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Re: [xmca] Polls are closed: Manfred Holodynsk's article is choice

Andy  and Carol:

So the "object" here is the outburst, and it's contested because it is
perceived very differently by onlookers, managers and the woman herself?

I don't understand the difference between *general* meaning and *universal*


On 3/30/13 10:26 PM, "Andy Blunden" <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

>Words, and the concepts they are signs for, do tend, as you suggest, to
>(1) Become institutionalised, so that they form part of a common fund of
>knowledge. This happens through the material objectification of the
>concept (in building toilets), the practical objectificationof the
>concepts (in using them in one way and not another, and only them) and
>the symbolic and semantic objectification (in signage and texts of all
>kinds), and (2) Gradually change over time, in a given community, and
>from one community to another, or from one subcultural group to another,
>due to changes in these forms of objectification. But to look at the
>*general* meaning of a symbol or tool or other artifact, we obscure the
>importance of what is *universal*. This only becomes an issue if, rather
>than taking ordinary objects as our paradigm for concepts and the
>objects of activity, we take precisely objects which are contested,
>controversial and/or changing. This is what we should do.
>So, for example, let us supposed that the bank-employee in Manfred's
>example is female. We can see a possible explanation for her actions in
>the fact that she is committed to feminism. In this case her outburst is
>far from being a personal, idiosyncratic expression, but is actually a
>self-conscious action taken against a bullying male boss, an action
>subsumed within the project (or activity) known as feminism, or "the
>women's movement."
>The result may well be changing the title of her job, for example, from
>secretary to office manager, because, as Vygotsky said, "the concept [of
>secretary] had become worn out."
>carolmacdon@gmail.com wrote:
>> Is it possible that this is simply "common" understanding which is
>>negotiated again and again and is subject to change over long periods
>>like the work "toilet" which has changed time and again over the period
>>of centuries. 
>> Carol
>> Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom - let your email find you!
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Raquel Guzzo <rguzzo@mpc.com.br>
>> Sender: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu
>> Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2013 20:30:45
>> To: <ablunden@mira.net>; eXtended Mind, Culture,
>> Reply-To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>> Subject: Re: [xmca] Polls are closed: Manfred Holodynsk's article is
>> Raquel S. L. Guzzo
>> Pos-Graduação em Psicologia
>> Centro de Ciências da Vida
>> Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Campinas
>> rguzzo@puc-campinas.edu.br
>> rguzzo@pq.cnpq.br
>> rguzzo@mpc.com.br
>> On 30 Mar 2013, at 20:21, Andy Blunden wrote:
>>> So what can be meant by "societal meaning" then, Helena? Material
>>>objects (such as the bank building, and the various human bodies
>>>involved, and books and ledgers, coins, etc.) are "societal" in the
>>>sense of being universal. But "meaning" implies to me an act of
>>>"interpretation" of material objects, something particular. And if the
>>>Politburo is not there to ascribe the one societal meaning to material
>>>things/processes/events, what on Earth can "societal meaning" be?
>>> Andy
>>> Helena Worthen wrote:
>>>> ...
>>>> Before this gets too long, I'll just say that I agree, there is no
>>>> omniscient observer to tell us what the "societal meaning" of
>>>> is. In fact, if Manfred and I were standing in line at that bank where
>>>> this happened, it might be fun for us to compare our "personal sense"
>>>> what we saw.
>>>> Helena   
>>> __________________________________________
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>*Andy Blunden*
>Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
>Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts
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