Concept Formation in the Wild - MCA

Special issue on “Concept Formation in the Wild”

Deadlines

Abstracts submission: April 15 2011. Manuscripts submission: July 15 2011

Guest Editor

Yrjö Engeström and Annalisa Sannino (University of Helsinki)

Description

It is commonly accepted that concepts are among the basic building blocks of human cognition, knowledge, and learning. What is not so often realized in cognitive science and educational research is that coping with the world requires that we operate with increasingly complex theoretical concepts. Terms like terrorism, global warming, HIV-AIDS, globalization, or human genome are not merely words. They are names for multi-faceted and ill-bounded  -  sometimes monstrous  -  objects, ideas, and practices, which human beings and their institutions desperately try to understand and manage, or conceptualize.It is not an accident that in many languages the word ‘concept’ (e.g., in German ‘Begriff’) is derived from the word ‘to grasp’, literally to take or grab with one’s hand. It is equally interesting that the English word concept is related to ‘conceiving’, that is, imagining, envisioning or making up a possible future state of affairs. These two roots indicate the dual meaning of concepts: they are practical tools for handling and mastering objects, and they are also future-oriented visions or ways of world-making.The examples listed above make it clear that complex concepts are restless, contested and contradictory. They carry ethical and ideological challenges. They evolve and generate surprising manifestations. They cannot be easily defined and put to rest as categories in a dictionary. In other words, our conceptualizations also grab and mold us. Yet we need concepts as tools, which makes it necessary that we try to fix and stabilize them, at least temporarily.Standard cognitive theories of conceptual change have been preoccupied with the individual formation of stable, well-defined and relatively neutral concepts, typically those taught in schools in natural sciences and mathematics. These theories offer relatively little for the understanding of collective formation of and work with emergent, unstable and contradictory complex concepts. Concept formation ‘in the wild’, especially in workplaces and grassroots community movements, is practically absent in these studies.The study of concept formation in the wild may require and foster epistemological and theoretical approaches that differ radically from dominant ideas about concepts. The Hegelian and Marxist legacy of understanding theoretical concepts in terms of ascending from the abstract to the concrete (Il’enkov, Davydov) is one such avenue. Ideas of double stimulation (Vygotsky), conceptual blending and material anchors (Hutchins), model-based reasoning (Nersessian), cognitive trails (Cussins), social representations (Moscovici, Markova), and embodied cognition (Lakoff, Gibbs) are further examples of promising openings.The special issue is aimed at bringing together alternative theoretical and methodological frameworks for studies of concept formation in historically changing practical activities, organizations and institutions. In this context, concepts are understood as collective, emergent and contested constructs that have serious practical consequences. The articles of the issue will be selected so as to represent theoretically and empirically important studies in this emerging field of inquiry.We are especially interested in articles that illuminate the relationship among the three categories that are on the journal's masthead (mind, culture, and activity). We also encourage potential contributors to look back over prior issues of MCA to see what topics have been visited and especially how the authors' work contributes to the problematics of MCA.

Guidelines for submisions

Potential contributors should first submit an abstract of their manuscript. Abstracts should be up to 500 words in length. The authors of selected abstracts will be then asked to submit manuscripts up to 8,000 words in length. Manuscripts will be subject to peer review process. Manuscripts should be prepared according to the /Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association/ (5th ed.) For further information and abstract submission, please write to contactmca@lchc.ucsd.edu.

For further information see http://lchc.ucsd.edu/mca/Journal/ConceptFormation-in-the-Wild/

 

Recent Publications

  • Kaatrakoski, H., Littlejohn, A. & Hood, N. Learning challenges in higher education: an analysis of contradictions within open educational practice. High Educ (2016). doi:10.1007/s10734-016-0067-z Publication>>

  • Kaatrakoski, H., & Lahikainen, J., "What We Do Every Day Is Impossible": Managing Change by Developing a Knotworking Culture in an Academic Library, The Journal of Academic Librarianship (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2016.06.001 Publication>>

  • Kajamaa, A. & Lahtinen, P. (2016). Carnivalization as a new mode of collaboration. Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 28 Iss 4 pp. 188 - 205. DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JWL-11-2015-0084 Publication>>

