Originally posted at Salihabava.com/academic on April 20, 2010


I’m participating in an international learning community on Performance. In response to one of my fellow conversationalists I said “all of lived activity in my view is an improvisation.” To which he responded:

If it exists in everywhere and all time then I need to understand improvisation in your definition. Would you like to define it please? …Regarding all of lived ‘Activity’ is improvisation in your opinion, then thinking about revolution and thinking about an established Guantanamo- both are improvisation?

To which I responded…

Based on my reading of Vygotsky at Work and Play I understand activity is method (tool-and-result) within the ESI context. I view all human activity as a recursive process of production and being produced …usually, for me all human activity is meaning-making (intentionally or not, aware or not we are doing so) which is historical, social, political and constructive (and reflexive in my practice). I’m pondering on expanding the notion that all meaning making is also dialectic (given the idea of production & product). So when I use activity, I will characterize it in some circles & not others because I want to draw attention to its characterization. (But I do not believe that when not qualified by its characterization, the way I refer to “meaning making” shifts). Thus, all human activity is a joint activity of production such that either we are making meaning or bringing scripts of meaning to our exchanges and thus constructing as we move together. In the process of meaning making we are producing our moves and us…this is the play of improvisation.

So, yes, both a revolution and Guantanamo (or the thinking of them) are forms in which we organize and organize others, one more so than the other may be scripted (read planned). Yet in the moment of living (enacting) the script there is a joint activity and breathing life into that script is a production that carries the improvisations that I’m referring to. I am referring to the micro turn of events….that shape the macro & vice-versa. Thus in this way of constructing activity, I construct improvisation. Which now as I speak, I wonder if I am saying activity and improvisation are interchangeable???…not sure…I’ll be thinking and playing with that notion now…thanks for inviting me into dialogue as I leave with a question now.

So for those of us who are leaders or view our self as leaders, I ask how do you view your leadership? Is it an activity that is historical, social, political, constructive and reflexive process of becoming?
I view leadership as more than an instrument for an outcome but as process and product at the same time. How to do we move towards the design of Leadership as Dialectics (“process-and-product”)?