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Re: [xmca] Cultural memory

Hey Andy:

I don't know if this is exactly in line with what you are thinking but in 
St. Paul there is a large population of Hmong (mountain people of Laos) 
that have transplanted here.  They did not have a written language but 
their cultural are still extremely strong (marriage at a young age, long 
drawn out funerals, tending animals (I have been to houses in St. Paul 
where chickens are kept in the house), gardening.  Is this along the lines 
of your thinking?


From:   Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
To:     "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Date:   10/14/2011 06:54 PM
Subject:        [xmca] Cultural memory
Sent by:        xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu

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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