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Re: [xmca] Institutions and concepts

I pretty much agree with all your comments on this issue Jay, but just on the matter of distinctions at the end of your message:

Jay Lemke wrote:
Two final points. First I am using "concept" here as a shorthand for concept-mediated practices, where the reality is always the practice-in-activity. Concepts as some sort of non-material realities in themselves make no sense to me. And second, there is an asymmetry in the relation of concept and institution. You can't, I think, define a concept apart from its grounding institution and the activities and practices normal to that institution. But you could not I think successfully define an institution through its associated concepts (though some people do try to do this, for example, with Mathematics, and even far less plausibly with the natural sciences).

I always see the institution or project or whatever as having three components: the set of activities, the artefacts (texts, buildings, images, tools, etc) and the real people enacting/thinking them. I see the concept as the identity of these three, obviously not something else on top of them, of course. The three aspects are never completely identical, and thus concepts always have a certain internal dissonance.

But to end by crossing two recent threads: if concepts are embedded in institutions, and concept learning is part of a development that always depends on affects, should we expect that institutions not only have their characteristic concepts, but also their characteristic emotional feelings? And that learning an institution-grounded concept therefore also means learning to feel emotionally in the "style" of that institution?

If this (the above) is the case, then you observation is right, of course, Jay. I think the relation is like that of quantity and quality, or exchange-value and use-value, or if and what. If you include the people in the concept, then it is not problematic that the concept includes emotions, but these are not shared in quite the same way as the shared artefacts and collaborative activity.



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