Re: Rommetveit & Bruner

From: Steve Gabosch (
Date: Tue Sep 07 2004 - 13:36:18 PDT

Nice oppositions and questions to consider, David .... individualistic
versus culturalist psyschology, paradigmatic versus narrative thought,
world of causality versus a world of meanings ... and what is the content
of an empiricist/culturalist research program? ...

I am now reading LSV's Mind in Society (the 1978 collection of essays
edited by Mike and others). Here are some teasers from this book.

Chapter 5 is from a monograph not published until 1960 that Luria helped
get translated, entitled in the 1978 collection "Problems of Method." LSV
addresses key issues that he saw as the basis of his cultural-historical
research approach, what he called in this chapter an
"experimental-developmental" method.

He calls it this because this method "artificially provokes or creates a
process of psychological development. This approach is equally appropriate
to the basic aim of dynamic analysis. If we replace object analysis by
process analysis, then the basic task of research obviously becomes a
reconstruction of each stage in the development of the process; the process
must be turned back to its initial stages." (pg 61-62).

In this chapter, LSV goes on to discuss "explanation versus description"
and "the problem of 'fossilized' behavior."

He concludes: "In summary, then, the aim of psychological analysis [of the
school he is advocating - sg] and its essential factors are as follows: (1)
process analysis as opposed to object analysis; (2) analysis that reveals
real, causal or dynamic relations as opposed to enumeration of a process's
outer features, that is, explanatory, not descriptive analysis; and (3)
developmental analysis that returns to the source and reconstructs all the
points in the development of a structure. The result of development will
be neither a purely psychological structure such as descriptive psychology
considers the result to be, nor a simple sum of elementary processes such
as associationistic psychology saw it, but a qualitatively new form that
appears in the process of development." (pg 65).

This is just a beginning to answer big questions like "what is proper of an
empirical culturalist study of the mind who is not plain empiricist and how
can we move from a principled epistemological stage to a progressive
program of culturalist research" but that is what many of us find inspiring
about LSV - he, Luria and the others gave us a place to start.

- Steve

At 06:44 PM 9/7/2004 +0000, you wrote:

>Although the discussion was somehow closed, I just wanted to add a few
>thoughts about Rommetveit's article.
>I found his distinction between a first person or individualistic and a
>second person or culturalist psychology quite similar to the one drawn by
>Jerry Bruner between paradigmatic and narrative thought. He also thought
>of the former as dealing with a world of causality and the latter as
>dealing with a world of meanings.
>As Rommetveit advances the idea of a psychology of a second person I
>started to acknowledge some claims that are now somehow common currency in
>culturally oriented psychologist. In particular, the idea the
>understanding of meaning requires a different understanding of the methods
>we use.
>And then is where I found myself in a known problem. The question that
>arises is, then, what is proper of an empirical culturalist study of the
>mind who is not plain empiricist and how can we move from a principled
>epistemological stage to a progressive program of culturalist research,
>question that is somehow closer to what Mike was just asking about
>findings in constructivism.
>Beyond these issues, it is also the problem that not a minor set of the
>psychological establishment is not just aculturalist but overtly
>David D. Preiss
>home page:

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