Re: [xmca] Creativity & Social Transformation

From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack who-is-at>
Date: Tue Apr 08 2008 - 05:04:08 PDT

Dear Francine:
  Welcome! I've been reading Y.V. Karpov's book The Neo-Vygotskian Approach to Child Development (2005: CUP) and noticing that he references you a lot. I looked up one of your papers on play ("The relevance of Vygotskys' theory of creative imagination for contemporary research on play"), so I for one was not wondering who the heck Francine Smolucha was, but rather how the heck she knew all these wonderful things about Vygotsky's work before any of the rest of us did.
  Karpov's main use for your work seems to be to buttress his claim that socio-dramatic play needs to be directly taught by adults. This is part of his activity theoretic approach, which divides childhood into distinct periods which are not separated by crises but instead characterized by a "leading activity" with a new independent motive. This leading activity grows out of a goal directed action that was subordinated to the previous activity.
  That's my problem. I can sort of see how the manipulation of toys might grow out of emotional attachment. And I can almost imagine how sociodramatic play might grow out of the manipulation of toys (though LSV suggests that it has more to do with unrealizeable desires). And the adult playmate is indeed a logical stepping stone to schoolwork, but schoolwork in the sense of age-homogenous levels overseen by a single adult is a pretty modern invention.
  Mike is arguing, elsewhere on this list, for a looooooooooooooong co-evolution of culture and phylogeny;it is not the case that history begins where evolution leaves off. It seems to me that for most of this long co-evolution, the chief means of enculturation for both anthropoid apes and man must have been play. But it also seems to me that for most of human history and prehistory the child's logical playmates would be older siblings and their friends rather than adults, as we see in most cultures where the bourgeois family has not yet taken root and even in late capitalist families where both parents have to work. Isn't it the older playmate rather than the participation of adults that makes play into a "natural" zone of proximal development?
  David Kellogg
  Seoul National University of Education

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Received on Tue Apr 8 05:06 PDT 2008

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