagement

Hi Larry,

Over the weekend I have been reading a lovely book by Vasudevi Reddy (How infants know minds- Harvard UP, 2008) which provides a very good review of a wide range of research into the ways in which very young children engage with others. Reddy insists that the dualistic position has constructed an artificial assumption that infants CAN'T engage with other people before they have developed a 'conceptual' understanding of other 'selfs' or 'minds' - where there is glaring evidence of infants engaging with others this then has to be explained (away) either by 1st person (simulationist) accounts or 3rd person (theory theory) accounts but she argues that what is really needed is a 2nd person account which acknowledges the FELT experience of being the focus of another person's attention. Like Peter Hobson, Reddy argues that the 'bystander account' of how we 'read' minds is more like the way autistic people work out what other people think and feel (a bit like Andy's comment in his 1-03 post on dualism - 'your consciousness is real and by observing your behaviour I can even tell what's in it') - for non-autistic people, however, the attention, intentions and engagement of others is FELT rather than (consciously) decoded so intersubjectivity does not require conceptual knowledge about the nature of other minds.

Reddy argues that triadic relations are FIRST experienced not in the form of self, other and object/event but in the form of self, other and shared focus of attention where, in the first instance, the shared focus of attention is the relationship between self and other. This clearly relates to Trevarthen's 'primary intersubjectivity' in which the 'topic' of interaction is the interaction or relationship between (typically) mother and baby but Reddy goes a bit further to argue that engagement provides an essential contextual support for the baby's coming to know both other people and herself. Babies (even from birth) appear to be very aware of being the focus of another person's attention, responding more to faces which are directed at them with eyes open than if the 'observer's' eyes are shut or turned aside and we know how distressed babies become in 'still face' experiments. Well before conventional 'triadic relations' are established, infants (from about 6m) engage in deliberate actions to capture and manage other people's attention (performing 'tricks', using 'coy' strategies to manage excessive attention etc.).

I think there may be interesting overlaps here with Gillespie's focus on the actor/observer roles because observing (being attentive) is itself an action which can be observed by another and engagement - intimate, focused attention -  clearly is discernible to babies from very early on. What is also pretty obvious is that babies ARE different when they are bathed in sensitive, familiar attention and when they are separated off  to be subjected to psychological experiments - the dyadic condition surely precedes the separate self.

I wish I had more time to explore this fascinating topic and to engage more carefully and attentively with other people's contributions!

All the best,


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Larry Purss
Sent: 28 February 2010 18:17
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: RE: [xmca] Gratuitous Difficulty and Guileless Deceit

Hi Rod and others in the playworld

I wanted to respond to acknowledge the spirit, and reflection of your response to Gillespie's theoretical framework. Your fascination of  "what comes from within" and "what comes from without" and the relational connections between and within these questions is also my central wonder and curiosity.
Your particular question and curiosity in trying to understand how FAMILIAR and safe "self-other" relational patterns lead development is also a curiosity which I share. How you read Gillespie's ideas and responded with further thoughts and questions gave me an experience of intersubjective recognition.  A topic which I've mentioned in passing but not emphasized is the Discourse from Bowlby's Attachment Theory and how it fits into CHAT accounts. His particular explanation (a naturalistic and biological account) may be critiqued and found wanting but his pointing to the centrality of (m)other in our development of identity and subjectivity, and agency I believe is critical to bring into the conversation.  Attachment theory also highlights the centrality of affect and affect-regulation to our development.
I posted Gillespie's article because his differentiation of actor and observer positions as a developmental achievement facilitated through the SOCIAL ACT I happen to believe is central to the emergence of self-reflection and distanciation.
On the other thread on conservation the notion of DUALISM is being debated and I see our conversation on this thread running alongside that conversation. What CHAT, Pragmatism, and relational psychoanalysis (and its engagement with attachment theory thru Fonagy etc) share are TRIADIC models of development with notions of "subject" "object" "other" and "sign" (or symbol) in PLAY.  By play, I mean we rearrange the POSITIONS of these terms within our various TRIADIC models and put various terms at the apex in the MEDIATIONAL role and develop our theories of the relational patterns between these variables.

