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Re: [xmca] Rom Harre quote on acts and activity

Interesting, Larry-
     It would be interesting to gather up all the various attempts to
explicate the relationship between cultural-historical, activity centered
theories and socio-cultural studies theories. There have been a lot!
     My personal preference is to work out the intricacies of an approach in
which the attempt is to understand the AND/BOTH of the two positions
you/Harre outline, not the either or of them.
     To pick up on just one point, which is discussed in the Tolman article
I sent around: It is a tenet of AT that action and activity are of different
orders/levels of scale, and that actions could be parts of other activities.
Here is how Tolman summarized the issues (this is only a fragments, as is
Larry's note); perhaps more fragments will emerge here.

So, Tolman writes:

[A human being’s] sense of action lies not in the action itself but in his r
elation to other members of the group. As Leont'ev argues (in his thought
experiment example of primal human hunting):

The separation of an action necessarily presupposes the possibility of the
active subject's

psychic reflection of the relation between the objective motive [getting
food] and the object

of the action [driving it away]. ... [T]he beater's action is possible *onl*
*y *on condition

of his reflecting the link between the expected result of the action performed
by him and

the end result of the hunt as a whole.... (1959/1981, p. 212)

The emergence of action as a coordinated part of social activity performed

by an individual must be accompanied by a shared meaning of the

action that is reflected consciously by the actor. This is reflected in the

fact (among others) that the roles of beater and bagger in the hunt are in

principle interchangeable. The role of each participant must be decided

beforehand. One participant may prove to be better in one role than another

and the assigner of roles may come to appear fixed, but this does

not affect the underlying interchangeability. Although the situation is

immensely more complicated in our own society by the dependence of

essential actions on training and education, the underlying principle

the same.

Thus the necessary, conscious division of labor in human society is the

most obvious indicator of the individual human's *s**o**ciet**a**l *nature. The

is truly human *only *in society. Indeed, a still stronger conclusion

can be argued: that human individuality itself is achievable only in society

The *a**bstra**ct *individual of bourgeois individualism is a figment of the

There are also lots of ways of approaching the notion of context, as you
note, Larry. What are some others that we ought to put in dialog here?
The one Tolman is contrasting to the position above is America's dominant
view of contextualism in development, Richard Lerner, and his colleagues.

In particular, i wonder what sort of a contrasting notion of context might
arise within the framework that Harre put in discussion with CHAT?

On Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 8:53 AM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> psychology.
> 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.
> Larry
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