Re: [xmca] Karpov's Book

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Sat Apr 12 2008 - 10:24:51 PDT

Coming again to issues of cultural difference and all these related notions
70+ years after
Levy Bruhl, Vygotsky, and Luria were writing, 30/40 years after the post-
WWII burst of
cross-cultural research, and in the frenzied concern over
hyper-globalization and global warming
might be timely, David.

The contradictions emerging in recent research and theory (the current
thread about LSV and
primitive thought, Everett vs Chomsky and whoever on Pidiha language and
thought, the claims
made about various "new literacies" are pretty mind bending.

Ignacio- I think a used copy on amazon is most likely the only way to get a
relatively cheap version
of the Karpov book using the internet.

Martin-- I think David was referring to Karpov's characterization of the
Uzbeki work, not LSV's but the
two were both in the message. Keeping straight who said what is a chore!

On Sat, Apr 12, 2008 at 7:17 AM, ignacio dalton <> wrote:

> hi david, mike, and all
> seems interesting to learn more about this book.
> is there any chance to get it on internet ?
> ignacio dalton
> David Kellogg <> wrote:
> Sorry, Mike--
> I know, that last posting had all the complexity of Sun Wukong wandering
> through the garden of the Emperor of Heaven. I did indeed set out to comment
> on Karpov, but I got distracted by Eugene's golden peaches.
> Yes, Karpov has the worst of both of the worlds Eugene describes as
> "cultural historical" and "sociocultural". On the one hand, he thinks the
> Stalinists correctly characterized LSV's position on the Uzbek peasantry,
> and on the other he appears to think that this is a pretty fair view of the
> cognitive abilities of the Uzbeks. I think LSV's real position was
> anticipating the emergence of a new culture and not applauding the
> imposition of a "Western" one.
> Other problems with the Karpov book (The Neo-Vygotskyan Approach to Child
> Development):
> a) A recapitulationist view of the relationship between cultural history
> and ontogeny (p. 19)
> b) The claim that children acquire language 'only if adults "don't
> understand" nonverbal means of communciation that children try to use in the
> context of their object-centred joint activity and encourge children to use
> words." (p. 129). What possible evidence for such an assertion could ever
> exist? None!
> c) The belief that object substitutions are also handed down from parent
> to child (e.g. the child riding a stick will think it is a stick until it is
> called a horse by an adult). Again, it's hard to imagine what could be
> construed as evidence for this. The evidence given does not go very far: an
> adult asks a child what he is cooking and the child answers, truthfully,
> sticks and rocks. (p. 133)
> d) "Human progress, in general, occurs when every new generation
> appropriates the essence of knowledge accumulated by previous generations."
> (p. 185) This is a novel form of Zeno's paradox; it seems to rule out the
> possibility of human progress in principle.
> e) No crisis. None! Even the adolescent crisis is brought on by the
> intransigence of parents (p. 212).
> f) The attempt to integrate the genetically based notion of IQ advocated
> by Arthur Jensen with Vygotskyan thinking about cognitive development (pp.
> 236-238).
> All of these points seem to add up to a very CONSERVATIVE view of
> development; one that is based on a model of cognitive development not far
> from cultural reproduction, and cultural reproduction curiously close to
> biological reproduction, a mysterious process that adults do and children
> undergo. When you transpose that picture to the "development" of Central
> Asia, it's not pretty. But for that very reason, I don't think that's what
> LSV or ARL could have had in mind.
> And here I must confess an interest. I currently have two young Uzbek
> students, the sort of young people whose enculturation Luria might have been
> looking forward to (one Muslim and one of Korean heritage). I am finding
> them both kaleidoscopically enculturated, given to surprising juxtapositions
> of language and ideas at almost every turn of a conversation, and I wouldn't
> exactly characterize any of them as "Western".
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
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Received on Sat Apr 12 10:25 PDT 2008

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