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Re: [xmca] Hedegaard article
On Mariane Hedegaard's exceptionally exciting, intriguing, and PROVOKING article: I have a little question (almost copy editing!) first:
p. 65. In the summary of Bronfenbrenner's categories, there is one "system" conspicuously missing: the exosystem, that is, the set of social relations which impinge on the child's life, and can even be the most important, determining relations in it, which exclude the child's participation. One of these, for example, is what Mom and Dad do for a living.
Then I have an instance of where it seems to me that the author treating something that may be microgenetic as if it were ontogenetic, followed by a GENERAL impression that the author may be treating as microgenetic something that is really ontogenetic.
Here's the first instance, where it seems that the author may be OVERPLAYING a "problem" into a "crisis". Jens runs wild in Kindergarten.
p. 67. LSV writes that the "Crisis at Three" is a crisis of NEGATION. The child has learnt the power (but not yet the actual functional use) of the word "no" and seeks to appropriate that word before he/she really has a volition of his/her own to make use of it.
On the one hand, Jens is PAST the "Crisis at Three", that is, the "Crisis of Negation". On the other, Jens has not yet arrived at the "Crisis at Seven", which is the crisis in which children form a sense of role, a sense of self.
One way to interpret Jens' response to the baby whale (which is rather hard to interpret otherwise) is that Jens is simply IMITATING (without fully understanding) the comment "This is not such a successful choice for a storybook".
Another way to interpret Jens' response is that of the author, which appears to assume that Jens has a clear sense of what the role of schoolchild is and how it is constituted. But this is somewhat contradicted by the references to "Daddy" and also the running around.
Now, here is the second problem, where it seems to me the author may be UNDERPLAYING LSV's crisis into a mere set of "troubles" or "problems".
p. 72, "Children's development is marked by crises, which are created when change occurs in the child's social situation via biological changes, changes in everyday life activities, and relations to other persons, or changes in material conditions."
This seems close to Rubinshtein's position, which Leontiev criticizes as banal in Activity, Consciousness, and Personality, p. 42:
"Rubinshtein expressed this in the formula 'External causes act through internal conditions.'Of course this formula is indisputable. If, however, we include the subjects' states evoked by an influence as one of the internal conditions, this formula adds nothing new to the SàR scheme. After all, by changing their state, we can see that even inanimate objects are influenced differently by various objects: footprints will be clearly imprinted in soft, wet ground but not in dry, parched ground."
But it's rather far away from what LSV writes on pp. 295-296 of Volume Five:
"When the child moves from nursery school to kindergarten, it does not surprise us that the preschooler changs, and here the changes of the child are connected with the changes that occur in the conditions of his (sic) development. But essential to every crisis is the fact that the internal changes occur in a much greater dimension than the changes in external circumstances, and for this reason they always cause impressions of an internal crisis. It is my impression that the crises actually have an internal source and consist of changes of an internal nature. There is no precise correspondence here between external and internal changes. The child enters the crisis. What has changed so abruptly outwardly? Nothing!"
LSV goes on to DEFEND "bourgeois theories of the critical age levels" against the supposedly "Marxist" critics (e.g. Zalkind). He adds that if the bourgeois critics mean that it is all in the glands, or that it is all biological, then of course "I would not call the critical ages the ages of internal development." But he adds this:
"I think that internal development always occurs in such a way that there is a unity of personality and environmental factors, that is, every new step in development is directly determined by the preceding stage. True, this means that development must be understood as a process where all subsequent change is connected with what went before and with the present in which the features of personality that have developed previously are now manifested and now act.If we understand the nature of the internal process of development correctly, than there will be no theoretical objections to understanding the crisis as an internal crisis."
In Hedegaard's article, "the crisis" seems more microgenetic than ontogenetic. Is it really the same crisis that Vygotsky is writing about here?
Seoul National University of Education
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