My BIAS (at this moment) is to place OTHER in a central role in my developmental narrative.  "Other" puts into play notions such as "attachment" "alterity" "intersubjectivity" "SOCIAL ACT" (as more specific than ACT) "perspective taking" "consciousness" "self-regulation" "self-reflection" "agency" "dialogue" "RECOGNITION" "mirror neurons" "theory of mind" "GAZE of the other" as constructs within a TRIADIC model which sees OTHER as PRIMARY to the formation of the person.  Gillespie, as a scholar who is re-engaging with G.H. Mead  (and W. James & Dewey) is articulating OTHER as central to development.  His writing points out that most writer's engaging with Mead are focusing on his notion of "taking the perspective of the generalized other" as an INTERNAL cognitive process or INTERPRETING (mind reading) the other's perspective (theory of mind). For Gillespie, this misses Mead's central contribution which is his theory of the SOCIAL ACT. The person actually takes various POSITIONS in play (cowboy-Indian; mother-infant;  store keeper-customer etc) and ACTS OUT EACH SEPARATE ROLE (position) Therefore he learns, through actual interactional engagement, alternative actor positions.  It is through PRACTICE of these actual experiences that he learns alternative perspectives (and not through mind reading). Developmentally the person has first one perspective, and next when taking an alternative POSITION in PLAY practices and acquires another perspective through lived experience. Mead's insight in his theory of the SOCIAL ACT is that developmentally we develop the ability to HOLD TWO POSITIONS (perspectives) simultaneously and therefore internalize the perspective of the "other" (position) after having experienced that position previously. The development is not in the ability to "mind-read". The ability is to hold two previous positions and perspective IN MIND that were PREVIOUSLY SOCIAL ACTS (not acts which may collapse into a dualistic theory).
 As Gillespie points out this is neither a CONFLICT or RUPTURE model of development or a FEEDBACK MODEL of "reading" or "interpreting" the others perspective. It puts the SOCIAL ACT of having EMBODIED separate positions (and incorporating symbolic resources of that institutional position/role) as PRIOR to taking the perspective of the other.  It is a developmental achievement to simultaneously hold these alternative and separately experienced TOGETHER IN MIND.
Rod, this is a long winded way of saying your question of the centrality of FAMILIAR and SAFE (and I would add ATTUNED ATTACHED and INTERSUBJECTIVE (as 2 separate agencies) SOCIAL ACTS leads to development of DISTANCIATION.  In the article on the play world SOCIAL ACTS and taking alternative positions (and alternative dialogues) with the accompanying affects are creating a "zo-ped".
Rod,  I hope this triggers further thoughts from you, David, Ana, Beth, Eric, and others on this fascinating topic.

 PS: If people are interested in Gillespie's notions on Mead I can post his article on MEAD.

----- Original Message -----
From: Rod Parker-Rees <R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk>
Date: Thursday, February 25, 2010 2:48 am
Subject: RE: [xmca] Gratuitous Difficulty and Guileless Deceit
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>

> I am finding xmca terrific as a tool for thinking and enjoying
> the gratuitous difficulty of grappling with a lot of different
> perspectives which all retain some connection with a core set of
> ideas about relationships between 'what comes from within' and
> 'what comes from without'.
> Larry's reference to Gillespie's distinction between
> distanciation (actor to observer) and empathy (observer to
> actor) plus Eric's observations about pseudoplay and rote
> activity have made me think about the extent to which the
> earliest forms of body exploration can be understood as being
> 'natural' (as in Vygotsky's 'natural line of development'). It
> seems to me that all activity, even the baby's waving arms,
> comprises both acting and observing and specifically comparing
> information about 'now' with information about previous, similar
> experiences. The motor and visual information about the movement
> of the arms is always interpreted in the light of existing
> schemas or patterns assembled from previous movements and serves
> to both test and refine these schemas but even at this early
> stage 'previous experience' is never entirely private or
> 'natural' - being left lying on one's back in a cot (possibly
> surrounded by high contrast black and white mobiles) will not
> provide the same kinds of experience as being carried, skin to
> skin, in a sling. So the 'observer' element, comparing present
> activity against the patterns, habits, assumptions etc, born out
> of previous, culturally shaped experience, is always from
> without as well as from within. 'Rote' play is, I think, more
> 'purposeful' than the name would suggest - reinforcing and
> redescribing patterns of activity but also internalising
> patterns of available activity. The 'actor' element is the
> visceral, embodied and affect rich driving force which tests and
> refines existing models (the experimenting or data gathering to
> the observer's literature review). I see this in terms of a
> tree, with roots which draw individual events together into
> categories, schemes and concepts as they come towards the trunk
> and with branches which represent the ways in which experience
> is organised by cultural rules, patterns and habits. Experience
> is always driven by both roots and branches, actor and observer
> and the energy of the actor can influence the culture as the
> culture influences and amplifies the abilities of the actor.
