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Re: [xmca] What is "structural change in the psyche"?

I look forward to following this thread, although I won't have time to participate.

I might be able to offer a suggestion at the outset, however: I think it could be helpful to try avoiding reference to "signs" that could be understood to take signs as _things_. Signs themselves are relations in which mediating elements are mediating active relations among elements other then themselve. This mediated/ive activity becomes more regular (habituated) in more developed signs over time. These are matters of structured patterns of activity, which do change over time.

It's the "in the psyche" part that I don't think I quite get.

On Thu, 20 Jan 2011, Gregory Allan Thompson wrote:

Hi Andy,
I was just wondering whether you might be willing to say more what is meant by "a structural change in the psyche" in your post. This seems a rather idealist (vs. materialist) notion. Is that how you mean it?

In trying to reformulate it in less idealistic terms, I came up with: "a structural change in one's understanding of the relationships between signs, and in the relationship of those signs to oneself". But I don't know that this gets us out of idealism and the attendant dualism.

Relatedly, you had once posted a question about the difference between the "dollar in your head" and the "dollar in your pocket". I assume that this is a similar question/problematic.

Maybe if we spoke of "habits and practices that involve the relationships between signs and their relations to us", maybe that gets closer to a non-dualistic way of talking about these things?

Any suggestions?

Message: 4
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2011 15:33:51 +1100
From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Leading activities and central lines of
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Message-ID: <4D37BB2F.9000709@mira.net>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

Larry, I am not familiar with Mike and Natalia's paper, and they
obviously will speak for themselves. But I think that the central or
leading activity, and certainly a central or leading *motive* is not the
same thing as "central line of development," which refers to that
activity which promotes development towards a structural change in the
psyche of the developing person. This may or may not be present in any
given situation, for a child playing a game or a grad student participating.


Larry Purss wrote:
Help with a question
Recently Andy asked a question about clarification of the concept of
"central lines of development.
I  have been reading the article by Mike Cole and Natalia Gajdamaschko and
there is a section with the heading
"Heterogeneity of 'Leading' Activity in the Course of a Single Game Episode"

Tmike and Natalia suggest there were several "leading" activities
POTENTIALLY present, each associated with differentage periods.  Leading
activities such as:
- need to be loved and accepted
- play
- learning
- peer interaction
- work

My question is if these leading activities may not be age specific.  Each of
us may be centrally motivated by a particular leading activity which
fluctuates from moment to moment in activity.  In the example in the article
an undergraduate, Jill Silverstein, was writing field notes of the fifth
dimension activity.  Mike and Natalia when interpreting the fieldnotes
suggest Jill initially had a central motive of affiliation while play was
the leading activity for the children.  There was a confusion about the
rules of the game and the adult entered into the game and learning at that
moment became a central motive.

There were many  transitions in motives during the game  and Mike and
Natalia summed up this section by stating,

"As this example makes clear, not only are the girls able to be a "head
taller" but a "head shorter" in the course of a single stretch of a joint
game play mediated by the computer game and each other" [p.275]

This statement points to notions of volition [agency] which are fluid and
interchangeable when contained within supportive contexts [interweaving]

How does this observation fit with the notion of a CENTRAL line of
development? Is it possible that there is more heterogeneity in the lines of
development than implied in the concept "central"?  Could the concept of
central lines of development be describing historical forms of
development which develop in particular settings when 5 year olds enter
school environments?

I may still be confused and misinterpreting Mike and Natalia's position but
I am trying to understand if some of the more basic leading activities [such
as affiliation] remain central WHEN THREATENED but become implicit and taken
for granted when the person is secure and contained.  If there is some merit
to this position then issues of security and attachment needs may recede
into the background and other leading activities come to the foreground when
basic attachment needs are met.  However when there is a perceived threat
to  basic security needs then earlier leading activities or motives also
return at any age.

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Tony Whitson
UD School of Education
NEWARK  DE  19716


"those who fail to reread
 are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                  -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)
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