Hors-série 2016: quelques vidéos de Charles Goodwin en complément des textes

En complément des analyses développées dans le texte traduit dans le Hors-série 2016, « L’organisation co-opérative et transformative de l’action et du savoir humains », Charles Goodwin nous a donné accès à quelques extraits vidéo, tirés d’une présentation faite sur la notion de « co-opération ». On trouvera ci-dessous une description, rédigée par Charles Goodwin, de ces clips avec les liens vers les vidéos.

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The videos shown in all of these clips were recorded by Charles Goodwin.

The video in Clip 2 was recorded in the home of a man with severe aphasia (Chuck’s father). The video in Clip 4 was recorded at a Geology Fieldschool in Yellowstone national park. I owe and gratefully acknowledge a tremendous debt to Dave Mogk and Darrell Henry and their students for giving me access to their incredible work and world.

I also want to thank all of the participants in my Co-Operative Action Lab who helped me discover the richness of these materials.

 

Clip 1 — Co-Operative Action versus Cooperation

This clip tries to clarify the distinction between Goodwin’s notion of Co-Operative Action and the more familiar concept of Cooperation used in fields such as biological anthropology and psychology. In essence, rather than being defined and analyzed in terms of mutual benefit, mental attributes of actors, or the opposition between mutual benefit and competition, Co-Operative action focuses on public practices for the organization of action. In brief, actors construct new action by performing systematic operations on materials placed in a public environment by those who came before them. These practices frequently involve de-composition and re-use of the resources used by others in the construction of their action. Sitting at the center of Co-Operative Action are processes of progressive accumulation and transformation through time. To make the difference between the traditional analysis of Cooperation and the notion of Co-Operative Action as clear as possible an animal experiment demonstrating cooperation in elephants is examined. In essence while the beneficial action in progress could not be accomplished by either animal alone, the separate animals do not perform transformative operations on what each other is doing, with the effect that there is no accumulation leading to the path-dependent diversification of culture, settings, social organization etc. that are the hallmark of human sociality.

Co-Operative Action does not rely upon timeless mental states, such as the ability to recognize communicative intentions, but instead on public practices that have an intrinsic temporal organization.

Originally this clip occurred later in the presentation excerpted here (it was felt important to make these distinction as early as possible since may hearing the talk assumed that it was in some way about cooperation). There is a brief section beginning about 2 minutes 49  seconds into the clip and ending about 3:40, that relies upon a sequence originally shown earlier in the talk. In that sequence Chil, an aphasic man, uses pointing to try and get his son Chuck to do something. However, Chuck is unable to figure out what Chil is pointing at, and thus recover the action. Different possible actions lead to different possible referents for Chil’s points — grapefruit if Chil is asking for more fruit, the kitchen if Chil is asking Chuck to remove dirty dishes etc. This is used to contrast Tomasello’s theory of reference with the one developed here, where reference emerges within the task of grasping a relevant action. With this in mind the clip can be easily followed.

 

 

Clip 2 — The Social Life of Aphasia, Distributed Speakers and Utterances

How is a man able to speak only 3 words (Yes, No and And) able to act as a powerful speaker ? In essence, by operating co-operatively on earlier talk constructed by someone else, Chil indexically incorporates the rich lexicon and semantic structure created by another participant, while transforming it into something new. This is used to argue for the distributed existence of both speakers and their utterances. Rather than emerging from the mental life of an isolated actor, human action, and the capacity to build relevant meaning, is lodged within a multi-party interactive field, one that can encompass different kinds of participants with different abilities.

 

 

Clip 3 — Co-Operative Action with those who are Co-Present, Predecessors and Objects

In the work of scholars such as Goffman, aspects of Schutz, gesture studies, some approaches to embodiment and cognition, etc., an analytic bubble is frequently drawn at the skin of interacting actors (and frequently the skin of an embodied individual), one that excludes both the material world, and the still consequential presence of those who came before us. This clip attempts to demonstrate that local action is frequently constructed by performing co-operative, accumulative transformations on resources inherited from our predecessors, who have created settings and architectures for perception that constitute the point of departure of local action within specific communities.

 

 

 

Clip 4 — Building Skilled, Competent Inhabitants

Path-dependent accumulative diversity in languages, cultures, settings, etc. creates for every community the task of building new, cognitively rich, skilled inhabitants, actors able to competently shape the world into the discursive objects and forms of action that sit at the center of its signature activities. It is proposed that this can be accomplished in the midst of co-operative action itself. At a field school in Yellowstone the public sensorium of new geologists is shaped through public practice that encompasses both the materials in the world the are the focus of their profession’s activities, and work with already skilled geologists. Through such co-operative action new members are created who can be trusted to transform their sensory experience of the landscape and rocks they examine into the geological categories, types and maps that animate their community’s work, discourse and knowledge.

 


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