> I am also particularly interested in the ways in which
> familiarity allows us to interpret the actions and micro-
> movements of others (almost to co-observe) and how the willing
> intersubjectivity of parents provides a nurturing learning space
> for infants where observing as well as acting can be distributed.
> Apologies to all whose ideas I am bouncing off - I don't pretend
> to have a full understanding of any of them and I hope you won't
> mind me making my own sense of them (acting as well as observing!).
> All the best,
> Rod
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-
> bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of David Kellogg
> Sent: 23 February 2010 21:16
> To: Culture ActivityeXtended Mind
> Subject: RE: [xmca] Gratuitous Difficulty and Guileless Deceit
> eric
> Oh, I think you hit the mark, or meet the need, and I notice
> that you take far fewer words than I do to hit it. But I think
> that MY need here (as I see it) is mostly to disentangle.
> Leif is right about xmca as a resource. But to me the most
> exciting thing is not the way it provides endless goodies at the
> click of a mouse or the most obscure and recondite historical
> information at the posting of a query. To me the most exciting
> thing is that threads that are apparently quite separate come
> together, meet, tangle, and transform each other.
> For example, the current thread on Teach for America seems very
> related (at least in my mind) to the problem of play and
> cursing, because the Korean equivalent, an internship programme
> which is being put forward by the Korean government to
> temporarily absorb job seekers until the crisis stricken economy
> improves, has filled our classroom with people who in many cases
> are at the bottom end of the children's next zone of development.
> Alas, this is particularly true of the "conversation
> specialists" we are getting for English instruction, some of
> whom are refugees from the crisis stricken economies in the USA
> and Canada. These teachers-for-awhile tend to emphasize mindless
> activities (or rather passivities) rather than thinking, the
> transactional functions of English  information at the
> expense of the reflective, metalinguistic ones, and play rather
> than school work. And yes, they curse, and some are delighted
> when they discover that the kids "understand" them, or at least
> understand that they are cursing.
> That's the exciting part; when threads meet. But the problem
> (for me) is that the very excitement of threads meeting
> sometimes muddles up the real and important disagreements that
> we have on this list; there is a rush to mutual recognition and
> to premature agreement with others, at least in my mind, and I
> tend to overlook my own point of view in the hurry to acquire
> the topic, and the view of the topic of others.
> For example, I was so anxious to pick up the element of cursing
> you suggested in your post, I overlooked two rather important things:
> a) The whole point of the James McCawley paper that I was citing
> (why we say "abso-blooming-lutely" and "fan-fucking-tastic" is
> STRESS. The curse word (clearly "bloody" in the case of Eliza,
> which is another good example of semantic vacuity) serves to
> stress the following syllable, and that is abso-blooming-lutely
> all that it does.
> b) The whole point of stressing things in this way is
> indicativity, and emotional release. But it seems to me that the
> real point of disagreement which is emerging here (between you
> and me, and also, I think, between Rod and Larry) is that
> indicativity and emotional release is not necessarily on the
> developmental agenda; in many ways what is required of school
> children is the very opposite: signification, and shared
> emotion, which in many cases requires emotional restraint and
> adopting the point of view of the other while necessarily losing
> some of the emotional involvement.
> I feel that as a developmental fossil, cursing cannot play a
> role in the next zone of development. In fact, I think that only
> certain forms of play can: only those that are conceptually
> based, which depend on rules and abstract principles, and which
> result in the exercise of higher psychological functions such as
> fairness, justice, and critical thinking. Of course, cursing can
> be part of this development ("Curse you, Red Baron!" as a form
> of critical thinking?) but its functions will always be
> summative rather than formative, retroleptic rather than
> proleptic. It will not play a developmental role.
