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Re: [xmca] Current edition of Theory & Psychology

Hi Deb,

I cannot refer right now to all the issues brought by Mike, Ivan and
Larry. Suffice to point out that I have been working on a hybrid
between CHAT and Basil Bernstein's sociology of education. I will as
soon as I can address those issues. They represent one way to go about
analysing the connection between macro and micro structures.

What I see is a complete reshaping of pedagogical identities. Perhapst
Bernstein's language of description may help in analysing the
reshaping of those pedagogies. Plus, his "coding theory" provides some
empirical tools to go about linking power and discourse.

Just a brief intro to identities, taken from Doherty, in which she is
interpreting Bernstein in a context that might be familiar to all of
us http://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/223123/Doherty.pdf

A ‘retrospective’ orientation seeks to recapture and restore the past
in the present, and is pedagogically realised in tight control over
the inputs of education – putting the brakes on change, so to speak. A
‘back to basics’ push would constitute a retrospective orientation. A
‘prospective’ orientation reflects the neo-conservative effort to
undergo change in order to retain desirable aspects of the past in
conditions of the present, controlling inputs and outputs. The US
curricular reforms following the success of Russia’s Sputnik mission
would be an example of a prospective orientation designed to restore
US supremacy. These two orientations are considered ‘centred’ because
they are driven by top-down policy and aim for convergence, that is,
uniform outputs, whereas de-centred identities encourage divergence.
Centred orientations can also be read as shaping education as public
goods, while the de-centred orientations construe education as more
private, or positional goods for the individual. A decentred,
‘therapeutic’ identity is premised on progressive theories of personal
development and constructs multiple ‘presents’ through personal
identities. The Australian curriculum in the 70’s, post
the Karmel report, went down this path, with more attention paid to
‘realising the individual’s potential’ and diversifying schooling to
meet local needs. The de-centred ‘market’ identity is
competitive and contingent as it responds to market values and market
opportunities as they arise – ‘the transmission here arises to produce
an identity whose product has an exchange value in a
market ... the identity is a reflection of external contingencies’
(2000, pp. 69-70). The offering of Steiner, Montessori and IB programs
as curricular alternatives with the choice left to the family
produces such ‘market’ conditions for the play of ‘reputational
difference’ (Labaree, 1997, p.52). It is argued here that the market
identity is essentially an empty signifier, contingent on external
conditions, through which the other identities can speak, according to
their ‘market value’ or desirability in the economic, political and
cultural fashions of the times.

Another example in Johansson, where she analyses the teaching of Maths
in Sweden:

Overall, these identities are the result of the recontextualisation of
knowledge by educational organisations and are functions of degrees of
insulation between categories and agents (power) and principles of
control (who controls what). Thus, the intervention model presented by
Yrjo is quite different to the proposed mutual appropriation model,
and they would entail differences in terms of how the upper and lower
reaches of the ZPD are constituted.

Also check Daniels (for a better metatheoretical proposal of
integrating Berstein and CHAT).



