[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

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

Hi, Eugene, and others of the CHAT, SCAT, and CAT in the HAT persuasions! :-)

I think that Eugene is onto something when he emphasizes who was trying to distinguish themselves from whom in various questions of naming, and to a lesser extent actual content of theories in the socio-cultural-historical families and traditions.

It would be my guess that some people taking an overview of the L2 research (journal editors?) field prefer "SCT" to "CHAT" and other specific flavours because they see the most important division as that between socio-cultural approaches in general vs. individualist-mentalist approaches (sc. Chomskyan universalist innate language acquisition brain machine models). Relative to that divide, the distance between any two flavours of SCT is tiny and nit-picking (for them).

To us, who are blissfully free of the need to take any purely innatist-individualist-universalist theories seriously, all that is Left to matter are the enormous differences (for us) between this flavour of SCT and that one. Some of us (not me) also take philosophical differences to be really important and maybe even more important than theoretical ones (though not, I hope, than practical ones!), but I don't think this troubles the sleep of too many people in L2 research (with a few notable exceptions, and I am perhaps thinking too much about Americans and other English-native researchers and too little about Europeans, especially French, not to mention the rest of the world out there, which is probably getting pretty tired of our endocentrism by now).

What I find productive is to ask, as Mike recently did, is just in which ways that matter does a Deweyan approach differ from a Vygotskyan one? or from Mead, or Peirce, or a lot of other people we do in fact ventriloquate here on xmca. 


Jay Lemke
Research Scientist
Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition
University of California - San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California 92093-0506

Adjunct Professor
School of Education
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Professor Emeritus
City University of New York

On Nov 25, 2010, at 11:38 AM, 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 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.
> __________________________________________
> _____
> xmca mailing list
> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca

xmca mailing list