> Gunilla Lindqvist has really hit the mark and met the needs of
> the next zone of development--for preschoolers, where the
> cutting edge of the next zone really is the development of
> imaginative play by allowing the various threads of thinking and
> speech to tangle and cross fertilize. I think, actually, that
> the Socratic Dialogue in our paper may miss the mark precisely
> because it is not concerned with play, but only with the
> organization of play. That is why the discussion keeps falling,
> retroleptically, into non-generalizeable emotion  'We are
> all Pearl's best friends", as Yongho points out, is a logical
> contradiction, precisely because, like cursing, it puts a
> generalizeable sentiment in a retroleptic, nongeneralizeable form.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> --- On Tue, 2/23/10, ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org
> <ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org> wrote:
> From: ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org <ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org>
> Subject: RE: [xmca] Gratuitous Difficulty and Guileless Deceit
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Date: Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 11:01 AM
> David:
> Nice post, regardless of the curse words.  My example was
> not intended to
> provide distaste but was the first example that came to mind
> where a child
> speaks a word they have obviously heard but are unfamiliar with
> its usage
> (except for perhaps hearing it as an exclamation of excitement).
> Linguistic chops aside I believe that the child using the
> profanity is an
> expansion of their developmental level.
> Pertaining to Vygotsky I believe that the ZPD is a growth of his
> view that
> the child begins by imitating and that the growth occurs as that
> imitationis expanded (ala engstrom) into ever exceeding levels
> of conceptual
> understanding.  George Carlin did not curse in his comedy
> acts because of
> a lack of esteem but rather as an ever expanding conceptual
> understandingof both language and the human condition.
> eric
> p.s.  I see persistant cursing in the adolescent as a lack
> of vocabulary
> rather than esteem
> p.p.s  sometimes two cents gets u nuthin and somtimes it
> meets the need,
> don't know which one this post is though
> David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>
> Sent by: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
> 02/22/2010 08:01 PM
> Please respond to "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> To:     Culture ActivityeXtended Mind
> <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>        cc:
> Subject:        RE: [xmca]
> Gratuitous Difficulty and Guileless Deceit
> Warning: this posting contains some foul language, which is
> semanticallymeaningless and syntactically vacuous, but obeys
> very interesting
> phonological regularities, and for, I think, a very good reason.
> eric
> When I say "fuck you" (which I only do in linguistic circles,
> for reasons
> that will soon be apparent), I do not actually have any sexual
> act in mind
> at all, and the semantic meaning cannot actually be performed as the
> imperative that it syntactically appears to be (you cannot
> actually fuck
> yourself, even if you are linguist; it takes two, figuratively,
> to tango).
> However, foul language DOES have phonological rules. One of the
> earliestlinguistics papers I read as an undergraduate at the
> University of Chicago
> was called about why you can say "fan-fucking-tastic" but you
> cannot say
> "fantast-fucking-tic". Or, to give it a transparent Bowdlerization,
> why Eliza Doolittle, in "My Fair Lady" sings:
> Oh, so, loverly sittin' abso-bloomin'-lootely still
> I would never budge till spring, crept, over me window-sill!
> Someone's 'ead restin' on my knee...warm an' tender as 'e could be
> Oo tykes good care of me, Oww--wouldn't it be loverly?
> Why "Abso-blooming-lutely still" and not "Ab-blooming-solutely
> still" or
> "Absolute-blooming-ly still"?
> You know Wittgenstein spends a big part of "Philosophical
> Investigations"trying to debunk the Vygoskyan model of the
> concept, and the example he
> hits upon is that of "games". Games, according to Wittgenstein,
> have no
> single trait in common, either internal or external, and are
> best thought
> of as a family where everybody resembles each other to some
> extent or
> another but there is no underlying common essence.
> I think Vygotsky would be perfectly happy to say that games and
> play in
> general are preconceptual, a potential concept rather than an
> actual one,
> and the idea of "family resemblances" is exactly what Vygotsky
> uses to
> describe complexes (in Chapter Five of Thinking and Speech). But
> play IS a
> potential concept, that is, a concept for others (scientists and
> thinkers) and potentially one for myself (children and other players).
> Vygotsky points out that all forms of play have not one but TWO
> things in
> common: the imaginary situation, and the abstract rule. It's
> just that at
> the beginning of development one is explicit and the other is
> implicit,and by the end of development the roles are reversed.
> We can call these ROLE play and RULE play ("guileless deceit" and
> "gratuitous difficulty" were really just my attempts to describe
> how they
> might feel from the user's point of view.) But let me add one MORE
> element. At the very beginning of development, the period that
> Vygotskycalls "pseudo-play"--there is a form of play that is
> really just ROTE
> repetition.
