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Re: [xmca] Re: xmca Digest, Vol 45, Issue 47

Dear Professor Veresov:
Let me begin by saying how much we enjoy your work here in Korea. Our group has been discussing your 2005 "Outlines" article "Marxist and non-Marxist aspects of the cultural historical psychology of L.S. Vygotsky" since we read it last year, and I found your 2006 article "Leading activity in developmental psychology" very useful in figuring out why I don't accept the whole construct of "leading activity".
I think that BOTH works are really quite central to the periodization problem under discussion, but I also think that BOTH works refer mainly and centrally (and thus for me somewhat misleadingly) to a period of Vygotsky's oeuvre that is quite different from the one I have in mind. 
The 2005 article places a good deal of stress on early Vygotsky, a Vygotsky who is almost non-Vygotskyan, or at least non-psychological, Vygotsky in his early twenties, a student of the humanities with a very strong sense that nothing human is alien to them. 
The 2006 article in contrast seems to me to place a great deal of stress on the post-Vygotsky period, and I was very surprised and pleased to read that the work on "leading activity" is really not as far as I had thought from the fragments LSV left behind in his unfinished "Child Development".
Elkonin, at any rate, seems to have been fully aware that the "leading activity" is in no way typical or characteristic of a particular period (though Leontiev and lately Karpov have said exactly the opposite). The problem remains that I do not see any place for the crisis in this work, and there is no question but that MY Vygotsky, LATE Vygotsky, the Vygotsky of Thinking and Speech gives the crisis an absolutely central (one might even say a critical) role.
Of course, when I said that word meaning is a unit of analysis for human consciousness I am not simply repeating what others have said (e.g. Werstch 1985). On the contrary, I mean what for me is the most mature and therefore in some ways least characteristic moment of Vygotsky's own work; I might even call it the "leading activity" of his thinking.
I meant, especially, the very last three paragraphs of Thinking and Speech. I have always found this to be a little like the last page of "Origin of Species", rather more than a conclusion, but a whole revolutionary program, complete with a clarion call in the very last six words:
Осмысленное слово есть микрокосм человеческого сознания.
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education.

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