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[xmca] Rom Harre quote on acts and activity

Andy, this is a continuation of your thread on reading Kirschner and
Martin's edited book.  Mike and Natalia Gajdamaschko elaborated a particular
account of the term "context".
My copy of the book "The Sociocultural Turn in Psychology" recently arrived
in the mail and I've just read Rom Harre's article "Public Sources of the
Personal Mind" and his perspective on persons in context within
developmental psychology.
He suggests that historically there have been  two distinct movements within
sociocultural accounts of developmental psychology.

1) A movement that could be called "psychologists against biological
determinism".  The central question within this movement is "Whence come our
cognitive skills, emotional propensities, and repertoires of personality
displays?"  There are two kinds of constraints on the kinds of minds that
Vygotskian processes can induce in a human being. The first constraint is
that the embodied human brain has an inherited architecture.  The other
limiting constraint is set by the history of sociocultural contexts.  These
constraints limit but do NOT determine the person.

2)There is another movement that Harre calls "Psychologists against radical
individualism"  The central question in this movement is "Are cognitive and
emotional phenomena ALL and ONLY attributes of individual persons?"  Harre
points out that the roots of this movement are different from that of the
Vygotskian developmentalist school.  This 2nd movement is attempting to
"identify a domain of psychological phenomena that are neither patterns of
large-scale collectivities, such as revolutionary movements, nor attributes
of individuals such as disloyal thoughts kept to oneself". [Harre references
John Shotter as representative of this movement]

Harre points out developmental accounts should embrace values and normative
explanations of persons in contexts. "This means that psychological
processes are to be interpreted largely as the result of the management"
[and coordination] "of meanings in accordance with the rules and conventions
of the relevant practice". Intentionality (meaning) and normativity
(conformity to rules and conventions) not cause and affect, need to be the
FRAMEWORK concepts of psychological studies. This recognizes the centrality
of the root metaphor of cognition AS CONVERSATION. [discursive]

Harre suggegsts persons form identities by following  particular normative
storylines.  However Harre emphasizes that

 "the SAME sequence of actions, for which certain criteria of identity can
be drawn on, may be the bearer of more than one psychological REALITY.
...Actions and ACTS are not in one to one correspondence. If meanings -that
is, ACTS - are constitutive of social and psychological REALITY, then the
same action sequence may be the bearer of more than one ACT SEQUENCE, and so
of more than one social and psychological REALITY".(p.36)

I think the above quote is central to Harre's account that psychological
processes, though constrained and constituted within  particular situated
ACTIVITY,  can generate MULTIPLE ACTS of intentionality [meaning]  The
recognition of the interplay between TACIT first order coordination of
activity within traditions [which is not reflective but still communicative]
and EXPLICIT 2nd order  meaningful ACTS as REFLECTIVE and volitional
suggests the "psychological reality" of  persons that emerge within
normative sociocultural practices.  The  emergence of this agentic capacity
to reflectively  ACT within activity  [and not simply react to activity]  is
a central developmental dynamic process forming the personal mind.
It is the formation of the psychological realm of 2nd order "acts" as
volitional, reflective and coordinated [and the perceived
relationship between 2nd order ACTS and 1st order tacit activity] that seems
to be a central topic  of debate within sociocultural accounts of

Do others agree with the way Rom Harre contrasts  the two historically
separate traditions or movements within the emerging discipline of
sociocultural psychology? Reducing the person to either biology or radical
individualism is problematic and sociocultural accounts are challenging
these reductive explanations.

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