> So foul language does not have any "role play", that is, no role
> to play
> in communication or reflection, and it doesn't have any "rule
> play", that
> is, no rules at the semantic or syntactic level. Yet it clearly is
> intimately linked to our emotional life, and it obeys
> phonological rules.
> Why is this?
> It seems to me that foul language is a linguistic fossil of ROTE play,
> of the period Vygotsky calls "pseudoplay", that is, play for
> others but
> not for myself. Vygotsky notes that most of this is repetitious
> activityof a sensorimotor sort (the sort of nose-scratching and
> ear-pulling and
> hair-twisting that my undergrads do when I rabbit on for too
> long). Foul
> language seems very similar to me, and I think it's no accident that
> mindless foul language is often a symptom of Asperger's.
> Why should we call it play at all? Well, of course, Vygotsky
> doesn't. But
> it seems to me that there are two ways in which it is LINKED to
> play. First of all, mindless repetition DOES lead to the
> creation of a
> kind of ideal, potential, model of an action; when children
> color for
> example, they do so by repeating and ordering the kinds of
> motions they
> use for scribbling. Secondly, there is a sense in which role
> play involves
> repeating the SPEAKER but varying the SPEECH in much the same
> way that
> rote play involved repeating the SPEECH.
> I think this is why Vygotsky and Voloshinov were both so struck by
> the variation-and-repetition of foul language in Dostoevsky's
> diary. There
> is some debate about whether Vygotsky got the example (which is quoted
> almost exactly) from Voloshinov, or whether they both took it
> from an
> article on "dialogic speech" by Jakubinsky. It seems to me that
> since Voloshinov and Vygotsky were BOTH working at the Herzen
> PedagogicAcademy in Leningrad at exactly the same time (1933-
> 1934), the former
> seems very likely.
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> PS: I had a grad student, an EXTREMELY conscientious teacher and
> motherwho had a tendency to want to study anything that cropped
> up in class. She
> discovered, through a foreign co-teacher, that some of the kids had
> learned a variety of swear words (from movies) and were using
> them, and
> she determined to make this her thesis topic.
> Her initial thesis was that kids swear because they "lack self-
> esteem".Like many working hunches, this turned out to be very
> well founded,
> although couched in a language I would call a little too
> hardworking and
> not quite hunchy enough (viz, if we help the kids feel better about
> themselves they will stop swearing).
> When I started looking at examples, I noticed that the kids tend
> to swear
> in situations where they can't really follow or understand, and
> swearingwas a kind of emphatic, parodic, almost satirical
> expression of the
> MEANINGLESSNESS, that is, the rote quality, of English in class.
> Unfortunately, my grad found it almost impossible to discuss the
> actualexamples she gathered, so we had to broaden the topic to include
> dispreferred and negative language quite generally. But I still
> get quite
> a thrill from looking at the data that has absolutely nothing to
> do with
> its (nonexistent) semantic or syntactic properties.
> dk
> --- On Mon, 2/22/10, ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org
> <ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org> wrote:
> From: ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org <ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org>
> Subject: RE: [xmca] Gratuitous Difficulty and Guileless Deceit
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Date: Monday, February 22, 2010, 8:02 AM
> Such a wonderful discussion occuring pertaining to development
> and the
> consequent study!
> The stretching of an experience by play does appear to touch on how
> emotions pertain to development.  I just consider the different
> experiences i had as a child and have observed as both teacher
> and parent
> and know that without emotions then an experience is devoid of
> meaning.Associating "more" with food makes perfect sense when
> attached to emotion
> and so the context and the societal sense of a situation feed people's
> responses to the play world and these responses are satiated in
> emotion.New words are tried out more freely in the play world
> and the 8 year-old
> learns that f*** shouldn't be stated with such clarity, at least
> in some
> company.   Would the forbidden utterance be an example
> of your Guiless
> Deceit David?
