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RE: [xmca] Taking culture into account/Doing harm?

Hi Greg,
No actually I don't see inter-cultural critique as reasonable, or as unreasonable I think - and if that's the idea you got I have not been clear.  I see inter-cultural critique as irrelvant (you can do it if you like, but it has little meaning one way or the other and is often a waste of energy) - but as I said I think it is often used as a straw man argument in cultural psychology.  My thinking right now is that I see  INTRA-cultural critique as imperative.  And the only way to move towards INTRA-cultural critique - where members of a culture are able to criticize their own practices is through educatiojn.  Vygotsky suggested education through scientific concepts which I find viable beause it offers an alternative to cultural belief systems.  Is science all cultural.  These days I find that argument much more dangerous than I did a few years ago.  The science of climate change is not cultural.  The science that fracking has a high chance of hurting the water table is not cultural.  The science of nuclear emmissions is not cultural.  Perhaps this is my flaw, but I think treating science as cultural on a large scale has been not such a good thing for the human condition.  The earth is round, there are principle of aerodynamics, too much unrefined sugar wreaks havoc on your constitution, the earth is not 5000 years old!!!  These are ideas that can be taught as counter-weights.  I used to think more of a Deweyan logic-problem solving approach was the way to go about this, but after the last decade I'm not so sure even about that.
What education should do is make you question your culture.  And by culture we can use Shweder's term of intentional systems I suppose, however they manifest themselves.  This INTRA-cultural critique is critical.


From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu on behalf of Greg Thompson
Sent: Mon 7/23/2012 6:01 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Taking culture into account/Doing harm?

Sounds like we've found a point of agreement - this raises thorny and
difficult questions.

And I certainly agree with your formulation that "culture" shouldn't always
will out. But I would add that science is culture too. (and "culture" is
"science" too - cf. Levi-Strauss). And we're back down the rabbit hole...


On Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 1:28 PM, Michael Glassman <MGlassman@ehe.osu.edu>wrote:

> Hi Greg,
> We seem to be going down the rabbit hole here.  I guess I'll end by saying
> I think settled science (broadly defined) and human rights should play at
> least some role in most decisions.  In some cases it may be best to
> dispense with these, but only after first examining them.  I think maybe
> this is one of the reasons Vygotsky stresses the importance of scientific
> concepts while still maintaining the role of everyday concepts in our lives
> is because he saw both as playing important roles.  I think one of his more
> interesting ideas is that you needed schools for scientific concepts,
> perhaps because the main goal of many cultures is to recreate themselves
> over generations.  Science can certainly be dangerous to tradtions, and
> through it we lose the illusion of stability.  A lot of people don't like
> this very much (see Global warming)  Every person should have access to
> different types of information, but this can be destabilizing for cultures,
> so there can be a tension.  I don't know if this is what Vygotsky meant,
> but this is how I see him right now.  Sometimes culture wills out,
> sometimes science and human rights wills out, but it should always be an
> open contest.  To give primacy to culture strikes me as an inherently
> conservative position.  And as my students pointed out about the Haidt
> book, it is very often the person privileged by culture who takes that
> position - which makes sense when you think about it.
> The question I am struggling with, and what has caused me to go back and
> read cultural psychology readings with a new eye, is what does all this
> mean in the information age.  What happens when the thirteen year old girl
> goes online and decided she wants to remain intact, or two, or three.  Who
> decides then?  And who protect the decision makers?
> Michael
> ________________________________


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