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

I've always been bothered by word meaning as the basic unit. It is more "cognitive" than I think was intended. Broadening the concept to discourse a la wertsch/bakhtin opens the ideas to inter to intra and to dialogic space, adressivity, audience, external/internal speech and seems to link to many more Vygotskian concepts than does word meaning alone.

On Feb 18, 2009, at 2:47 AM, ulvi icil <ulvi.icil@gmail.com> wrote:


Is it possible to reach this article "Marxist and non-Marxist aspects of the
cultural historical psychology of L.S. Vygotsky" via email please?

Thank you.


On 18/02/2009, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

Perhaps I could risk throwing in my thoughts Mike, because David and I have
discussed this in the past too.

My understanding has been that LSV brought forward the concept of word meaning as a foundation for solving the problem of intelligent speech. I am not sure how wide that territory was for Vygotsky; self-evidently I think it is wider that simply "intelligent speech", but there are two reasons I would not go so far as to say that it was meant as a "unit of analysis of human

(1) Words are probably the most important of artefacts, but they are just one kind of artefact. My work with "teaching spaces" when I first started to use Vygotsky was to do with how building forms succeeded in transmitting
theories of learning to future generations, despite books and papers
claiming the opposite of what was set in concrete.

(2) Apart from artefacts, is also activity. Doubtbless activity is implicit in meaning in some way, but it is unclear to me. I think it is a mistake to make the foundation of consciousness just words, rather than practice.


Mike Cole wrote:

Without the time (or skill to switch to cyrrilic!) I have been thinking
about Kolya's questions, ,David.

For those who forget in the stream of xcma chatting, Nikolai asks:
where Vygotsky posits word meaning as
unit of analysis of human consciousness?
In which text and on what page? From what Vygotsky's work it is taken?

I ask you to make a quotation from Vygotsky?
Thank you in advance

I was thinking how nice it would be to know how to search the vygotsky
corpus online in Russian, which I do not know how to do.

And remembering fragments of why I thought David's comments resonated
with my own intuitions, formed in part, by LSV.

such as (no quotations or page numbers, just failing memory here):

meaning is the most stable form of sense-- every totally stable? really?
word meaning changes in development
the closing of *Speech and Thought *that David points to, the drop of
being in my eye.
The citation of the fragment from Doestoevsky where a bunch of guys are
around saying, it seems, the word "product of defecation" (oh poo!) and
every one
is using the same word and every one is both saying the same thing and
saying something different.

Don't all of these and many other examples (Paula, are the Sakharov -LSV blocks of any help here?) point to the general conclusion that David was

Might our Russian friends join Nikolai and help us to understand the core
the issue
David raised? Is he incorrect? Can you search the corpus and help us to
if we are misleading each other?

On Tue, Feb 17, 2009 at 5:26 PM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com

Dear Professor Veresov:

Let me begin by saying how much we enjoy your work here in Korea. Our
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
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
centrally (and thus for me somewhat misleadingly) to a period of
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
who is almost non-Vygotskyan, or at least non-psychological, Vygotsky in
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
the post-Vygotsky period, and I was very surprised and pleased to read
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,
there is no question but that MY Vygotsky, LATE Vygotsky, the Vygotsky of Thinking and Speech gives the crisis an absolutely central (one might
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.
1985). On the contrary, I mean what for me is the most mature and
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
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
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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