> eric
> Rod Parker-Rees <R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk>
> Sent by: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
> 02/22/2010 04:27 AM
> Please respond to "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> To:     "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>,"lchcmike@gmail.com" <lchcmike@gmail.com>
>         cc:
> Subject:        RE: [xmca]
> Gratuitous Difficulty and Guileless
> Deceit
> I wish I could remember where I read about a study which
> illustrated the
> cultural construction of 'meaning' through an account of
> children's use of
> the word 'more'. Researchers were rather puzzled by the fact
> that young
> children often pointed to a smaller quantity of objects when
> asked to
> point to the one which was 'more' - after a while they realised
> that for
> these children 'more' was particularly associated with mealtimes
> (can I
> have some more?) and in this context 'more' was usually less (second
> portions being smaller than first portions). I think this shows how
> concepts are inextricably bound up in the language practices of
> speakersso that the distinction between children 'knowing' about
> conservation of
> volume and knowing how to use the word 'more' is delightfully
> complicated.
> Some people are willing to argue about whether a tomato is a
> fruit or a
> vegetable as if there is an objective truth out there which
> could rule on
> the matter.
> The question about frustration v. humiliation reminds me of an
> interesting
> paper from 'Early Years' (Licht, Simoni and Perrig-Chiello 2008 -
> 28,3
> 235-49) entitled 'Conflict between peers in infancy and toddler
> age: what
> do they fight about' in which the authors argue that many conflicts
> between under 2 year olds which have traditionally been
> understood as
> conflicts about ownership can better be understood in terms of
> frustration
> at interruption of an activity (e.g. when one child takes away
> somethinganother child was examining or playing with). Vasu
> Reddy has also argued
> (with Colwyn Trevarthen) that very young infants display forms
> of 'pride'
> and 'shame' in their social interactions and perhaps these
> emotions can be
> understood in terms of satisfaction when experiences correspond with
> mental models, theories or plans and frustration when they don't
> - though
> these 'personal' responses will also be shaped by cultural
> patterns of
> behaviour which children will experience both directly, in
> responses to
> their actions, and indirectly, observing other people's
> reactions to other
> people's actions.
> I too am a bit ambivalent about the playworlds approach - at
> first it felt
> to me like an intrusion into a space which children should be
> allowed to
> own but I can see how it could serve as a form of boundary space
> betweenthis more (but not entirely) child-owned space and the
> more public space
> of social interactions with unfamiliar others. There seems to be
> a form of
> trajectory by which children 'develop' from a foetus which can only
> function with the support of a womb to infants who can only
> function with
> the support of familiar others, to children who can only
> function in a
> supportive, familiar community (a village), to adults who can
> function in
> progressively wider, more public communities, dealing with
> people with
> whom they have progressively less shared history. The 'higher'
> levels of
> development may not be accessible to all (not all adults feel
> comfortablegiving a presentation to a room full of strangers)
> but the 'lower' levels
> remain highly important!
> Also, it may be no bad thing to give young children clear
> signals about
> the 'oddness' of the cultural context of being at school -
> always a
> playworld but not always acknowledged as such!
> All the best,
> Rod
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-
> bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
> Behalf Of David Kellogg
> Sent: 22 February 2010 00:52
> To: lchcmike@gmail.com; Culture ActivityeXtended Mind
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Gratuitous Difficulty and Guileless Deceit
> First of all, I have a rather stupid question. In the "conservation"
> studies that Piaget does, when we ask children whether there is more
> liquid in the taller glass or the shorter glass, how do we know
> what the
> question actually means to the children?
> Isn't it possible that it might mean "the level is higher"? When
> I myself
> check the the mark on the side of a well I usually just think
> the level is
> higher. If you asked me in an unguarded moment, I might say,
> lazily, that
> somehow there is more or less water in the well (rather than
> talk about
> the water table).
> I might think that a higher tide mark means that somehow there
> is "more
> tide", and if my wife checks the oil or the transmission fluid
> in the car
> using a dipstick, I doubt if she considers whether the
> transmission fluid
> is conserved (perhaps it is hiding somewhere in the engine)?
> So I often wonder, when we think about issues of face, and
> menace, and
> even risk, whether these concepts really mean what we mean when
> we use
> them. When children worry about "losing face", isn't it the
> FRUSTRATIONcomponent which is dominant and the HUMILIATION
> component that is
> secondary? When they consider "risk", is it the consequences of
> failurethat primarily weigh upon them (as they do with us) or is
> it instead other
> the initial outlay of bother and effort that is their prime concern?
> Of course, at the adult end of development, kids are like us.
> One of us,
> Kim Yongho, created some "avatars" out of children's
> photographs, and
> found that the third and fourth graders were very happy to have
> these used
> in class, but fifth and sixth graders really hated it. Their
> humiliationis like our humiliation and the consequences of
> ridicule fall heavily on
> their consciousnesses. But that's not what we've got in this
> article; far
> from it.
