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Re: [xmca] Lave in mca
Further reflections on Lave's question
"What does it mean to be a researcher within the cultural-historical
Calopietro, asking an analogous question,
"What does it mean to be a philosopher and work within this tradition?"
offers this answer,
"though the insistently reflexive character of this question can,
especially in an academic or institutional setting, work toward rendering
philosophy [research] an ever more abstracted and insular metareflection on
a distinctive genre of human reflection. The counterbalance to this
tendency is the RESOLVE to recollect that the question of what it means to
be a philosopher [researcher] is inseparable from that of how to live one's
life and, thus, how to position oneself in a world of conflict and risk.
Temporality entails transcience, just as loss and destruction impose the
tasks of AMELIORATION and REPARATION. In a world wherein everything is
transient and PRECARIOUS, also one wherein much lies in ruins and much else
gives signs of decay and even implosion, the task of philosophers
[researchers] cannot be oriented principally to understanding their OWN
WORK; it must be ordained to protecting and repairing THEIR world(s).
Reading Colapietro I had the impression he was composing an answer to
"What does it mean to be a researcher within the cultural-historical
On Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 7:45 AM, Larry Purss <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Can the topic of violence, that motivates research on topics of social
> justice influence the *voice* and *tone*, the dialogical tenor, or
> atmosphere of our writings and the way we write and publish.
> If the answer is yes, then is there also a link between violence and the
> voice or tone carrying a sense of *mourning & loss* ? Yes , we can talk
> ABOUT mourning and loss, but can we write FROM our experiences of violence,
> mourning and loss [or do we need to find a WAY of expression which carries
> our research AS IF objective, neutral, and scientific [and therefore
> LEGITIMATE and not *merely* literary, or imaginal ,or inspirational.
> I'm questioning the tone and voice PERMITTED or legitimated in ACADEMIC
> institutions with theeir prejudices requiring *neutral* detached reasonable
> voices. YES, intellectual passion but NOT heart-mind passion where the
> blood flows or freezes.
> The discussion of *practice* in contrast to *participation*. Talk ABOUT
> the phenomena/practices rather than dialogue within
> phenomena/participation. The JANUS head of observing AS 3rd person
> explanations "about" phenomena or being touched and moved by 1st person &
> 2nd person participation.
> When Jean Lave compares research to basket making and both as
> apprenticeships, I question if the voice and style of expression within the
> activity of basket weaving, and the voice and style within the research
> participants participating in developing research BOTH share a
> phenomenological aliveness [from ist person and 2nd person expressive
> when the researches talk ABOUT the basket weaver apprentices the tone and
> quality of voice changes??
> This question of violence to effect change I believe should be put into
> question with questions of mourning and loss as ist person and 2nd person
> ASPECTS of phenomena/appearances that motivate our yearnings and neediness
> as researchers.
> Moving to a 3rd person voice [tone, quality, privleging observation over
> being touched] as we describe the variables and attributes composing our
> SYSTEMS of practice [as map makers] is loosing the sight and feel of
> Ingold's walking paths and lines.
> My inspiration for these reflections come from an article by Vincent
> Colapieto, "The Question of Voice and the Limits of Pragmatism: Emerson,
> Dewey, and Cavell. " in METAPHILOSOPHY, vol.35 nos 1/2, January 2004
> Vincent Colapietro's thesis is that each of us have distinctive voices,
> and philosophy is generated from our own experiences of loss and mourning
> and a search and re-search for a way back home.
> Lave's observation that most researchers working within socio-historical
> theory work alone in their departments may also generate a sense of
> mourning and loss [possibly defended against].
> We may be yearning for generative living conversations but this may
> require st person and 2nd person PARTICIPATORY voices and not the 3rd
> person tone of map makers describing a terrain.
> On Wed, Jul 11, 2012 at 6:50 AM, Worthen, Helena Harlow <
> email@example.com> wrote:
>> These seem like important messages from the future of the changing
>> culture of the higher ed industry.
>> At this point, 75% of employees in higher education are contingents —
>> meaning, no job security.
>> Helena Worthen
>> You're not alone Jenna (in all of the ways that companionship can be
>> assumed in what you wrote). About violence, even if pegged to
>> before it is judged good or bad, I find it increasingly difficult to find
>> my bearings in the territory of "deep social change", much less to judge
>> the consequences of violence (symbolic and otherwise) I might engage in.
