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Re: [xmca] RE: CHAT/SCT - A voice from the past

All excellent questions. I wonder what others think. I have already had a
long turn!
Besides it will take me a while to come up with as many questions to ask
Eugene as he has asked
of me, answering questions with questions being a long and honorable shared

Lisa, more briefly in answer to your questions about how things looked like
to me in 1992 (thanks Eugene, I find keeping track of the last century
difficult, even its latter half): Answers intersperse in BRIEF caps.

On Thu, Nov 25, 2010 at 12:05 PM, Lisa Yamagata-Lynch <lisayl@niu.edu>wrote:

> Eugene,
> You have articulated several issues I have been wondering and not had been
> able to put them to words yet myself. My main questions to everyone are:
> 1. Is there a problem that there are differences between CHAT and SCT?
No! Is there a problem that I am different from my brother?

> 2. Is one believed to be more legitimate than the other?


> If yes who for what reasons? n/a
> 3. Do the two views need to come to an agreement to engage in more
> collaborative scholarly exchange, if so why?
YES because they provide complimentary tools for analysing a reality that
overwhelms and defies understanding that is of common concern.

my two kopeks.

> Seems to me like CHAT and SCT developed in very isolated locations with
> similar core ideas, but among very different people, culture, and history.
> It is understandable that there would be differences. Is our current
> question asking whether we can embrace those similarities and differences?
> --
> Lisa C. Yamagata-Lynch
> Associate Professor
> ETRA Department IT Program Coordinator
> http://www.niu.edu/~lynch/ <http://www.niu.edu/%7Elynch/>
> On Thu, Nov 25, 2010 at 1:38 PM, Eugene Matusov <ematusov@udel.edu> wrote:
>> Dear Mike and everybody-
>> Here is my two cents on this interesting topic besides minor correction
>> that
>> the Sociocultural conference in Madrid was I think in 1992, not in 1994 (I
>> think):
>> 1)      You seem suggest that the differences between CHAT and SCT as they
>> have emerged in the "West" (i.e., outside of former Soviet Union) have
>> been
>> historically rooted in the Soviet debates. Am I right in understanding of
>> your point? If so, I'm not sure that it is true or fully true. I want to
>> hear more from you about your reasoning connecting these two debates.
>> 2)      I think in your original message, you were alluding that, at
>> least,
>> in part the disagreements among the Soviet scholars were caused by their
>> political squabbles within the "Stalinist science" (the term that was
>> coined
>> by Krementsov, I think) or in the "post-Stalinist science". In any case,
>> what makes you think that way? Also, do you think that there was any
>> "substance" in these debates or not? For example, you wrote, "At the same
>> time, they criticized Leont'ev for placing too much emphasis on activity
>> as
>> external conditions, likening him to a behaviorist (Abulkhanova-Slavskaya,
>> 1980)." It can be a fluke, but I have noticed that some former
>> behaviorists
>> became Vygotskians. Mike, can you, yourself, be an example of this
>> pattern?
>> If my observation is correct, it can suggest some interesting affinity
>> between behaviorism and Vygotskian family of approaches (e.g., both are
>> functional approaches).
>> 3)      I have noticed, and I can be wrong, that you want to diminish
>> differences in Vygotskian family of approaches rather than explore
>> possible
>> differences and differentiations among them. For me, even this posting
>> goes
>> along with this tendency. Am I right about that? If so, can you elaborate
>> on
>> that? Basically, I want to ask you if you PREFER that there are no
>> differences rather than you do simply do not see any differences but would
>> be EQUALLY HAPPY if the differences really exist.
>> What do you think?
>> Eugene
>> ---------------------
>> Eugene Matusov, Ph.D.
>> Professor of Education
>> School of Education
>> University of Delaware
>> 16 W Main st.
>> Newark, DE 19716, USA
>> email: ematusov@udel.edu
>> fax: 1-(302)-831-4110
>> website: http://ematusov.soe.udel.edu <http://ematusov.soe.udel.edu/>
>> publications: http://ematusov.soe.udel.edu/vita/publications.htm
>> Dialogic Pedagogy Forum: http://diaped.soe.udel.edu
>> <http://diaped.soe.udel.edu/>
>>  <
>> https://www.novapublishers.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=8893>
>> Description: Journey into dialogic pedagogy Matusov, E. (2009). Journey
>> into
>> dialogic pedagogy
>> <https://www.novapublishers.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=8893>
>> .
>> Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
>> ---------------------
>> From: mike cole [mailto:lchcmike@gmail.com]
>> Sent: Wednesday, November 24, 2010 2:37 PM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity
>> Cc: Luis Moll; Eugene Matusov
>> Subject: CHAT/SCT - A voice from the past
>> I know some people who care a lot to distinguish CHAT and SCT. I wonder if
>> there is any consensus on what the critical differences
>> are between them. Here is what I wrote at the Sociocultural Conference in
>> Madrid about 1994 where Jim Wertsch, who edited the 1981
>> book on Soviet activity theory,  as a major player and lead editor on the
>> subsequent volume - socicultural theories of mind.
>> More than 15 years have passed since this was written. I may have been
>> dead
>> wrong then and making the same argument now
>> may seem really mistaken. You will see traces of this same discussion in
>> various messages being posted around the P&L article.
>> How should I proceed to find out?? Where are all the L2 people here to
>> help
>> us out here? Other than publishers in applied linguistics preferring SCT,
>> what's in those names that makes people get irritated with each other? Who
>> are the bad people? What are the
>> special virtues of the good people?
>> mike
>> ------------------------------
>> For the past several years I have been striving, with rather limited
>> success, to understand the intellectual issues that divide the Vygotskian
>> and activity theory approaches, as well as the division between activity
>> theorists who follow Leont'ev and those who follow Rubinshtein. This task
>> is
>> complicated because, insofar as I can understand, contemporary followers
>> of
>> Leont'ev continue to adhere to the major principles articulated by
>> Vygotsky,
>> Luria, and Leont'ev in the 1920s and early 1930s, arguing in effect that
>> Vygotsky was an activity theorist, although he focused less on issues of
>> the
>> object-oriented nature of activity than on processes of mediation in his
>> own
>> work (Engestrorn, 1987; Hyden, 1984). Followers ofRubinshtein, on the
>> other
>> hand, deny that Vygotsky was an activity theorist and tax him with
>> "signocentricisrn," which in the overheated debates of the last decade of
>> Soviet power seemed to
>> be roughly equivalent to "idealist," a sin at that time (Brushlinsky,
>> 1968).
>> At the same time, they criticized Leont'ev for placing too much emphasis
>> on
>> activity as external conditions, likening him to a behaviorist
>> (Abulkhanova-Slavskaya, 1980).
>> I do not want to minimize the possible scientific benefits to be derived
>> from attempting to understand these disagreements more thoroughly,
>> although
>> I am not certain how productive such attempts will
>> be for non-Russian psychologists. From existing historiographical
>> evidence,
>> debates among Russian adherents of these various positions appear to have
>> been tightly bound up with the wrenching political
>> upheavals that racked the Soviet Union repeatedly between 1917 and 1991
>> (and
>> which arc by no means over) (Van der Veer & Valsiner, 1991). What I am
>> almost positive of, however, is that it would not be
>> productive for adherents of the various positions to carry those battles
>> into the international sphere except insofar as they have international
>> intellectual merit.
>> What most concerns me is that for whatever combination of reasons, there
>> has
>> not yet been close cooperation on an international scale among
>> psychologists
>> who work under the banner of activity theory and those who use some
>> version
>> of the concept of sociocultural psychology as
>> their conceptual icon. At the first Activity Theory Congress in Berlin in
>> 1986, there was only one major address that took the work of Vygotsky and
>> Luria to be coequally relevant to the proceedings with that
>> of Leont'ev, and individual talks that proceeded from a more or less
>> Vygotskian perspective were relatively rare. At the second Activity Theory
>> Congress in 1990, there was a far richer mix of viewpoints, but many of
>> the
>> people prominent in organizing the current meeting in Madrid were
>> preoccupied with preparatory work for the current meeting and did not
>> contribute.
>> It would be most unfortunate if adherents of the various streams of
>> psychological thinking whose history I have sketched were to continue
>> their
>> work in isolation from each other. The common intellectual issues facing
>> different streams of cultural-historical, sociocultural, activity based
>> conceptions of human nature are too difficult to yield to piecemeal
>> efforts.
>> It is time for those who have come to questions about the
>> socio-cultural-historical constitution of human nature to join in a
>> cooperative search for their common past and to initiate cooperative
>> efforts
>> to address the difficult intellectual issues and staggering national and
>> international problems facing humanity in the post-Cold War era.
>> __________________________________________
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