> In some ways, Gunilla Lindqvist's whole concept of "playworlds"
> is the
> very opposite of what we see in the data. Instead of having a tightly
> circumscribed activity, with a clear beginning and end, in which the
> principles of an imaginary situation (guileless, shared deceit)
> and of
> abstract rules (gratuitious difficulty) hold sway, a kind of carefully
> bounded "carnival" space where things are turned upside down
> without in
> any way impinging on normal relations, Lindqvist actually takes
> the kids
> out of doors and has stuff hidden for them to find, and even
> members of
> staff dressed as characters hiding in the woods.
> When I first read this, I was pretty shocked, because it seemed
> to me that
> it's precisely the DELINEATION of gratuitous difficulty from the
> normaleveryday sort that makes it play, and the DIFFERENTIATION
> of guileless
> deceit from the manipulative sort that makes it a fictioin as
> opposed to a
> lie. It seemed to me that the whole idea of "playworlds" erases this
> boundary.
> Now I am not so sure. It seems to me that in Vygotsky a "social
> situation"
> (whether it's the "social situation of development" or the
> "environment"[среды]) is really a RELATION rather than a
> physical environment of some
> kind. After all, children don't seem to link play acting to any
> particuarphysical site; it's a way of being rather than a place
> to be.
> Or rather it's a bunch of different ways of being. Gratuitous
> difficultyhas to reconstruct guileless deceit before it can
> fully supplant and take
> over its functions, including its developmental functions.
> So school-age children who, in their guileless deceit,
> successfully play
> cops and robbers or cowboys and indians or (as my wife did as a girl,
> Americans vs. communists), are more developed than preschoolers
> who stick
> to "socialist realism" ("house", "school", "hospital", or, as
> one of my
> students who grew up over a butcher shop used to, "meat market"
> games).Requiring toys and props and friends to do this
> represents a lower
> developmental moment than being able to do it  with nothing
> but a piece of
> paper and a pencil.
> But in the same way, gratuitous difficulty represents a higher
> developmental moment than guileless deceit, and soccer, which requires
> physical mediation, represents a lower developmental moment than chess
> (which can actually, at a very high level, be played with
> nothing but a
> piece of paper).
> Not better. But in a developmental sense higher, in the sense
> that the
> child who can do the higher can do the lower with great ease,
> but the
> child who can do the lower may not be able to do the higher at all.
> And also in the sense that if I really think about the well and
> the tide
> and the dipstick in the transmission fluid I can see
> conservation at work,
> but it would take billions of physically mediated measurements
> to prove it
> (and any mismeasurement, at least according to Karl Popper,
> would force me
> to start again from zero!)
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> --- On Sun, 2/21/10, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> From: mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Gratuitous Difficulty and Guileless Deceit
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> Date: Sunday, February 21, 2010, 10:40 AM
> I would add, Rod, in this case, part of what is unusual owing to the
> nature
> of the play world this scene is linked to is that the teacher is
> also a
> risk
> taking co-player, in this sense/con-text a peer in the "safe
> space" of the
> play where he takes risks that at times made the researcher's
> practicallydrop their teeth!! All very difficult to get into a
> single article.
> mike
> On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 3:52 AM, Rod Parker-Rees <
> R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk> wrote:
> > I wonder how gratuitous the gratuitous difficulties introduced
> in play
> > really are - if we see play as being (among other things) a
> way of
> > organising, calibrating and revising our 'mental models' or theories
> about
> > how the world works, these added difficulties can be seen as a
> strategyfor
> > testing the range of applicability of the model or of
> monitoring how it
> > works in new situations. Bruner wrote about how adults 'up the
> ante' in
> > their interactions with developing children, adjusting their
> level of
> > support as children are able to take over more of a shared
> task and this
> > aspect of play may be a way by which children can up their own
> ante. It
> is
> > now easier to recognise that the relationship between child
> and adult is
> not
> > 'one-way' - that even babies play a part in educating their parents,
> > training them to develop mutually acceptable ways of
> interacting and one
> of
> > the advantages of introducing 'guileless deceit' into play is
> that it
> > affords opportunities for 'dressing up' in social practices
> associatedwith
> > negotiation of interests. If maternal love serves to modify
> aspects of
> > mothers' social monitoring (the 'love is blind' argument made
> by Fonagy,
> > Gergely and Target  on p. 298 of their article 'The
> parent-infant dyad
> and
> > the construction of the subjective self') this may provide a 'safe
> space' in
> > which infants can play their way into social processes and
> indeed babies
> do
> > appear to take on much more active, co-creating roles when
> playing with
> more
> > familiar partners. Even playing at deceit may be considerably
> more risky
> > when one's partner is less well known - familiarity provides a
> degree of
> > security which allows social risk taking to be thrilling
> rather than
> > frightening.
