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Re: [xmca] Development of development

I do see your point about seeing an authors concepts as situated in a network or constellation of normative practices. However I also like Martin's and the hermeneutic idea that every time you encounter a text it is a fundamental emergence of new meaning as we appropriate an author's ideas. In that spirit I would say it's more accurate to say I was reading "Martin's Habermas" and not Habermas.  As Martin interprets   Habermas's writings and tries to "understand" and then "translates" Habermas in his own writings I encounter Martin's Habermas and appropriate those ideas. Martin is writing at a different historical moment from Habermas and therefore it is always a translation.
As an example I personally am intrigued by some concepts in attachment theory but do not accept its underlying foundational assumptions.  However the patterns of interaction they have "observed" seem significant to me and I'm interested in reading other interpretations of attachment theory but that challenge some of its basic foundations.
I know this is a sloppy philosophical way of approaching ideas [as a network of ideas that constitutes a coherent world] but I wasn't trained in an institutional structure that mediated that particular way of constructing a world. 
However, I do love the process of thinking out loud in a community of inquiry and have "faith" in that open ended process.
I do agree that Habermas is criticized for being a liberal but the distinction between lifeworld and rationalized systems may open other pathways which go beyond Habermas's original network of ideas.


----- Original Message -----
From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
Date: Friday, May 14, 2010 8:24 pm
Subject: Re: [xmca] Development of development
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>

> Certainly Larry, Habermas is a great and creative writer and 
> a study of the concepts he uses is very rewarding. I do 
> think though that we can see in his work why it is that he 
> has become a liberal.
> When I read any social philosopher I always ask myself how 
> the writer sees the *constellation of artefacts* and the 
> network of *normative practices* which constitute the world, 
> and the relation between the two, and the place of the 
> individual in there. My judgment that he takes material 
> culture as a mere resource leads me to see why he became a 
> liberal. But that doesn't prevent a more productive 
> appropriation of his insights.
> Andy
> Larry Purss wrote:
> > Andy
> > I've been reading J.M.Bernstein [Recovering the Ethical Life: 
> > Jurgen Habermas and the Future of Critical Theory] (1995)
> > Bernstein explains rationalization processes as focussed on 
> > proceduralism. A move from judgements to formal procedures 
> advance 
> > rationality because it works against arbritariness.  
> Insofar as anything 
> > is only individual or unique it is mere contingency, and from 
> the 
> > perspective of rationality is arbitrary.
> > The ideal of  instrumental rationality
> > How this looks in schools is the institutional requirement to 
> organize 
> > our activity through rules that apply universally to all the 
> "members" 
> > or "students".  Any unique person can be SUBSTITUTED for 
> another unique 
> > person and the rationalization process will implicate the 
> persons as 
> > both alike as "students".
> > In a lifeworld [as I interpret it] one's unique subjectivity 
> is 
> > recognized by another unique subjectivity and the resulting 
> > intersubjective engagement is open-ended and part of a 
> lifeworld of 
> > lived experience.
> > The traditional notion of institutionalized rationality 
> includes the 
> > economic rationality of the marketplace and the political 
> rationality of 
> > the state.  Martin's description of how The Federal 
> government and the 
> > state government imposed rationalized structural changes at 
> Willow Run 
> > are an example of privileging rational "procedures" of school 
> change in 
> > opposition to the development of local unique changes that 
> supported the 
> > teachers and community maintaining a dialogical pattern of 
> interaction.> Andy, when I read the Fleer and Hedegaard article 
> their school setting 
> > [in Australia] has so many similarities to the schools I work 
> in [in 
> > Canada].  The concept of rationalization as proceduralism 
> that 
> > constructs settings that are ALIKE  in places as far 
> apart as Australia 
> > and Canada [and negates the unique particularism of each 
> situation] is 
> > the hallmark of schools as systems.
> > Now they view development as a revolutionary process as 
> children become 
> > "students" who are expected to follow specific procedures and 
> maintain a 
> > good "attitude". The transformation in moving from the 
> > family "lifeworld" where all the participants are intimately 
> implicated 
> > in each others experience as they constantly move throughout 
> the house, 
> > into rationalized schools bursts the lifeworld. The resulting 
> "kind of 
> > person" that develops in these rationalized contexts acquires 
> an 
> > attitude that is "flexible" and "self-contained" and "independent".
> > Now the question I ask is it possible to mitigate these 
> rationalized 
> > procedural ways to structure institutions [and develops 
> rationalized 
> > kinds of persons] by supporting relational connections among 
> the persons 
> > who are living in these school structures.
> > There are individual teachers who do create more intimate 
> relational 
> > classroom environments, [lifeworlds] but there are also many 
> classrooms 
> > where rational proceduralism dominates the relations among the 
> students.> I don't view these various structural ways of 
> relating as only the 
> > "background circumstances" in which individuals navigate their 
> > individual paths through the school setting.
> > Rationalized structures create institutions that create 
> particular types 
> > of developmental pathways which develop particular "kind of 
> persons".  
> > This may not be the meaning that Habermas tried to articulate, 
> but it is 
> > my "reading" as I respond to Martin's use of Habermas's term 
> "lifeworld".> Another term that is relevant to Weber's notion of 
> rationalized 
> > procedures is his recognition of "disenchanting the 
> world"  {Berman has 
> > written a fascinating book "The Re-enchantment of the World" 
> that is a 
> > history of this process}
> > Re-enchanting the world is re-recognizing the centrality of 
> the 
> > imaginal in lifeworlds and the devaluing the imaginal in 
> rationalized 
> > institutions.  Wolfgang Isser {who Martin recommended 
> reading} describes 
> > "knowing" as a triangle with the "imaginal" and the "real" 
> being 
> > MEDIATED by the FICTIONAL that transforms the imaginal to the 
> real. 
> > [Isser was a student of Gadamer]
> > Andy, I am not well grounded in these traditions [such as 
> hermeneutics] 
> > but when I read Martin's linking cultural historical notions 
> with 
> > writers such as Isser, H. Whyte, and Gadamer its an area I 
> want to 
> > explore further.
> >  
> > Larry
> -- 
> -----------------------------------------------------------------
> -------
> Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435 
> Skype andy.blunden
> An Interdisciplinary Theory of Activity: 
> http://www.brill.nl/scss
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