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RE: [xmca] RE: CHAT/SCT - A voice from the past
- To: "'Jorge Fernando Larreamendy Joerns'" <email@example.com>, "'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: RE: [xmca] RE: CHAT/SCT - A voice from the past
- From: "Eugene Matusov" <email@example.com>
- Date: Thu, 25 Nov 2010 18:21:53 -0500
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jorge Fernando Larreamendy Joerns
> Sent: Thursday, November 25, 2010 4:39 PM
> To: ematusov@UDel.Edu; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] RE: CHAT/SCT - A voice from the past
> Do you see any other similarities between Vygotskian approaches and
> behaviorist ones besides being functionalists? I wonder.
Good question. Currently, I'm kind of fixating a bit on functionalism and I
see all "other" differences as related to functionalism, like:
a) focus on observable "external" behavior, actions, movements, mediations,
tools, constrains, schedules, and so on by people;
b) distrust to "spiritualism" and "metaphysics" and "retrospections";
c) focus on changing reality rather than just studying it;
d) "formative experiment", "double stimulation";
e) distrust to nativism and prioritization of nurture versus nature;
f) interest in history of processes;
g) what else? I probably missed a lot other important aspects...
and, of course, distrust to structuralism....
What do you think?
> Jorge Larreamendy-Joerns, Ph.D.
> Profesor Asociado y Director
> Departamento de Psicología
> Universidad de los Andes
> On Nov 25, 2010, at 2:38 PM, Eugene Matusov 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
> > 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
> > 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
> > 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: email@example.com
> > 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/>
> > 893>
> > Description: Journey into dialogic pedagogy Matusov, E. (2009).
> > Journey into dialogic pedagogy
> 8893> .
> > Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
> > ---------------------
> > From: mike cole [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> > 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,
> > 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
> > __________________________________________
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