On 14 November 2011 05:19, deborah downing-wilson <ddowningw@gmail.com> wrote:
> Ivan has captured my thinking perfectly - I don't believe that anyone
> involved the project we discuss here would deny that it has taken on a life
> of its own that at this point in time defies our efforts to explain it.
>  I might add that the term "mutual appropriation" was chosen precisely
> because of its several rather ambiguous implications. Yes, all of the
> players appropriate  parts of the project in pursuit of sometimes mutual,
> sometimes disparate goals, but it is also true that a culture of acting in
> ways that are mutually appropriate - or that feel like the right things to
> do for the good of the group - has evolved.  My feeling is that this
> culture is not only shaped by larger social systems and forces but by the
> collective affective investment - perhaps encouraged by the obvious
> differences in resources and influence - but this should be interpreted in
> light of the fact that virtually all of the UCSD players know that we take
> away far more than we bring to this table.
> Deb
> On Sun, Nov 13, 2011 at 9:57 AM, Ivan Rosero <irosero@ucsd.edu> wrote:
>> Arturo, two things coincide for me in reading your email:  1) I've been
>> working for the last 4 years in the same collaboration that
>> Lecusay,Downing-Wilson,Cole have written about, and 2) I too share the
>> following concern:
>> ----
>> 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).
>> ----
>> As the authors have described, the community setting in which this latest
>> of LCHC's projects has unfolded does not permit even the relatively loose
>> structures that were the hallmarks of previous 5D projects --this is where
>> the ad-hoc stumbling upon interesting things to do together is such an
>> important component of the dual sense of "appropriation".  In the social
>> space that has been created between LCHC and Town and Country there exists
>> (as I have experienced it over the last four years) an enduring liminality
>> that refuses to come to closure --neither LCHC participants, including grad
>> students, staff, and undergraduate students, nor T&C participants have
>> arrived at any definite position vis a vis what we are doing together.  The
>> kids get older, new ones arrive, some teens have left, club and group
>> structures change, entire families move out.  UCSD's side of the story is
>> more predictable in the institutional sense of allowing year-on-year
>> planning of classes and recruitment of students, as well as, of course, the
>> staying power of UCSD as a much longer running process than the
>> collaboration itself.  But this can only explain the brute sense of our
>> continued presence, one which would be impossible to impose in any case, so
>> that we still have to try and explain the delicate sense of our continued
>> presence --what is happening in the space of this
>> cross-cultural/cross-institutional intersection that keeps pulling together
>> (in a delicate way) such a heterogenous amalgam of participants --a
>> constant churn of undergraduate buddies, a more stable set of grad
>> students, a constant, but slowly changing, stream of kids, Ms. V., and the
>> few community parents that regularly lend a hand?
>> You and Andy have said that there must be some kind of crisis, and this may
>> be so, but if this is what is allowing the participants to come together
>> anew, it is not the kind of crisis that can be compared to, say, Occupy
>> Wall Street, or Greece, or the Arab Spring.  It might be that I lack the
>> requisite social imagination, but the way I see it, what is special about
>> this collaboration is that it holds together without disclosing to its
>> participants directly how this is happening.  We have been at it for four
>> years, and it isn't obvious to me why, as a T&C elder says, we "keep on
>> keeping on".  This is especially true in light of severe, and recurrent,
>> frustrations on every side.  For example, in the absence of UCSD students,
>> homework does not get done nearly as regularly as when they are there
>> --this creates a huge problem for Ms. V, who must still try to satisfy this
>> community need in our absence.  Sometimes we at LCHC find ourselves at odds
>> with local customs and decisions, to which we nevertheless submit in order
>> to keep on keeping on.  But where are we keeping on to?  (Especially
>> without access to clear-cut language with which to explain any of this!)
>> So, these kinds of open-ended interactional spaces elicit from their
>> participants a degree of patience that is rarely seen anywhere --more or
>> less equally distributed!  Southeast San Diego, where T&C is located, is
>> not unique in all the ways that its inhabitants are systematically
>> marginalized, and it is a fact that local community organizers (I've been
>> at some of their meetings) look on UCSD and charitable institutions with
>> very suspicious eyes.  In the face of these realities, mutual appropriation
>> is one factor, but not a wholly explanatory one for the loose
>> holding-together that is going on here.
>> Whatever the answers are, it is impossible for me to conceive of a
>> satisfying explanation that does not include affective-imaginative
>> dimensions.  The way I see it, the mystery here is not how power/structure
>> shapes discourse/activity, it is why this collaboration holds in the face
>> of what would normally be insurmountable difficulties.  Good will and
>> patience all around?  Maybe, but this only pushes the question deeper into
>> the affective-imaginative life of this collaboration.
>> Ivan
>> On Sat, Nov 12, 2011 at 6:26 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> > Continuing my sharing of the current edition of Theory & Psyhology,
>> > attached are scans of Deborah Downing-Wilson, Robert Lecusay and Mike
>> > Cole's paper (which I have been so excited about) and the first 16 pages
>> of
>> > Yrjo Engestrom's paper (I have omitted the case study) which is a concise
>> > synopsis of his current views on activity and concepts.
>> >
>> > Andy
>> >
>> >
>> > Andy Blunden wrote:
>> >
>> >> That's a very interesting series of points, Arturo!
>> >> Could I just ask you to elaborate a little on what you meant by "the
>> >> unconscious in sign-making" and "the problem of fetishism of the sign."
>> >> I guess that you are right that in almost any social context (the US
>> >> included I suspect), the kind of project that Mike writes about can
>> only be
>> >> implemented by surruptitiously moving the goal posts set by the
>> recognised
>> >> authorities, by a kind of subversion, making use of openings created by
>> >> manifest social crisis.
>> >> As I'm sure you know, I am in agreement with your critique of the
>> failure
>> >> to satisfactorily "marry" psychological concepts with sociological
>> >> concepts, in CHAT or anywhere else for that matter. But doesn't the
>> kind of
>> >> project Mike is talking about, where goals are immanent in the project
>> >> itself, and the project is thoroughly and explicitly collaborative, go
>> some
>> >> way to addressing this problem?
>> >>
>> >> Andy
>> >>
>> >> Arturo Escandon wrote:
>> >>
>> >>> 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
>> >>> decisive 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).
>> >>>
>> >>> Best
>> >>>
>> >>> Arturo
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>> 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<
>> 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<
>> http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857>
>> >>>>
>> >>>> ______________________________**____________
>> >>>> _____
>> >>>> xmca mailing list
>> >>>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>> >>>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/**listinfo/xmca<
>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>>
>> >>
>> >>
>> > --
>> > ------------------------------**------------------------------**
>> > ------------
>> > *Andy Blunden*
>> > Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/**toc/hmca20/18/1<
>> 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<
>> http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857>
>> >
>> > __________________________________________
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>> >
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> --
> Deborah Downing Wilson, Ph.D.
> Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition
> http://lchc.ucsd.edu/
>  <http://lchc.ucsd.edu/>Department of Communication
> http://communication.ucsd.edu/
> University of California San Diego
> http://www.ucsd.edu/
> __________________________________________
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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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