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RE: [xmca] Six key points on sociocultural models of development

Hi, Larry and Andy.

Sorry to just jump in so randomly, but this connection you talk about,
Larry, has got me thinking. Merleau-Ponty's use of the term chiasm, you
report as coming from the use of the term in grammar? Is this all in the
Rupert Wegerif piece? Does Merleau-Ponty connect this at all, to the
physiology of the perception? Can you point me in the direction of these
references, if it's not a bother? 


-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
Behalf Of Larry Purss
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 6:26 AM
To: ablunden@mira.net; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Six key points on sociocultural models of development

Hi Andy

Yes that helps, and recognition may have its roots in early Hegel.  You
mention that MOST of the discussion of recognition is postmodern and leaves
out mediation.. You state

More recent trends of recognition readings or Hegel - "intersubjectivity" -
just don't know or care about the notion of mediation. The self is not split
as it is for Hegel and Mead, but body and soul are merged into one
integrated subject. IMHO the whole process relies on some mysterious
interpsychic process, and is simply reflective of the postmodern condition
of individual powerlessness.

Andy, I'm new to the ins and outs of the various ways scholars are
constructing and deconstructing notions of mediation and dialogue.  But I do
sense that these themes and how they intersect are central topics as we go
forward.  Martin's article locating "desire FOR recognition" as one of the
six themes as we articulate a sociocultural perspective is giving me the
"permission" [I give myself in recognition that "recognition" is a viable
topic on this forum] and how it intersects with mediation.

I want to bring in an author, Rupert Wegerif" into the conversation.  I met
him on line [reading his articles] in a dialogical "space" as he engages
with notions of recognition.  In the section to follow he is linking up
Merleau-Ponty with Bahktin. [google scholar lists many of his articles]

Merleau-Ponty has developed the notion of CHIASM.  The word chiasm is
borrowed from grammar where it refers to the reversibility of the subject
and the object in a sentence. This term is extended by Merleau-Ponty to
refer to the mutual envelopment and reversibility BETWEEN two total
perspectives on the world.  There is an UNBRIDGEABLE gap or "hinge" which is
also an OPENING of meaning.
This concept of chiasm is linked to Merleau-Ponty's visual [perceptual]
account of the difference BETWEEN figure and ground, the idea that bounded
things or objects stand out from and are DEFINED against an implicit
background [fly-bottles, horizons,]  As a person stands forth in a landscape
a horizon instantly forms around them but at the same time as the person's
gaze precipitates THIS horizon they also experience themselves PLACED as an
object within their horizon AS IF the unsituated gaze of the horizon was
looking at them and locating them within it..  Merleau-Ponty refers to these
two sides, LOOKING in and LOOKING out as a "chiasm" in a figure/ground

Rupert then links Merleau-Ponty's notion of chiasm to Bahktin, quoting

"Thought ABOUT the world and thought IN the world. Thought striving to
embrace the world and thought experiencing itself in the world AS PART OF
IT. An EVENT in the world and participation in it.  The world as an event
(and not as existence in ready-made form)" [Bahktin, 1986, p.162 my

Andy, Bahktin's notion of voice where my voice [perspective] is in the
others voice and the others voice [perspective]  is in my voice AS
DIFFERENCE that requires a "space" or "landscape" of BETWEENNESS that
contains or holds the differences [and never finds identity [ A=A] linked
with  Merleau-Ponty's figure/ground notion of chiasm is the theme of
recognition I'm playing with.  I'm not sure if these notions are
"postmodern" and reflect some mysterious "interpsychic" ideality but they
are food for thought going forward.


On Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 12:03 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Larry, as I see it, the idea of desire for recognition originated in the
> Young Hegel's master-slave dialectic, but that was of course just the
> beginning.
> Hegel's original version dealt with the confrontation between two subjects
> for which there exists no mediation at all. This is a very strange
> circumstance, but a scenario Hegel needed in order to expound his idea of
> modernity and the state. It could refer to two peoples coming into contact
> for the first time, e.g. colonialism, or a brand new social movement
> confronting the establishment. The two subjects manage to mediate their
> interaction by each splitting in two, their needs and the means of their
> satisfaction become differentiated, and mediation happens by the needs (or
> labour) of one mediating between the needs and labour of the other. One or
> another vesion, successively attenuated appears in every version of
> system.
> In a 1805 version of his system, he envisage the circulation of the
> products of labour on the market as a form of recognition. But both the
> fire-and-brimstone version in the Phenomenolohgy and the commodity version
> are attenuated in later works. In the Philosophy of Right, recognition
> happens via self-organised professional associations, the family, local
> quasi-state organisations and so on - some kind of participatory
> He explicitly warns against taking the master-servant relation as relevant
> to life within a nation-state. But in his Subjective Spirit, he takes the
> relation of Recognition as the foundation of self-consciousness and the
> emergence of intellect.
> GH Mead based his I/Me dialectic explicitly on Hegel's master-slave
> relation, in as much as it relies on the self-sundering of the person into
> subject and object, but without all the fire and brimstone.
> More recent trends of recognition readings or Hegel - "intersubjectivity"
> just don't know or care about the notion of mediation. The self is not
> as it is for Hegel and Mead, but body and soul are merged into one
> integrated subject. IMHO the whole process relies on some mysterious
> interpsychic process, and is simply reflective of the postmodern condition
> of individual powerlessness.
> Hope that helps Larry.
> Andy
> Larry Purss wrote:
>> Gregory, thanks for this reference on the topic of desire for
>> My question to Martin was my attempt to understand our fundamental need
>> for
>> recognition, [self/other], and how this fundamental need is transformed
>> cultural-historical institutional arrangements.  As I read Martin's
>> article
>> he located the need for recognition as one of the  6 foundational
>> [ontological?] GROUNDS of the sociocultural perspective.
>> If the desire for recognition is foundational , then the
>> dialogical understanding of communication as the relation BETWEEN self
>> other is primary [not the dialectical resolution of tensions into a new
>> cognitive synthesis which may be derivative from a more
>> primary intersubjective relational foundation]  I'm wondering, reading
>> scholars such as Merleau-Ponty, if mediation of dialogical relational
>> intersubjectivity, is prior to mediation by material artifacts.
>> This question is probably expressing my ignorance of the relation between
>> the notions of tool use and intersubjectivity but how else to get
>> In actual practice it may be impossible to separate these two mediational
>> means BUT it seems that the dialogical perspective emphasizes the
>> mediation
>> of self/other intersubjective relational being/becoming while mediation
>> via
>> tool use emphasizes internalization and cognitive synthesis through
>> cultural-historical object usage.
>> The notion of biosocial niches can accomodate both mediation through
>> persons AND mediation through artifacts, so really it is not an either/or
>> question but rather a matter of emphasis.  The practical question in
>> school
>> settings is how to be aware of the profound desire for recognition of all
>> the persons [students and teachers] which teachers may loose sight of in
>> the
>> focus on developing and internalizing scientific concepts. [which comes
>> a
>> cost of transmuted desire for recognition]
>> The focus on the intersubjective relational "betweenness" of the
>> dialogical
>> perspective seems to emphasize the "desre for recognition"  more than the
>> language of mediated tool use.
>> Hesitant to press "send" as I expose my ignorance
>> Larry
>> On Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 4:20 PM, Gregory Allan Thompson <
>> gathomps@uchicago.edu> wrote:
>>> Larry,
>>> Merleau-Ponty is certainly a good direction to go with desire and
>>> recognition.
>>> For writings on desire and recognition in the more sociological
>>> tradition,
>>> you might want to check out W.I. Thomas' The Unadjusted Girl. Section 4
>>> of
>>> Chapter 1 (p. 31). Check it out at:
>>> http://www.brocku.ca/**MeadProject/Thomas/Thomas_**
>>> Best,
>>> -greg
>>> Message: 9
>>> Date: Tue, 21 Jun 2011 07:30:16 -0700
>>> From: Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
>>> Subject: [xmca] Six key points on sociocultural models of development
>>> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>>> Message-ID:
>>> >
>>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>>> Hi Martin, Mike,
>>> Mike, thanks for the Sinha article on language as a biological niche and
>>> social institution.  I'm working my way through the article.
>>> The concept of affordances within niches draws attention to species
>>> specific
>>> forms of meaning AS ......  Gibson on p. 8 of Sinha's article says
>>> affordances are DIRECTLY PERCEIVED as it potentiates the activation of
>>> perception-action circuits which form objects as directly perceived
>>> of
>>> gestalen [meaningful wholes] or niches.
>>> Martin, I now want to bring in one of the key themes of the six you
>>> outline
>>> in your article [I would recommend others read the article Martin posted
>>> on
>>> the ontology of the sociocultural turn]  This is the theme of "desire &
>>> recognition"  You suggest that the first 3 themes are familiar to
>>> scholars
>>> working within the sociocultural framework but the last 3 themes are
>>> outside their horizon of understanding.  Andy recently mentioned
>>> CHAT with Critical theory around the specific topic of recognition.
>>> I'm wondering how central you see the theme of "desire &recognition" as
>>> being to our fundamental human nature that must be theorized within all
>>> models of development.  Your article points to the COSTS of schooling as
>>> "students" acquire the dispositions to slice the world into parts as
>>> "analysis" comes to colonize how modernity incorporates lived direct
>>> experience into cognitive formations that are DERIVATIVE.  You also
>>> mention
>>> that most of "us" on this listserve accept the costs as the price of
>>> admission into our communities of practice.  We have developed skill and
>>> facility with dicing and slicing and living within derivative cognitive
>>> spaces as "students", "professors", "therapists", and other successful
>>> members of  educationally oriented institutions.
>>> I also wonder how Luria and Vygotsky viewed "desire & recognition" as
>>> Luria
>>> was interested in psychoanalysis.
>>> Martin, you mentioned six key themes grounding sociocultural models and
>>> this
>>> framework seems to hold promise for teasing out the dialectic between
>>> first 3 themes [widely shared within sociocultural oriented communities]
>>> and
>>> the last 3 themes [recognition, being fundamentally split, & resulting
>>> search for identity]
>>> Going back to my fist paragraph, how is "desire & recognition"
>>> conceptualized as emerging and developing within biocultural niches
>>> within
>>> Vygotsky, Luria, and others??  With Andy, I sense this is a central
>>> for helping us understand how we OUGHT to proceed.
>>> Larry
>>> PS  Mike,  I believe Merleau-Ponty may have something to add on "desire
>>> recognition" when we discuss his ideas on phenomenology as a form of
>>> reflection that does not slice and dice in analysis. [analysis as one
>>> powerful and legitimate FORM of consciousness BUT with costs]
>>> Can authors such as Merleau-Ponty help pay more attention to the
>>> inevitable cost to become members of our communities of participation
>>> to
>>> the cost of our institutional formations.  The Felder article in the
>>> latest
>>> issue of "Theory & Psychology" was well written as Felder attempts to
>>> ground
>>> the practice of psychotherapy  in Merleau-Ponty's theoretical
>>> perspective.
>>> ______________________________**____________
>>> _____
>>> xmca mailing list
>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>> ______________________________**____________
>> _____
>> xmca mailing list
>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> --
> ------------------------------**------------------------------**
> ------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA: http://www.informaworld.com/**smpp/title~db=all~content=
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Book:
> MIA: http://www.marxists.org
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