>> You'll have to take my word for it that the mode of research that I'm
>> currently engaged in here in San Diego has to do much more with long dureé
>> relationship building than furiously taking notes. I am calm about the
>> very high probability that the friends I'm making, and relationships
>> cultivating, in impoverished southeastern San Diego will not adequately
>> make it to published material, and even calmer about the even higher
>> probability that if they did make it to published material, that the
>> wouldn't loop back around to southeastern San Diego in any actionable
>> Funding structures for grants and departments (to completely ignore the
>> insane tally of requirements for young scholars to be able to aspire and
>> compete for post-docs, etc.) are not setup for the long duree --yet if
>> "deep" anything (from a cultural-historical perspective) is to be found
>> anywhere, it will be found in intra-actively constituted "actionable"
>> history. And yet, with all that, my-friends-and-I do only marginally
>> better today at imagining mutually enriching projects (and perhaps
>> possibilities for strategically targeted violence) than when I first
>> arrived in southeastern San Diego, five years ago! Alas, the more history
>> and culture "acquires me" in this work, the more I realize that there are
>> as many constraints on the non-academic side of the pond as there are back
>> at UCSD. Perhaps this is not news to anyone, but it is a sobering
>> realization (in practice, not by reading Gramsci) that "being in the same
>> shitty situation" does not lead automagically to shared consciousness,
>> less about where action/violence should be applied.
>> My CV is not long enough, not by a mile. But the possibility (forget for
>> now actionability) of deep change takes deep time to run into --that is,
>> for some unpredictable, and drawn out, combination of social and material
>> processes to get a hold of, and scaffold, shared consciousness. So, fill
>> the CV with BS, cuz (in my opinion) it ain't gonna get long enough fast
>> enough if "deep" is what it's got to be about.
>> Anyway, we might share a beer at the over-30-aspiring-intellectual club at
>> On Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 1:28 PM, Jenna McWilliams <firstname.lastname@example.org
>> Lave argues that we must resist, among other temptations, the tendency to
>> treat learning “as if it were…something that can only be studied from a
>> third-person perspective, thus producing accounts of learning only as
>> something done to others.” That this is the 4th out of 5 points is, in my
>> view, a disappointing burial of the lead.
>> Zeus Leonardo and Ronald Porter make a compelling argument for the
>> righteous return of violence to liberatory education in their 2010 article
>> “pedagogy of fear.” Appropriating Fanon, Martin Luther King, Jr., Angela
>> Davis, and others, they appropriate what they term a “neutral” definition
>> of violence, “which is not inherently negative or positive but judged for
>> its consequences.” Martin Luther King, despite his embrace of anti-violent
>> protest against U.S. apartheid, was nonetheless perceived by many whites
>> and by the U.S. government as violent, because he was actional.
>> Recently a white supremacist came to Bloomington, IN, my city of
>> residence, and announced his intention to hold a Ku Klux Klan revival. The
>> official story, reported in local news outlets, was that anti-racists
>> flooded the rally site and that the only white supremacist in attendance
>> the rally was the organizer himself. What actually happened, according to
>> my anarchist pals, was that a small minority of anti-racists showed up in
>> ski masks, dark clothes, and a confrontational demeanor. They were so
>> menacing, so visibly ready to engage in physical violence, that the white
>> supremacists who were in the crowd (many had, after all, turned out for
>> rally) slowly stepped back and walked quietly away. We have violence, or
>> least the threat thereof, to thank for that day’s quorum-busting of the
>> “Colonialism,” wrote Fanon, “is not a machine capable of thinking, a body
>> endowed with reason. It is naked violence and only gives in when
>> with greater violence.” We want our research to be actionable. We want to
>> help change things for the better. Those of us committed to
>> pedagogy, to equity and deep social change, need to make serious decisions
>> about how actional to be, and when, and to which audiences.
>> Please forgive me for my stridency. These days, as the deadline for AERA
>> proposals approaches, I’m feeling particularly complicit in an educative
>> system that not only treats learning only as something done to others but
>> that treats action only as something that others—the people ‘we’
>> study—engage in, while ‘we’ stand off to the side, furiously scribbling
>> notes so we can write up our articles later.
>> And this comes from an academic over 30 years of age who has not yet even
>> had the chance to enjoy the privileged lifeworld that Mike warns us is in
>> danger of disappearing. Alas, I’m just another aspiring intellectual born
>> at least a dozen years too late….
>> Jenna McWilliams
>> Learning Sciences Program, Indiana University
>> On Jul 8, 2012, at 11:43 AM, mike cole wrote:
>> > I am attaching a pdf of an article by Ole Dreier which provides a kind
>> > precis of his book that Jean refers to. The links to
>> > the references to Gibson in her article in part draw upon Ingold, but
>> Ole D
>> > has book out on objects with Allan Costall that
>> > make those links even clearer.
>> > I am seeking help on finding English language work by Gomes that Jean
>> > with approval; its from a book in Portuguese which makes it a little
>> > inaccessible to most of us.
