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RE: [xmca] A question about Lewin & CHAT& Engestrom

I think one of the reasons sometimes there is not that many connections between Lewin and company's  Action Research (it was an ensemble production) and at least a number of variations of CHAT is that one of the goals of Action Research is actually to challenge in place culture while a strongly cultural influenced CHAT - at least to me - seems to want to work within the context of culture.  The original purpose of Action Research was to challenge the darker side of in place cultures such as bigotry, discrimination and oppression that have become part of ongoing cultural practices.  The focus is to make members of the community aware of how this hurts a social group, both individuals and as a whole.  Part of this is actually bringing members of the community into the evolving process of recognition, because they are the only ones who really understand what is going on in the community.  The focus of action research on business came later, and occurred for a number of reasons, not the least of which it seems to me was funding for their projects.

A strong cultural psychology version of CHAT sometimes, it seems to me (and I know I am going to get into trouble about this) tends to view cultural as almost totemic, and something researchers as outsiders need to understand - then solve problems within the context of that culture.  This it seems to me is a very different approach to both culture and to problem solving.  I'm sure others might have very different views of this.  Just my two cents.

From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] on behalf of mike cole [lchcmike@gmail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 9:46 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity
Subject: [xmca] A question about Lewin & CHAT& Engestrom

A former colleague sent this comment/question to me and I thought I would
pass it along.

I responded that there was a lot of interaction between Lewin, Vygotsky,
Luria and ......., but
I could not speak for later users of CHAT.

Sort of fyi.

One thought has emerged from my current reading to come up with theories to
inform methodology: I am curious as to why CHAT researchers had never
seemed to look into Kurt Lewin's Action Research and Field Theory as tools
to think about. For example, what I see Engeström is calling "Expansive
learning" looks to my eye to be quite close to Lewin's
freeze-unfreeze-freeze model, and to this standard change management model,
in which we are looking (I think) at a fairly typical model of an object in
the world of software products, in which external forces (which I would
call activity systems) are interacting with an object that is evolving
through the interaction of such systems:

Software installation, tuning, management and upgrade is very much like
this. The object mutates in response to its environment, interacting with
multiple interactive communities, as customers use the tool and discover
new things they wish it would do, or developers think of interesting things
that can be done with the tool, in response to an environment of new tools
and other developer's objects. The shared object changes in response to
those goals (or is dumped--not that this would ever happen with
*my*company's objects) for an object that looks like it can better
reward the
effort to shape it into goals that may not be fully grasped, but that
become real in the interaction of users, developers, communities, and

I suppose Lewin's focus on the individual in society, rather than on action
in society, is a theoretical barrier. But they both work for me

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