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Re: [xmca] Leading activity as distinct within stages


I have been trying to figure out what Mead's ideas about culture. Your
very concise summary of the neo-median perspective brings this question
over threshold again.

One way to ask my question is to ask: "What is the medium within which, and
through which social relations and positionality are organized?"


On Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 6:00 PM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Natalia and others
> The specific ways we construct various notions of "context" or social
> situations of development privilege different relational patterns of
> interactivity. Neo-Meadian accounts emphasize ACTUAL relational patterns
> that potentially are capable of interchangeability.  Whether  the social
> positions of the actors ACTUALLY change is a central variable for Meadian
> accounts.Gillespie and Cornish in an article "What Can be Said? Identity as
> a Constraint on Knowledge" [on Gillespie's website at [
> www.psych.lse.ac.uk/psr/]
> Alex Gillespie and Flora Cornish both were students of Gerard Duveen whose
> work elaborated the formation of personal identity within a social
> representational framework.  Social representations are produced through
> social interactions which Duveen theorized are CONSTRAINED by the identity
> RELATIONS BETWEEN the participants in an interaction.  Knowledge and
> concept
> development are fundamentally influenced and constrained by the
> particular organization of identity positions within the social situation.
> Specific sociogenetic identity relations mediate knowledge construction and
> lead to the value question
> What kinds of social relations might facilitate and constitute
> transformative dialogical engagement?  And in contrast what kinds of social
> situations constrain identity [and knowledge generation]? Gillespie and
> Cornish suggest hierarchical identity positions may CONSTRAIN what can be
> said [and heard] Hierarchical social positions may also lead to
> self-silencing and dismissing of the other in  hierarchically structured
> social situations.
> Gerard Duveen emphasized that identity is as much about being socially
> IDENTIFIED as it is about making identifications. Identity becomes a
> CONSTRAINT on what can be said and accepted As Duveen stated
> "We can then consider identity as an asymmetry in a relationship that
> CONSTRAINS what can be communicated through it - both in the sense of what
> it becomes possible to communicate and in the sense of what becomes
> incommunicable (and potentially a point of resistance), or communicable
> only
> on condition of a reworking of that identity" [quoted in Gillespie and
> Cornish p.5.4] For Duveen, to change one's beliefs or actions is also to
> change one's identity.  To capitulate visibly to the influence of another
> undermines one's current identity and positions oneself as being
> "corrected"
> by the other.
> Gillespie has attempted to make links between  Duveen's notion of
> relationally constructed identity formation within sociogenetic situations
> with neo-Meadian ideas about perspective taking. Meadian approaches "in
> contrast to cognitive approaches to perspective taking" argue "that
> movement
> BETWEEN social positions is an important social and interactional PRECURSOR
> to perspective-taking".  It is this actual position exchange in an
> interactional sense which provides the social basis for intersubjectivity.
>  This Meadian approach questions the "mind-reading" interpretation of
> perspective-taking.
> Gillespie [in press] ran a series of experiments to test whether exchanging
> social positions within a joint task improves intersubjective coordination.
> The joint task involves "director" and "follower" positions. The director,
> using a map, must guide the follower, who has a blank map.  The experiment
> has 2 conditions. In the control condition the positions of director and
> follower remain the same for all 5 trials.  In the intervention condition
> social positions are exchanged after each trial. The question was
> Would those dyads exchanging social positions be better able to COORDINATE
> THEIR PERSPECTIVES to resolve a conflict situation. In the experiment only
> 1/20 dyads in the control situation solved the conflict while 17/20 dyads
> who exchanged positions solved the task.  Gillespie suggests this supports
> the notion for a social basis for perspective taking [not mind reading]
> In the exchange condition the participants LISTEN TO EACH OTHER and accept
> what the other is saying. In the control condition participants were not
> listening to each other and DISMISSED what each other was saying. Gillespie
> believes in the control condition the participants were drawing upon social
> representations of a "leader/subordinate relationship" Understanding these
> relational identities is crucial to understanding how the participants
> engaged with acuiring knowledge of mapping.
> In the exchange condition there is a relational pattern of ENGAGEMENT. Each
> participant attempts to understand the perspective of the other person
> I believe this approach to perspective taking has promise for changing
> relational patterns among students in classrooms.
> What do others think?
> Larry
> On Sun, Aug 1, 2010 at 9:34 AM, Natalia Gajdamaschko <nataliag@sfu.ca
> >wrote:
> > Hi Larry and Dear All,
> > Larry, I think it is important to remember that hiding behind the scene
> is
> > a notion of "ideality" that could make this discussion tricky for some.
> > Because dialectical materilist understanding of the specific nature of
> the
> > social human relationship to the world is ... well, different.
> >
> > Look, for example, at the Marx quote that I've stolen this morning from
> > Il'enkov:
> > "The animal is immediately one with its life activity.  It does not
> > distinguish itself from it. IT is its life activity. Man makes his life
> > activity itself the object of his will and his consciousness".  This mean
> > that when we discuss the activity of a child, it is activity directly
> also
> > towards her own forms of life activity, towards himself.  This is why I
> > think Vygotsky stressed child, confronted not only with tangible external