>> > And for those of us who wonder what all of this has to do with CHAT,
>> > consider the non-coincidence that Alexander Zaporozhets,
>> > mentor to VP Zinchenko and part of the circle that included LSV, Luria,
>> > Leontiev, interacted considerably with the Gibsons.
>> > 6 degrees of separation?
>> > mike
>> > On Sun, Jul 8, 2012 at 7:40 AM, Forman, Ellice A <email@example.com
>> >> I agree with Mike. After reading Lave's article in MCA, I realized that
>> >> needed to read her new book to understand her position better. Lave, J.
>> >> (2011). Apprenticeship in critical ethnographic practice. Chicago:
>> >> University of Chicago Press. I'm just getting started reading it but
>> >> glad her article led me to it. She makes it clear that critical
>> >> ethnographic practice does not pit writing against activism, as Mike
>> >> here. Here's one early salient quote:
>> >> "Critical ethnography certainly is engaged in social criticsm and an
>> >> integral concern for social justice . . . But critical ethnography has
>> >> other entailments and layers of meaning as well. It involves a
>> >> historical worldview and metaphysics that question a number of
>> >> understandings. It envisions ethnographic research as a long struggle
>> >> illuminate social life, challenge commonplace theories and their
>> >> implications, and change theoretical practice in the process. This book
>> >> pursues a more ample consideration of what we mean by critical
>> >> practice." (p. 10)
>> >> Right now I'm in the midst of exploring how Lave's early research on
>> >> tailoring in Liberia led her to pursue these broader and deeper
>> >> investigations of her own apprenticeship in critical ethnographic
>> >> ________________________________________
>> >> From: firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>
>> [firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>] On
>> >> Of mike cole [firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com>]
>> >> Sent: Saturday, July 07, 2012 12:54 PM
>> >> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> >> Cc: Jean Lave
>> >> Subject: Re: [xmca] lave in mca
>> >> Lave: Changing Practices
>> >> I think it would be a pity if xmca-ites settled for Peter’s
>> >> characterization of Jean Lave’s article as a call to activism, and as
>> >> pitting writing against activism. I did not interpret Jean’s comments
>> as a
>> >> call to march in anti-war-de-jour activities, or join an occupy protest
>> >> slow down corporate greed.
>> >> Peter commented, in part:
>> >> *Scribner took it to the streets, marching in the marches and such, and
>> >> bully for her. I've got to weigh things differently, I suspect. If I go
>> >> protest la guerre-du-jour, holding my sign at the campus gates, is this
>> >> cost-effective action? Or is getting my writing done more important,
>> >> especially the public pieces that are read widely, if not terribly
>> >> influentially, at least in terms of current policies? (but then,
>> >> at the campus gates with a sign protesting wars or monied interests
>> >> probably has limited payoff as well.) And in my very conservative area,
>> >> no doubt pay an additional cost, such as the outcry against my activism
>> >> causes that go against the grain of popular opinion.*
>> >> Firstly, the general silence she identified (correctly or not, people
>> >> were there should comment, but it rings true enough to me) was the
>> >> of “historical specificity and political analysis.” She then linked
>> >> ideas to those of Gramsci in the following way:
>> >> *Gramsci’s political account of learning and education (and everything
>> >> else) grew out of*
>> >> *his analysis of the “absolute historicism” of philosophy of praxis. He
>> >> pointed to the central engagement of state and private institutions of
>> >> education in inculcating and defending dominant hegemonic relations of
>> >> consent. That is not all that is going on in our complex contradictory
>> >> world, of course. But because virtually all ISCAR participants do the
>> >> of these institutions, we also need to carry out the political analysis
>> >> that our positions call for.*
>> >> * *
>> >> None of Jean’s examples of the kind of changes in practice that she
>> >> advocates focused on marching in the streets or challenging the guerre
>> >> du jour. They did, however, focus on a number of examples (Drier,
>> >> Gomes, Holland, and her own) all of which involve the scholar, as
>> >> engaging in critical analyses of current research practices within the
>> >> professions of which they are a part.
>> >> Overall, the message that I took from the talk/essay was that those who
>> >> adopt what locally we refer to as a CHAT perspective have commitments
>> >> grounding theory in practices that are supposed to put our theories to
>> >> test. Her recommendation that we worry about educating the educators,
>> >> practice is education, seems to me completely uncontroversial. Her
>> >> cases seem uncontroversial as recognizable lines of scholarly research
>> >> of which has been discussed in this forum (we should “take seriously
>> >> understanding of research as craft, and of both learning and changing
>> >> identity as aspects of craftsmanship" for example).