> >
> > In the context of the playworlds paper, these children (and their
> teacher)
> > are having to work out a space between friendship and the more
> formal,> managed relationships between children and teacher to
> identify how much
> > scope there really is for children to shape the future course
> of their
> > activity. The question for me is how children can be helped to
> make the
> step
> > from negotiation of play planning among peers to this more
> sophisticated
> way
> > of 'playing the game', which involves awareness of the teacher's
> interests
> > and constraints so that these can be negotiated. It seems to
> me that a
> > factor which would support this transition would be the degree
> to which
> the
> > children know the teacher, not only as a teacher (role-holder)
> but also
> as a
> > person - what he likes and dislikes, how he reacts to teasing and
> > challenging, how willing he is to respond to children's
> suggestions etc.
> > Playing social games is supported by familiar 'more competent
> others'and
> > develops skills which allow us to engage in interactions with less
> familiar,
> > less congenial 'adversaries'.
> >
> > All the best,
> >
> > Rod
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-
> bounces@weber.ucsd.edu]On
> > Behalf Of David Kellogg
> > Sent: 20 February 2010 21:55
> > To: xmca
> > Subject: [xmca] Gratuitous Difficulty and Guileless Deceit
> >
> > Very well, let me try to take the play discussion in a rather new
> > direction. So far we've mostly discussed how play manages to
> highlightthe
> > different e-motions of very young children and mostly
> speculated about
> how
> > this might be developmental.
> >
> > In some ways it seems to me that the article is rather poorly
> suited to
> > this view. First of all, the actual data is not play per se
> but only
> > preparation for play. One can easily imagine this play taking place
> without
> > this preparation and therefore it doesn't seem a necessary
> component.>
> > Secondly, even if we accept the preplay discussion as a
> necessary stage
> of
> > this form of play, it's not clear to me how e-motion is a
> necessary part
> of
> > the resolution of the discussion. One can easily imagine the
> discussion> being resolved without reference to friendship or
> best friends, etc.
> >
> > But take the following dialogue, from our third grade textbook:
> >
> > Minsu: I like apples.
> > Julie: I don't like apples.
> > (Minsu's mother turns the plate so Julie can see some fresh Keobong
> grapes)
> > Julie: Grapes! I like grapes.
> > Minsu: I don't like ...
> >
> > When we ask the kids to continue the dialogue (either as
> "volleyball" or
> > "pingpong" they will go like this for hours. They will not
> stick to the
> > concept of 'fruit' either (we don't teach the word fruit,
> because it
> > presents a very difficult plural in English). They will extend
> the use
> of
> > the verb to virtually any field of experience, at hand or not.
> >
> > In fact, the verb "like" turns out to be BY FAR the preferred
> verb in
> third
> > grade; the verb which is most likely to be used when we put
> the kids in
> > teams or groups and ask them to improvise on ANY dialogue.
> This is
> strange,
> > because it's not at all frequent in the material we teach.
> >
> > So I want to suggest two ways in which play per se requires
> emotion and
> in
> > particular requires not only emotion but the mastery of
> emotion. The
> first
> > we can call the principle of Gratuitious Difficulty, that is, the
> > introduction of extraneous problems and unnecessary rules
> whose only
> > apparent purpose is to complicate the game, rather like the
> introduction
> of
> > obstacles between the hero and the goal in a story.
> >
> > The second we can call the principle of  Guileless or
> Guiltless Deceit,
> > that is, the introduction of a conceit, or an imaginary
> situation which
> is
> > shared but also contested in some way. I want to suggest that
> these two
> > principles are common to all forms of play, but not the
> preplay activity
> > which the article is concerned with.
> >
> > David Kellogg
> > Seoul National University of Education
> >
> >
> >
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