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[xmca] Soft Power and Collective Sense Making

Dear David ES-

I hope you will join in the discussion of your interesting paper on soft
power and sense making that has appeared
in MCA. It has been chosen not only by members of xmca for discussion, but
by Taylor and Francis as something
like "article of the week" for their current marketing through new media.
Congratulations, that is a first of some sort.

I was intrigued from the very opening sentence and by the great potential
of your article to help build a deeper
understanding of the Bernstein/Vygotsky/Daniels relationship.

First, I was intrigued by your assertion that "Post-Vygotskian theorists
have long wrestled with the apparent
opposition between the sign-mediated nature of collective meanting
making.... and a focus on the object-oriented
activity and practical action in cultural-historical perspectives. (my

Whose apparent? Who are the people who study sign mediation or
cultural-historical processes with this opposition?
The Russians for sure. For them it was a political, life, necessity, and
many of those who espoused ideas argued
bitterly during their life times.

But a couple of decades ago, people in Europe, the US, South America, and
elsewhere, argued that there is no
mediation without activity and vice versa, at least where human beings are
concerned. This is emblematized nicely on the cover of Luis Moll's book on
Vygotsky and Education, where there is a mediational triangle in a
behavior setting/activty. People like Arne Raithel, Yrjo Engestrom, and
others insisted that cultural-historical (Vygotskian, sign mediated) and
activity (Leontievan, production/activity grounded approaches were
complementary, and that the opposition as binary was a product of the
political context. The people involved in the discussion were, at the time,
engaged in emailing each other about ideas and holding conferences, in the
course of which it seemed
natural to refer to the combined position as CHAT..... so here we are

I am really interested in the way in which you distinguish kinds of frames
and their relation to the dynamics of
discourse as they are related to power. Harry long ago sought to combine
Vygotsky's psychology with Bernstein's
sociology, and your work continues that tradition.

I want to wait and see what other's find interesting and what questions
they ask, but it strikes me as potentially
useful to pause to find out what questions people have and the perspective
of others. For those who do not
have access to the Hedegaard (2013) article from MCA, complain and if my
suggestion of including that
article in the discussion is useful, perhaps we can arrange it.


This connection appears very clear in the fine article that Marianne
published to which you refer in your
article. We did not get to discuss that article at the time, but it is well
worth revisiting.
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