  • Sannino,A., Engeström, Y. & Lemos, M. (2016). Formative Interventions for Expansive Learning and Transformative Agency, Journal of the Learning
    Sciences,
    DOI: 10.1080/10508406.2016.1204547 Publication>>
  • Sannino, A., Engeström Y. & Lahikainen, J. (2016). The dialectics of authoring expansive learning: tracing the long tail of a Change Laboratory. Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 28 Iss 4 pp. 245 - 26 http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JWL-01-2016-0003 Publication>>
  • Engeström, Y. & Sannino, A. (2016). Expansive learning on the move: insights from ongoing research / El aprendizaje expansivo en movimiento: aportaciones de la investigación en curs. Journal for the Study of Education and Development/ Infancia y Aprendizaje http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02103702.2016.1189119 Publication >>
  • Rantavuori, J., Engeström, Y., & Lipponen, L. (2016). Learning actions, objects and types of interaction: A methodological analysis of expansive learning among pre-service teachers. Frontline Learning Research, 4(3), 1-27. Publication >>
  • Korpela, J., Miettinen, R., Salmikivi , T., & Ihalainen, J. 2015. The challenges and potentials of utilizing building information modeling in facility management. The case of the Center for Property and facilities of the University of Helsinki. Construction Management and Economies 33(1), 3-17. Publication >>
  • Kerosuo, H., Miettinen, R., Paavola, S., Mäki, T. & Korpela, J. 2015. Challenges of the expansive use of Building Information Modeling in construction projects. Production 25(2), 289-297.Publication >>
  • Miettinen, R., Tuunainen, J. & E.   Esko (2015).  Epistemological, Artefactual and Interactional–Institutional Foundations of Social Impact of Academic Research. Minerva 53(3), 257-277 Publication >>
  • Sannino, A. (2015). The principle of double stimulation: A path to volitional action. Learning, Culture, and Social Interaction, 6, 1-15. Publication >>
  • Sannino, A. (2015). Double stimulation in the waiting experiment with collectives. Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science. DOI: 10.1007/s12124-015-9324-4 Publication >>
  • Sannino, A. & Vainio, J. (2015). Gendered hegemony and its contradictions among Finnish university physicists. Gender and Education. DOI:10.1080/09540253.2015.1045455 Publication >>
  • Kerosuo H., Miettinen, R., Paavola S., & Mäki T., (2015). Challenges of the expansive1 use of Building ­Information Modeling (BIM) in construction projects. Production Journal, vol.25, n.2, p.289-297, 2015 Publication >>
  • Engeström Y., Kajamaa A., Lahtinen P. & Sannino A. (2015). Toward a Grammar of Collaboration, Mind, Culture, and Activity, 22:2, 92-111, DOI:10.1080/10749039.2015.1024326 Publication >>
  • Schulz, K-P., Kajamaa, A. & Kerosuo, H. (2015). Creating innovative work practices through reflexive interventions. International Journal of Work Innovation 1 (2): 143 - 160. DOI: 10.1504/IJWI.2015.071193 Publication >>
  • Seppänen, L. (2015). Review of 'Collaborative projects: an interdisciplinary study'. Book edited by Andy Blunden. Outlines - Critical Practice Studies, 16(1), 93-97. Publication >>
  • Vänninen I., Pereira-Querol M., Engeström Y. (2015). Generating transformative agency among horticultural producers: An activity-theoretical approach to transforming Integrated Pest Management Original Research Article. Agricultural Systems, Volume 139, October 2015, Pages 38-49 Publication >>
  • Kerosuo, H. (2015). BIM-based collaboration across organizational and disciplinary boundaries through knotworking. 8th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organization. Procedia Economics and Finance, 21, 201-208.Publication >>
  • Mäki, T. (2015) Multi-disciplinary discourse on design-related issues in construction site meetings. 8th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organization. Procedia Economics and Finance, 21, 231-238. Publication >>
  • Mäki, T. and Kerosuo, H. (2015) Site managers' daily work and the uses of building information modelling in construction site. Construction Management and Economics, published on line 5 May, 2015. Publication >>

Publications news archive >>

News

News and higlights archive >>

Concept Formation
in the Wild

Special issue of Mind, Culture, and Activity