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RE: [xmca] Rom Harre quote on acts and activity(tolman article)

That clarifies, thanks Eric.

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2010 10:10 AM
To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
Subject: Fw: [xmca] Rom Harre quote on acts and activity(tolman article)

----- Forwarded by ERIC RAMBERG/spps on 07/29/2010 10:09 AM -----

From:   ERIC RAMBERG/spps
To:     "David H Kirshner" <dkirsh@lsu.edu>
Date:   07/29/2010 09:51 AM
Subject:        RE: [xmca] Rom Harre quote on acts and activity(tolman 

Hey David:

In the Tolman piece he uses the example of measuring students success when the variable of teacher 'leniency/strictness' is controlled and points out that controlling one action variable does nothing to impact the outcome of the entire activity and therefore to conclude lenient teachers result in unsuccessful students is an assumption resulting from a false premise. 
Does that clarify or not?

I apologize for my passive writing, it is something that has plagued me my entire life.


From:   "David H Kirshner" <dkirsh@lsu.edu>
To:     <ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org>
Date:   07/29/2010 08:37 AM
Subject:        RE: [xmca] Rom Harre quote on acts and activity(tolman 

Is the false premise that "measuring change based on variables doesn't really measure much at all," or that "measuring change based on variables does measure much?"

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2010 8:06 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Rom Harre quote on acts and activity(tolman article)

From a methodological standpoint I really appreciated the Tolman piece. It provided great insight into the false premise that measuring change based on variables doesn't really measure much at all.  Rather it only parcels out actions when what really needs to be analyzed is the activity as a whole.  I also appreciate the emphasis on appropriation of societal traditions as being the crux of individual development.  Thank you for sharing mike, I am hoping that Charles (chuck, chaz, charlie?) could provide some words of wisdom that perhaps he has gleaned in the couple decades since publishing this article.


From:   Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
To:     lchcmike@gmail.com, "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" 
Date:   07/28/2010 09:58 PM
Subject:        Re: [xmca] Rom Harre quote on acts and activity
Sent by:        xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu

I agree about the ideal of "both/and" approaches.  However, when I see an account such as Rom Harre wrote that explores the historical roots of a particular movement such as "biolgical determinism" or "radical individualism" it helps me to situate particular discourse traditions and locate the historical evolution of the concepts within particular sociocultural traditions.
This is also why I wanted to read "The Sociocultural Turn in Psychology" 
I could differentiate historically the "discursive", dialogical", hermeneutical"', and "activity" approches as particular historical traditions.  By comparing and contrasting the various accounts [and seeing similarities and contrasts] I'm able to attempt to coordinate multiple perspectives, and ideally be able to imaginally construct linkages between the various historical traditions and thereby develop a deeper appreciation of the common themes within the various traditions.
Mike, your response, and your bringing  Tolman into the conversation  is exactly the spirit in which I post these either/or reflections. I see them as steps in a process of differentiation of ideas as a first step towards a new synthesis. I also want to emphasize that on CHAT I recognize discursive, dialogical, and hermeneutical themes being engaged in lively debate with activity theory.  However, I am often confused as I try to differentiate between the approaches and therefore I appreciate articles which explicitly compare and contrast alternative perspectives on a common theme.

I plan on reading the Tolman article in the next few days in the same spirit of inquiry as conversation.


On Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 4:40 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

> Interesting, Larry-
>     It would be interesting to gather up all the various attempts to 
> explicate the relationship between cultural-historical, activity
> theories and socio-cultural studies theories. There have been a lot!
>     My personal preference is to work out the intricacies of an 
> approach
> 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
> 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
> 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
> r
> elation to other members of the group. As Leont'ev argues (in his
> experiment example of primal human hunting):
> The separation of an action necessarily presupposes the possibility of
> 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
> by an individual must be accompanied by a shared meaning of the
> action that is reflected consciously by the actor. This is reflected 
> in
> fact (among others) that the roles of beater and bagger in the hunt 
> are
> principle interchangeable. The role of each participant must be 
> decided
> beforehand. One participant may prove to be better in one role than
> 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 
> remains
> 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
> The
> individual
> 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 ideological Imagination.
> 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
> The one Tolman is contrasting to the position above is America's
> view of contextualism in development, Richard Lerner, and his
> In particular, i wonder what sort of a contrasting notion of context
> arise within the framework that Harre put in discussion with CHAT?
> mike
>  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
> > 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
> > our
> > cognitive skills, emotional propensities, and repertoires of
> > displays?"  There are two kinds of constraints on the kinds of minds
> > Vygotskian processes can induce in a human being. The first 
> > constraint
> > that the embodied human brain has an inherited architecture.  The
> > 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
> and
> > emotional phenomena ALL and ONLY attributes of individual persons?"
>  Harre
> > points out that the roots of this movement are different from that 
> > of
> > Vygotskian developmentalist school.  This 2nd movement is attempting
> > "identify a domain of psychological phenomena that are neither
> 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
> > [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
> > same action sequence may be the bearer of more than one ACT 
> > so
> > of more than one social and psychological REALITY".(p.36)
> >
> > I think the above quote is central to Harre's account that
> > processes, though constrained and constituted within  particular
> > 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
> >  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
> > these reductive explanations.
> >
> > Larry
> > _______________________________________________
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> > xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> >
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