Criticism towards mutual knowledge theories
Arnseth A.C., Ludvigsen S., Mørch A., Wasson B. (2004). Managing Intersubjectivity in Distributed Collaboration. PsychNology Journal, 2(2), 189 – 204. The paper describes a very interesting criticism of a specific approach to the study of technologically mediated social interaction. The critique is about the notion of "share knowledge" (mostly Clark’s (1996) notion of grounding):
According to Clark (1996) grounding is the process through which shared knowledge is established in interaction. This process is dependent on the participant’s prior beliefs, their previous knowledge, and the material artifacts that are available in any communicative encounter. The main assumption in the studies by Baker et al. (1999) and Dillenbourg & Traum (1999), is that different technological tools provide different constraints and affordances for the grounding process. (...) According to such a view, communication is conceived as a process of coordinating knowledge that the participants already possess. However, the efforts involved in arriving at a shared interpretation might require a reorganization of the knowledge that an individual brings to the situation. Nevertheless, social interaction is mainly the site where participants’ mental states are articulated and coordinated. However, the main problem with such an analytical practice from a situated perspective, is that it implies a disregard for the participants’ interpretative work (Ludvigsen & Mørch, 2003). Moreover, the management of intersubjectivity is treated as independent of the situation in which it occurs, the activity in which participants are engaged and the goals that they are trying to achieve.
In another paper "Making Sense of Shared Knowledge", Hans Christian Arnseth and Ivar Solheim also give other critiques:
Our main criticism of Clark and Brennan’s model is that it retains a communication-as-transfer-between-minds view of language. Secondly that it treats intentions and goals as pre-existing psychological entities that are later somehow formulated in language.
Why do I blog this? using Clark's theory as a framework for my research, I am curious of the critiscm towards it. However, I rather used his theory of coordination (coordination devices/keys) than the whole shared knowledge issue.