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Re: [xmca] Vygotsky, Leontiev and Luria
What a delightful thesis topic! I agree that the THEORETICAL differences between the three great men is under-researched: Anton's thesis focuses (like a laser beam) on the history of their inter-relationships, but it is not always easy to tell from this (or from the letters) how differently they thought. Mike and Kozulin have both noted the big differences implicit in the Leontiev-Vygotsky split, but nobody has really spelled out the ramifications for our own times.
Here's one thing that for me is a litmus test. Luria, in the early 1930s, takes a strong interest in comparing fraternal and identical twins (to each other and to non-twins). The idea is to tease out the differences between "natural" functions and "cultural" ones by comparing the performance, on memory tests, of genetically and environmentally identical subjects with genetically-but-not-environmentally-identical subjects.
Vygotsky is mildly interested in these experiments and mentions them with curiosity, but he is a lot more cautious about the idea that there can ever be any such thing as a purely "natural", "genetic" function. And by the 1950s, Leontiev (whose work on memory is a very important starting point for both Luria and Vygotsky) is a simple Lysenkoist. He argues that genetics and heredity simply do not exist at all, and this is a position that he does not give up even late in life when it is no longer officially sanctioned. This is why Leontiev's work is really not compatible with any modern statement of the problem of heredity.
Of course, Vygotsky DOES talk about how the genetic endowment of man will be subjected to his volition by his social emancipation (in "The Socialist Alteration of Man"). But he places this far in the future (in fact, when I look at the number of my students and colleagues who are undergoing cosmetic surgery, I sometimes wonder if he did not place it too far in the future). But both he and Luria decisvely reject the Lysenko position, in "Tool and Sign in Child Devleopment".
The Lysenkoist position (which turns out to be not quite as empirically far-fetched as we usually think) is theoretically wrong because it suggests a gross confusion between ontogenesis and phylogenesis: phylogenesis can simply be reverse engineered from ontogenetic and even microgenetic changes. This was exactly the reverse of Bekhterev's reactological view, which was that ontogenesis consisted of the same kinds of changes that had gone into phylogenesis. Vygotsky and Luria, with somewhat different emphases, are all about inserting sociogenesis into the middle: development MUST mean that the principle which explained change on one timescale cannot be the same as the principle which explains change at another.
I was wondering this morning whether your thesis topic had anything to do with video games and RPGs or whether it represented a completely new direction for you. It seems to me that it MIGHT actually be related, because there are quite a few RPGs (especially here in Korea) which depend very heavily on graphics and SFX . Even the storylines tend to emphasize functions that both Vygotsky and Luria would call "natural" (e.g. throat-slitting and "making the beast with two backs", but also Lysenko-like transformations of the genetic endowment). Interestingly, adolescents, and particularly adolescent girls, appear to be much more interested in the textual possibilities of electronic media.
Hankuk Institute of Foreign Studies
--- On Thu, 9/15/11, Wagner Luiz Schmit <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: Wagner Luiz Schmit <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: [xmca] Vygotsky, Leontiev and Luria
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thursday, September 15, 2011, 12:29 PM
I already read the Anton Yasnitsky thesis (and in it he says that this was
just the begining), it brings a lot of historical context. Also i've read
some of Vygotsky's personal correspondence (in some it seems like the
"Troika" had a "truce" about theory but did not agree in some important
things - in the letters i've read vygotsky does not point what and how)...
But i want to know if someone already compared Vygotsky, Leontiev and Luria
theories under these historical contexts.
2011/9/15 ulvi icil <email@example.com>
> Anton Yasnitsky studied the period 1931-41 for this three in a PhD...
> 2011/9/15 Wagner Luiz Schmit <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > Estimate colleagues,
> > I want to know if anyone can point out a work or works about the way the
> > theories of Vygotsky, Luria and Leontiev meet and depart? With historical
> > contextualization?
> > I'm thinking in researching this in my PhD and i don't want to propose
> > something someone already done.
> > Wagner Luiz Schmit
> > __________________________________________
> > _____
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> > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
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