Re: [xmca] Zopeds at the cultural historical level

From: Bodrozic (
Date: Wed Dec 13 2006 - 14:49:53 PST

I think that it depends quite a lot on your object of research, whether
searching for a - hypthetical - Zoped on the Cultural Historical level
is useful or not.
While "ideological setting" such as the "proletariat is per definitionem
the subject of new kind of practice" might be less useful, it might be
fruitful, to discuss
hyothetical zopeds of systems (such as activity systems or even systems
of more extensive scope) that are grounded in emprirical or historical data.
In the the time of the IT revolution new models of different activities
are emerging, and I think the Zoped concept might be appropriate to
adress them.

Kind regards
Zlatko Bodrozic


Mike Cole schrieb:

> Yes, this seems a plausible way to go. But it is difficult to think of
> the
> dominator
> as "more developed" is so many ways (ditto adult/child was an issue I was
> trying to
> raise, but lets assume that parents know best if you like for purposes of
> discussion)
> that I recoil often at the thought.
> In our 1984 article on zopeds peg griffin and I pointed out, echoing
> Carol
> Emerson
> writing about Bakhtin and LSV, that a zoped can be usefully be thought
> of as
> a conversation with the future and that as such, the adult current
> level of
> development does not provide an exhaustive teleology/end point of the
> child's development.
> I see no easy resolutions here (how could there be, this group cannot
> agree
> that any
> putative example of a zoped is in fact an example!), but the issues are
> worth thinking,
> re-thinking, re-re-thinking, etc.
> mike
> On 12/11/06, Andy Blunden <> wrote:
>> Mike, surely the essential thing about ontogenetic development which
>> differs from historical development is that in ontogeny the subject is
>> growing into an existing dominant culture and activity system,
>> whereas in
>> history (and evolution) the subject is pulling itself up by its
>> bootstraps,
>> except for various kinds of cultural domination, colonialism, etc.
>> where a
>> dominant subject forces the development of a dominated subject. So if we
>> see ZPD as essentially existing in the relation between more and less
>> capable subjects, then the only way we can see it in history is via
>> domination. Some would argue that domination of one subject by
>> another is
>> in fact the norm, not the exception, in history: war, conquest,
>> colonisation, enslavement, take-over, .... This is what Hegel's famed
>> master-slave dialectic is about, the same dialectic which deals with the
>> emergence of rational thought (theory and practice, scientific concepts,
>> etc.) from non-literate life (for want of a better word). Hegel's
>> dialectic of the relations between dominant and dominated subjects is
>> never
>> (so far as I know) conceived as that of learner-teacher ... an
>> interesting
>> thought though ...
>> Andy
>> At 01:19 PM 10/12/2006 -0800, you wrote:
>> >A while back Paul inquired into the issue of zone's of proximal
>> development
>> >at the cultural
>> >historical level of analysis. I pointed to Yrjo's work in Learning by
>> >Expanding, but Paul has
>> >in mind far wider swatches of time.
>> >
>> >In Yrjo's case, in some sense, a generalization of the method of dual
>> >stimulation implemented
>> >as cultural practices by a self-conscious group is the mechanism for
>> >"changing oneself by
>> >changing one's history" (where self may refer to Huck Finn or the
>> Finnish
>> 7
>> >brothers or a group
>> >of workers in some Finnish industry). I like the work a lot, but I
>> agree
>> >with Paul that it does not
>> >answer to the question of Zopeds at the cultural historical level
>> >adequately.
>> >
>> >The problem, for me, is that I am unsure that it is appropriate to seek
>> any
>> >such mechanism of
>> >cultural historical change. A zoped, in my ( ipso facto flawed,
>> mistaken,
>> >and misguided understanding!)
>> >is constituted in joint of activity of people with different resources
>> >(knowledge, experience, courage.......)
>> >for accomplishing a culturally valued task. In Vygotsky's rendering,
>> >provided in the context of
>> >psychological testing and pedagogical practice, the persona involved
>> are
>> a
>> >more and less capable
>> >person, sometimes referred to as more and less capable peers.
>> >
>> >The difficulty at the cultural-historical level that bothers me is that
>> it
>> >is even more difficult than in the
>> >ontogenetic case to figure out who the more capable person/social group
>> >might be. For sure versions
>> >of this idea that invoke some version of the "vanguard of the
>> proletariat"
>> >and associate notions of
>> >false consciousness I experienced during the 20th century, did not
>> impress
>> >me as a useful
>> >means for the development of humanity.
>> >
>> >I should add that I also believe that uncritical evaluations of who the
>> more
>> >capable person is in the
>> >ontogentic literature ought to be viewed sceptically, or at least
>> bracketed.
>> >In some cases (luria
>> >seeking to help Zasetsky recover his blown-away intellectual
>> functions so
>> >that he can read and write
>> >and live in his home town) the amazing zopeds Luria created seem
>> >unproblematic ethically in terms
>> >of almost anyone's view. In a lot of other cases I am less sure. Yrjo's
>> >critique of unproblematic
>> >"vertical developmentalism" in his "breaking away" article
>> highlights the
>> >dark side of educator's
>> >good intentions even when they are, in some sense good, never mind the
>> cases
>> >in which psychopaths
>> >are in charge of the classroom or the clinic.
>> >
>> >But the question at the cultural-historical level remains in several
>> >versions.
>> >
>> >I am assuming that at the phylogenetic level no one wishes to claim
>> that
>> >there is any question of
>> >the kind of teleology involved in issues surrounding the notion of
>> zoped
>> >within a CHAT perspective,
>> >but this view is clearly in a tiny minority when viewed within the
>> >contemporary ideological landscape.
>> >mike
>> >_______________________________________________
>> >xmca mailing list
>> >
>> >
>> Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435,
>> AIM
>> identity: AndyMarxists mobile 0409 358 651
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