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

In response to Mike on behalf of Nicolai:

The source of the idea that Vygotsky stated that word meaning was "the unit
of analysis" is underlined in my copy of Kozulin's 1986 English translation
of Thought and Language. I can't give the page because I am out of the
office today. Note that my quote doesn't continue through "of human
consciousness"--that maybe inferential on the part of the reader. I do know
that there are other passages however. In one paper I noted this: In
referring to "word meaning" as the unit of analysis Vygotsky (1986) writes,
"It demonstrates the existence of a dynamic system of meaning in which the
affective and intellectual unite". Of course, I do not have the page number!
What was I thinking?! I think this discussion is an example of that, if not
anything else.

Monica R. Hansen

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
Behalf Of Mike Cole
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 5:44 PM
To: vaughndogblack@yahoo.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: xmca Digest, Vol 45, Issue 47

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? Could

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 water,
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 of
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

> 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 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.
> 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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