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Re: [xmca] RE: The Social Creation of Inequality

I have an example of the opposite: that is, the turning of something that is quite literally a project into a concept, and a concept that is directly linked to the social creation of inequality and only notionally linked to an actual project.
I am visiting my mother-in-law, a retired textile worker in a large state run factory town, now bankrupt, in the east suburbs of Xi'an. She is now paralyzed and cannot move around at all but for most of her retirement this was an area run by criminal gangs (the children of people who used to be employed in the textile factory) and populated by drug runners and the very poor (their customers).
Now the textile plant, once a proud project of the "People's Commune" movement, is being shut down for good, and the rump production that was going on is being moved to a village many kilometers away. But the area itself is being...gentrified.
When I first saw it, I could hardly believe my eyes, and I still can't explain it to my mother-in-law, or even to my brother-in-law, who is one of the major investors in the project. Along the banks of the Ba River, the government has established a huge ecological wetlands park, with paths and exercise machines, little explanations of the flora and fauna, small boats to row in, and nowhere to live except the nearby slum where my mother-in-law lies dying of a stroke.
My brother-in-law (who having once sold breakfast in a stall and run a pool hall has now become a multi-zillionaire real estate speculator himself) explains it this way. "We used to build the houses first, and then try to fix up the neighborhood. But now the government will fix up the neighborhood for us, and then we build houses. It's a lot better that way."
Next year, my brother-in-law will actually begin the project of building housing. But already there is a billboard where one of the skyscrapers will someday stand (the houses themselves, although still only notional, have already been sold off to speculators). The billboard reads: "Wetlands area: turning nature into private property".
David Kellogg

--- On Fri, 7/29/11, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
Subject: Re: [xmca] RE: The Social Creation of Inequality
To: "Larry Purss" <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date: Friday, July 29, 2011, 6:39 PM

Mmmm, I have not settled on whether "dead" is the right word.
"Objectivication" means that the project becomes an integral part of a way of life, reflected in a word in the language and other artefacts which are taken-for-granted as tied up with the concept which was once a project. In a sense it is very much alive, because it is enacted by living people and is part of the life of the community. But it no longer has a life of its own, so to speak.
But projects also die in the sense that they are no longer enacted and are just a memory, like "old technology" or the soap box (trying to think of examples, I noticed that such projects often move over into metaphors).


Larry Purss wrote:
> Andy
> Thanks for the clarification.  Institutions have a life cycle. While still "living" it is more accurate to refer to these conventionalized practices as "projects" that are continuing to develop. Whe the cycle ends they become dead ojectivications. Is this accrate?
>  Larry
> On Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 6:54 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>     Projects have a life cycle. The end of a life cycle (apart form
>     disappearing into nothingness) is objectification. This means
>     fixed material representations, including words as signs for a
>     concept, and social practices which constitute the concepts in
>     practice. But injects" omy view, concepts and institutions all
>     pass through a phase of being projects. But I think that even
>     though calling an institution a project is a bit
>     counter-intuitive, it gives you a good handle on the dynamics, the
>     history and the potential for change.
>     Andy
>     White, Phillip wrote:
>         Andy, you wrote:
>         "I stick to my position, that "institutions" should be regarded as
>         projects, not tools or material artefacts of any kind (though
>         artefacts
>         are needed in the realisation of an institution, such as signage,
>         legislation, all kinds of documents, buildings, uniforms,
>         etc., etc)."
>         Projects...... an intriguing, to me, idea - institutions as
>         projects - particularly considering the root of the word - and
>         its cousins, like "projectile", etc.
>         many thanks for this thought.
>         p
>         Phillip White, PhD
>         University of Colorado Denver
>         School of Education
>         phillip.white@ucdenver.edu <mailto:phillip.white@ucdenver.edu>
>     --     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>     *Andy Blunden*
>     Joint Editor MCA:
>     http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g932564744
>     <http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title%7Edb=all%7Econtent=g932564744>
>     Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
>     Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857
>     <http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857>
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-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Andy Blunden*
Joint Editor MCA: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g932564744
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857
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