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[xmca] Cultural memory

I need some help. I am having a discussion with a supporter of Robert Brandom, who was at ISCAR, but is not an Activity Theorist. on the question of cultural memory.

One of my criticisms of Robert Brandom is that he does not theorise any place for mediation in his theory of normativity. He supposes that norms are transmitted and maintained down the generations by word of mouth (taken to be an unmediated expression of subjectivity), and artefacts (whether texts, tools, buildings, clothes, money) play no essential role in this.

I disagree but I cannot persuade my protagonist.

I challenged him to tell me of a (nonlierate) indigenous people who managed to maintain their customs even after being removed from their land. My protagonist responded by suggesting the Hebrews, but of course the Hebrews had the Old Testament. Recently on xmca we had the same point come up and baseball culture was suggested, and I responded that I didn't think baseball-speak could be maintained without baseball bats, balls, pitches, stadiums, radios, uniforms and other artefacts used in the game.

Am I wrong? Can anyone point to a custom maintained over generations without the use of arefacts (including land and texts as well as tools, but allowing the spoken word)?

*Andy Blunden*
Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857

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