>> >> I do not know nearly enough about most of the examples that Jean holds
>> >> as potential models to follow. It seems that remedying my ignorance
>> >> those examples would be a productive place to start. For sure, the
>> >> problems facing all forms of education, but in the case of most of us,
>> >> institutionally, the problems facing higher education, are acute and
>> >> getting worse very rapidly. Jean’s summary of that situation seems to
>> >> up with my own knowledge of events, but perhaps that is because we are
>> >> present for the dismantling of what was once a great public university.
>> >> Much less clear are lines of theory/practice research that would/could
>> >> a difference.
>> >> Anyway, there is a serious call here for a fundamental, critical,
>> >> theory/practice orientation to our work. Answering this call IS a
>> >> as well as an academic act. It may also be a warning that the
>> >> lifeworlds of academics that those of us over 30 years of age have
>> >> experienced may be in danger of disappearing faster than the ozone
>> >> mike
>> >> (Ps- sorry for the funny font gyrations. Cut and pasted from a word
>> >> On Wed, Jul 4, 2012 at 6:00 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <firstname.lastname@example.org
>> >>> I'm going to assume my unappointed role as discussion-launcher for the
>> >>> Lave article in MCA that was voted as the feature discussion article
>> >>> xmca. I may not be able to stick around for long, as we're going on
>> >>> vacation Saturday in hopes that somewhere on this earth we can find a
>> >> place
>> >>> that's not as hot as Georgia, USA.
>> >>> Lave's paper is based on her plenary closing talk at ISCAR in Rome, an
>> >>> even I did not attend. As an aside, as long as it's held in
>> >> mid-September,
>> >>> shortly after our fall academic semester begins, I and others like me
>> >>> probably won't attend. It's just too ill-timed to miss 1-2 weeks of
>> >>> classes, depending on location, right after getting the semester off
>> >>> ground.
>> >>> Lave references several ISCAR talks she found compelling, so it's nice
>> >> for
>> >>> us non-attenders to get a sense of what she found valuable in Rome.
>> >>> If there's an overriding theme to her paper, it might be that
>> >>> cultural-historical researchers ought to be more involved in social
>> >>> activism. I was struck while reading the paper by how she could easily
>> >> have
>> >>> used Silvia Scribner as her role model for the talk, even though SS
>> >>> unmentioned. A month or so when I wrote to the list about my reading
>> >> her
>> >>> collected papers, I noted that her activism on the labor front
>> >> cut
>> >>> into her writing time, although perhaps her career was conducted
>> >>> electronic media made expectations for writing much greater-there were
>> >>> fewer journals and fewer book publishers, and writing itself was much
>> >> more
>> >>> laborious (a point related to the recent discussion of writing) in
>> >> it
>> >>> was often undertaken by pen, then retyped, and ultimately less
>> >> to
>> >>> revision than it is these days.
>> >>> She urges social activism, although the paper is general enough to
>> >>> for individuals to take that appeal up in their own ways. Academics
>> >> to
>> >>> some, "above" ideology, and so should avoid the fray; yet most of us
>> >>> would agree with her point that all thinking is ideological, and so
>> >>> an activist on important social issues is a natural extension of our
>> >> work.
>> >>> If we are all ideological in our thinking, research, and writing, and
>> >>> social issues are shaped by ideology, should we not then contribute to
>> >> the
>> >>> shape of social issues through what we know via scholarship? (and
>> >>> that for a Western logical syllogism.)
>> >>> Scribner took it to the streets, marching in the marches and such, and
>> >>> bully for her. I've got to weigh things differently, I suspect. If I
>> >>> protest la guerre-du-jour, holding my sign at the campus gates, is
>> this a
>> >>> cost-effective action? Or is getting my writing done more important,
>> >>> especially the public pieces that are read widely, if not terribly
>> >>> influentially, at least in terms of current policies? (but then,
>> >>> at the campus gates with a sign protesting wars or monied interests
>> >>> probably has limited payoff as well.) And in my very conservative
>> >> I'd
>> >>> no doubt pay an additional cost, such as the outcry against my
>> >> for
>> >>> causes that go against the grain of popular opinion.
>> >>> I hope these concerns are not too concrete for Lave's fairly abstract
>> >>> call-to-peaceful-arms about social activism. For those of us in fairly
>> >>> conventional academic positions (Lave's seems to allow for much more
>> >> travel
>> >>> than mine), activism has to be balanced against other considerations
>> >>> demands on our time and local reputations. At this point, I'm more
>> >>> persuaded by the general thrust of her views than of possibilities for
>> >>> real-world activism whose consequences are greater than I can produce
>> >>> through my writing.
>> >>> OK, there you go, your turn.
>> >>> __________________________________________
>> >>> _____
>> >>> xmca mailing list
>> >>> email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
>> >>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>> xmca mailing list
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