DREAM notes

Suddenly it’s been half a year since I last posted on my blog! I have been thinking about (and procrastinating on) posting some notes from the two conferences I attended in the fall: the DREAM conference at SDU in Odense i September 2008, and the big Internet Research 9.0 conference (confusingly also known as IR9, AoIR, AIR…) at ITU in October 2008. Anyway, the time has come – and I will begin with a few notes from the DREAM conference (seems that the conference website is down right now):

My most substantial notes are from one of the keynote talks at the conference. I found Roger Säljö‘s talk very inspiring – although I am not very familiar with the fields of activity theory and educational psychology, where the concepts presented here are based. What I am conveying here is the part of the talk that was most interesting to me 🙂

The title of the talk was “Representational technologies, imaginative minds and the social memory”, and as part of this subject, Säljö gave a historical account of the role of media and media comunication in human development. The basic idea is that human beings have always objectified/externalized their experiences, and Säljö looks at how these objectifications are constitutive of cultural transformations and of the development of social memory, and how they shape meaning-making practices. Social memory means, in other words, how we learn to represent our experiences and how we become shaped by these representations.

Representations/documentations rely on sign-making through inscriptions on artefacts (images, symbols, words, narratives etc.). The ability to document and represent our actions is an important part of the history of human development, and all these documentations depend of an interpretive community to give it meaning. Moreover, these interpretive practices and communities entail processes of reification and fixation of meaning, in other words, representations can be seen as reified human experience.

I think that these issues are quite interesting to think about some more in the context of my own research on storytelling in online gaming communities.


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