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Re: [xmca] catharsis and category
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- Subject: Re: [xmca] catharsis and category
- From: mike cole <email@example.com>
- Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2011 09:40:24 -0700
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Yrjo Engestrom has an article in our newletter files from the 1980's in
which he discusses Stanislavski and Vygotsky, I believe. It should be
obtainable using google at lchc.ucsd.edu.
On Fri, Jun 17, 2011 at 12:19 AM, Andy Blunden <email@example.com> wrote:
> Sorry Robert, in the midst of everything I missed this message.
> Short answer is that I don't know (and my partner, Vonney always says that
> I should shut up at that point), but Stanislavsky, Eisenstein and company
> were, I understand, friends of Vygotsky's from his student days, but others
> will have to speak on that topic. I am definitively *not *a historian. In
> any case, I am seeing if I can strike up a conversation with an expert on
> that period of Russian drama, who is outside of psychology, to get to the
> bottom of it all.
> Robert Lake wrote:
>> I appreciate your trace of the history of this word and wonder if
>> "category" in the theatrical sense might also be connected to LSV, and
>> Stanislavsky's notion of genre ?
>> /Robert L.
>> On Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 10:51 AM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:
>> email@example.com>> wrote:
>> I should report on the outcome of my investigations of this
>> question. Nikolai Veresov and I have met and agreed only that we
>> cannot agree, so, so far as I know he retains his position, but I
>> will leave it Nikolai to say what that is. I cannot speak for him.
>> However, I have verified that the word /kategoria/, was translated
>> from Greek via Latin into English as "predicament" and from 1580,
>> meant "predicament" in the sense of a "problematic situation" and
>> whatismore "kategoria" is used to this day in Rhetoric and in a
>> broadly similar sense, but only in highly specialist discourses.
>> Not "category," just "kategoria." There is some evidence also that
>> kategoria is used in the theory of theatre in a similar sense to
>> this day. So, I have to give some plausibility to the claim that
>> the word had such a sense in Vygotsky's circle of theatrical
>> friends in Moscow before he went into psychology, but I cannot
>> document it from that time. "Predicement" remains the technical
>> word in theatre for the situation from which a plot develops, the
>> source of the basic tension which drives the story. I have long
>> been of the view, on the basis of reading Volume 5 of the LSV CW,
>> that the "social situation of development" can be characterised in
>> Vygotsky's view, as a "predicament." But I made the connection
>> with a Marxist view of history, not the theory of theatre.
>> On Catharsis, I have found the source of this concept in Freud and
>> an article by Freud is attached. It is called "working through" in
>> this article. Interesting. It makes sense.
>> Thank you Anton, and Huw for your insights,
>> Andy Blunden wrote:
>> Thank you Huw. Very encrouaging. "Resolution" seems to capture
>> a lot of it.
>> I have consulted the OED On-line for "*category*" and found
>> nothing surprising about its meaning, as used by Aristotle and
>> Kant and in mathematics, more or less meaning "class" but
>> extendable to abstract concepts. But what OED did tell me,
>> which adds yet another intriguing thread to the puzzle, is
>> that its Latin roots mean "predicament," and in olden days,
>> "category" used to be translated as "predicament."
>> Now "predicament" here is related to "predicate" as in subject
>> and predicate, a key metaphysical distinction for Aristotle
>> and dialectics generally, but it forces me to reflect on the
>> relation of "predicament" - and therefore "category" - to
>> "situation", as in "social situation of development," which I
>> have always said, based on how Vygotsky uses the term, should
>> be understood as a "predicament," but in the common usage of
>> this word as a situation or trap, from which one must make a
>> development in order to escape.
>> *Catharsis*, according to OED is the Greek word meaning
>> "cleansing" or "purging," which is of course what is commonly
>> understood by the word. With reference to Aristotle is means
>> "the purification of the emotions by vicarious experience."
>> Vicarious!? The Freudian usage you referred to (thank you),
>> Huw, is "The process of relieving an abnormal excitement by
>> re-establishing the association of the emotion with the memory
>> or idea of the event which was the first cause of it, and of
>> eliminating it by abreaction." This sounds very much like how
>> I have understood Vygotsky to be using the term!!
>> All that is fine. A true detective story, as Anton says! But
>> what is the Russian word which is a unity of these disparate
>> Huw Lloyd wrote:
>> On 9 June 2011 08:24, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org
>> <mailto:email@example.com> <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
>> <mailto:email@example.com>>> wrote:
>> I have been watching Nikolai Veresov's videos on vimeo.
>> I refer to
>> No. 2 in particular:
>> In this talk, Nikolai is explaining his view of the
>> development of
>> Vygotsky's theory of the development of the high mental
>> through the appropriation of social functions, and in
>> doing so, he
>> appears to be mistaking the English word "category" for the
>> English word "catharsis."
>> I think that there is an issue with the English (Freudian)
>> use of "catharsis" that refers to expression without
>> genuine influence, which a) I don't think is cathartic and
>> b) not what was intended in psychology of art, i.e.
>> achieving, or identifying with, a genuine change (or
>> resolution), even if only a resolution of a staged
>> performance (identification), or some other art.
>> This notion of "real" catharsis then becomes more related
>> to the notion of category.
>> In my studies and thinking I have been happy with
>> Nikolai's use of the term category and it's relation to
>> stage. With respect to plan/plane correspondences there
>> are several overlapping aspects, which seem to be quite
>> precisely captured by this otherwise ambiguous term (joint
>> context, intention and topological representation).
>> The dramatic conflict (category) has correspondence with
>> (distributed) self-organisation. The social participation
>> of emotionally led behaviour leads to structured forms of
>> participation, e.g. acquiring new coordinating structures
>> in the process of achieving one's goals.
>> -- ------------------------------**------------------------------*
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> Joint Editor MCA:
>> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/*
>> Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.**aspx?partid=227&pid=34857<http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857>
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>> firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com>
>> *Robert Lake Ed.D.
>> *Assistant Professor
>> Social Foundations of Education
>> Dept. of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading
>> Georgia Southern University
>> P. O. Box 8144
>> Phone: (912) 478-5125
>> Fax: (912) 478-5382
>> Statesboro, GA 30460
>> /Democracy must be born anew in every generation, and education is its
>> /-/John Dewey.
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA: http://www.informaworld.com/**smpp/title~db=all~content=
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
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