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Re: [xmca] Current edition of Theory & Psychology

Just wanted to point out that there are places where you cannot even
think of implementing a simple plain standard design experiment, let
alone an ad-hoc intervention because educational settings and
institutions are thought to be mere knowledge
reproduction-distribution centers. Research is the job of the Ministry
of Education. "Joint activity"? What on Earth is that in Japan except
the illusion of freedom framed under top-down cosmological structure.
I am afraid that most of the cases depicted in the journal are a
reproduction of the cultural conditions existing in few settings, in
few communities, in a handful of countries. Am I able to implement an
intervention or mutual appropriation in the Japanese educational
context? No. Am I able to do it in "local communities", yes, but under
considerable restrictions. However, I am guessing that the most
effective interventions in local communities spring from social
crisis, not from planned activity, that is, some sort of punctuated
equilibrium in which the community changes or perish.

I am very curious about (1) how the structural constraints and
affordances of organisations themselves shape those mutual
appropriations and how we can account for them; (2) how the mediating
means themselves are unequally distributed (knowledge differential):
in order to bridge the differences established by the lack of a common
repertoire of meanings you have to engage in meaning making, creating
in fact a new differential; (3) the unconscious in sign-making or
using activity. Educational activity brings consciousness at the
expense of bringing unconsciousness as well. I have not read a single
decesive work addressing the problem of fetishism of the sign, on
which a theory of the uncosciousness could be integrated into CHAT,
except for works that deal with the problem of "the ideal".

Seeger asks the right questions but I believe there is much more out
there about ways of marriaging psychology and sociology to give a
better account of agency. At the end, the issues raised by Sawyer are
still relevant: CHAT keeps operating with a process and methodological
ontology whereby the individual and the social are inseparable but
does not provide a clear cut language of description of how the social
structure shapes activity or, to put it in Seeger's terms, how power
shapes discourse (and consciousness and identy).



On 10 November 2011 23:41, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
> The current edition of Theory & Psychology looks very special. I admit I
> have at this stage only actually read the article by Mike Cole, Robert
> Lecusay and Deborah Downing-Wilson, but it is a special issue on CHAT and
> interventionist methodology, with articles by a number of people from Yrjo
> Engestrom's CRADLE and also Falk Seeger, who is guest editing the Special
> Issue of MCA on Emotions.
> Mike's article elaborates on what the participants call a "mutual
> appropriation" approach to developing theory and practice. Instead of
> implementing a project design and then modifying it in the light of the
> reseacher's experience, the researchers go in to a local community with very
> open ended ideas about how and what they want to achieve, and engage with
> their community partner, learn about their (the partner's) project, offer
> assistance and resources and share knowledge and objectives and ....
> mutually appropriate. The article describes the results of a specific
> project which is an exemplar of "mutual appropriation" which has grown out
> of the 5thD after-school programs which LCHC began in the 1980s.
> The article is actually very moving. I personally think that this kind of
> work is tackling the main problem in front of us cultural-historical
> cultural psychology people today. If you don't subscribe to Theory &
> Psychology, I don't know how you can get to read the paper. Maybe someone
> has a solution there. But it is a must read. I will read the remaining
> articles in the special issue, but this is a real high.
> Andy
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *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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Arturo J Escandon
Associate Professor
Department of Spanish and Latin-American Studies
Nanzan University
18 Yamazato-cho, Showa-ku
Nagoya, 466-8673 JAPAN

Tel: +81 (52) 832 3111 (extension 3604)
Mobile: +81 (908) 796 4220
E-mail: escandon@nanzan-u.ac.jp
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