> > world but also with the world of culture,  "arms-and-rearms" herself with
> > different cultural tools available in different social situation of
> > development. And those tools could sometimes bear no relationship to
> > biological development because they are directed towards mastering
> > "ideality" of culture through activity. And, yes, will and consciousness
> > thus are very specifically human in its essence.
> >
> > Now, do you know how "ideality" is interpreted in other traditions you
> try
> > to compare/contrast in this thread?  Because if we read the same text
> with,
> > say, Platonic notion of ideality in mind, it make take us into different
> > direction.
> > Cheers,
> > Natalia.
> > P.S. By the way "Nataliya" or "Natalia" question of yours -- eigther is
> > fine.
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Larry Purss" <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
> > To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> > Sent: Sunday, 1 August, 2010 05:49:40 GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
> > Subject: [xmca] Leading activity as distinct within stages
> >
> > In previous posts Vygotsky's concept of "leading activity" was discussed
> as
> > suggesting possible "regular" age related "stages" that predictably
> > manifest
> > characteristic modes of thought. Mike and Nataliya's article "Vygotsky
> and
> > Context: Toward a Resolution of Theoretical Disputes" in Martin &
> > Kirshner's
> > edited book explores further the relevance of the idea of leading
> activity
> > in the section of their article labelled "Synchronic Variation
> > Reconsidered" (p.271)  As they point out Vygotsky's notion of  "Leading
> > activity" in relation to stage models of development may have the
> potential
> > to:
> >
> > "bridge between Russian cultural-historical developmental theory and
> > approaches placing heavy emphasis on synchronic variability that derive
> > from
> > non-Russian developmentalists sympathetic to Vygotsky's ideas.  However,
> as
> > currently formulated, the Russian proposal, in the same spirit as the
> > notion
> > of 'social situation of development' tends to ASSUME that there is an
> > INVARIANT SEQUENCE of leading activities and that only a SINGLE kind of
> > activity can play a leading role in ORGANIZING cognitive performance at a
> > given time." (p.272) [emphasis added]
> >
> > If leading activities are viewed as proceeding in an invariant sequence
> and
> > only a single kind of activity DOMINATES at each "stage" then this
> > "perspective" will influence and constrain what is "seen" as the dominant
> > form of activity required for further development at each stage and
> > regulate
> > the types of institutional structures assumed neccessary at each stage of
> > the child's development.
> >
> > Mike & Nataliya contrast this focus on invariant sequences of leading
> > activities with the "narrower interpretation of the 'social situation of
> > development' in the American literature". (p.269)  American researchers
> > tend
> > to focus on the small variables of  local activity" [microgenesis] as
> > contributing crucially to the manifestation of various CAPACITIES.
>  Recent
> > American research recognizes that development becomes more COMPLEXLY
> > MEDIATED and results in HIGHER levels of achievement as children grow
> older
> > but American research also suggegst the level of cognitive development is
> > not INVARIANT and the local context is crucial to the manifestation of
> > various capacities. This approach suggests that multiple perspectives
> > [orientations] can co-exist within a single "stage" of development and
> > challenges the notion of INVARIANT stages with a more "layered" model of
> > development. This alternative model of leading activities focuses on the
> > possible heterogeneity of "leading" activities in particular local social
> > situations of development.  As Mike and Nataliya point out the possible
> > heterogeneity of leading activities suggests,
> >
> > "the possibility that multiple forms of activity (and modes of
> conception)
> > can COEXIST in the same persons in the course of time spans too brief to
> be
> > considered as candidates for general changes in STAGES of development.
> > (p.272)
> >
> > This last quote suggests, using neo-Meadian language, that "multiple
> > perspectives" can co-exist in the same persons in the course of time
> spans
> > too brief to be considered as candidates for general changes in stages of
> > development.
> >
> >  The concept of GENERAL CHANGES [which lead to changes in manifestation
> of
> > CAPACITIES] as developing within multiple heterogenetic "forms of
> activity"
> > [Vygotsky] or "SOCIAL ACTS" [Mead] which "lead development" seems to have
> > many parallel ideas. The American re-visioning of Russian
> > cultural-historical"stage theory" to embrace a notion of development as
> > "layered" may find support in the neo-Meadian engagement with reflection
> as
> > the capacity to coordinate multiple perspectives [orientations to life
> > worlds]
> >
> > I will end with a quotation from  Vygotsky which Mike and Nataliya quote
> in
> > their article.
> >
> > "The various genetic forms co-exist, just as STRATA representing
> different
> > geological epochs coexist in the earth's crust. This is more the RULE
> than
> > the exception for the development of behaviour generally. Human behaviour
> > is
> > not consistently characterized by a single higher level of development.
> > Forms of behaviour that emerge very recently in human history dwell
> > alongside the most ancient"
> >
> > If the various genetic forms co-exist, our models of development need to
> > reflect the VALUE JUDGEMENTS we envision in this co-existence.  The terms
> > "higher" and "lower" may reflect a particular bias that privileges
> > "theoretical scientific" forms as higher than affiliative forms of
> leading
> > activities that are "lower".  The term "distanciation" as indicating more
> > or
> > less complexity in coordinating heterogenetic "perspectives" may support
> > notions of genetic co-existence that recognize affiliation, not as a
> > "lower"
> > but rather as a more concrete experience within social ACTS or social
> > situations of development.
> >
> > Larry
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