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[xmca] ISCAR review and Volker's impressions
Reading your enthusiastic response to Rey's presentation is a jumping off
point to launch into the continuing reflections on the dialectic between
concepts of "subjectivity" and "objectivity"
The article by Fernando in the Portes book, is very interesting
But, if Fernando or others can help: Rey; 2011:49: /Perezhivanie/ should be
understood as a self-regulated psychological system of personality.
In the next chapter in the book, Guillermo Arias (2011:57) introduces the
concept of /vivencia/. He cites Vygotsky: Vivencia is the true dynamic unit
of conscience, and Arias explains: Vivencia is the basic functional unit of
the psychological, or the mind or subjectivity.
My question is, what is the relation between this two words, is Perezhivanie
the more personal part of vivencia, or??
Anyway, it seems to me, that this focus on personality, subjectivity
questions is a very important matter: is it activity, or activity systems,
or vivencia, which it the unit, we start with. And is vivencia, in a way, an
Arias, 2011:59: Marx's idea that the essence of human beings is social
relations and not activity, or work only is very important. Indeed, social
relations encompass work and other relationships (Marx&Engels, 1986).
Volker, all your questions are questions I also struggle with. I read Rey's
chapter and he is orienting to make a distinction between "social relations"
Your summary statement above that "social RELATIONS " and not "activity" [or
work only] is the essence of human beings seems to be a place for launching
this particular thread. The phrase "work ONLY" is central in exploring this
topic. The terms "alone","merely", and "derivative", can also be synonyms
for "only". These terms point to reduction and reification as ways of
orienting or finding paths to subjectivity OR objectivity.
The debate between the alternative positions
-"social relations" as primary NOT derivative within cultural-historical
theory [CHT] as distinct from
-"activity" as primary NOT derivative within cultural historical activity
This is the distinction I read into Rey's proposal in his account of the
transitional moments in the emergence of the new
At this point I want to also bring in Jussi Silvonen's account on this same
topic as he proposes 3 distinct "shifts" or alternative discourses or
"language games" [forms of description] in Vygotsky's legacy. The 3
paradigms he proposes are 1) Socio-behavioural 2)Early Cultural Historical
Theory (1)-Instrumentalism and 3) Late Cultural-Historical Theory
It is the "late" period which both Rey and Silvonen are pointing to as an
alternative path which they recommend we explore further. From their
perspective in this last phase of Vygotsky's reflections two conceptions of
sign, instrumental and semiotic are present simultaneously but the semiotic
interpretation takes the dominant role. Sivonen claims,
"only the transition from the instrumental to the semiotic sign concept
completes the shift from socio-behaviourism to mature cultural-historical
In this 3rd phase Silvonen suggests Vygotsky makes a distinction between
mediated activity BY TOOLS and mediated activity BY SIGN [analyzed from the
point of view of sign-mediated SOCIAL INTERACTIONS]. In other words "social
interactions now become the KEY as EXPRESSED within sign-mediations which
produce new forms of cultural-historical activity
The shift from instrumentalism to semiotics was a shift from sign having a
CONSTANCY of meaning [sign and logical memory have identity]. In the mature
semiotic phase the task was to demonstrate the DIFFERENCE. The formation
[Tony's in*formation] of "meaning", not the identity of pre-existing formed
signs, is hypothesized as the key function of sign. The sign in Silvonen's
words becomes a "meaning container"
Sivonen suggests this meaning container producers new "free" activity
independent of immediate needs. With sign containers action becomes directe
or oriented towards the future which is DEPENDENT on the USE of sign
containers which connec or interweave the present and future. This new
in*formation creates "a completely new psychological FIELD of action".
[Vygotsky] that leads to intention and ANTICIPATION directed by words.
In other words the use of sign containers withIN speech is the key to
producing meaning. This leads to Silvonen's account that Vygotsky believed
"communication" [social interactions] was the primary FUNCTION of speech
AND THIS LEADS BACK TO THE DIALOGICAL MIND as in*formed within
communication. Social interactions among REAL ACTUAL others stand behind all
higher psychological functions and their relations.
Rey and Silvonen share in this project to orient cultural-historical theory
in the direction of actual social interactions in*forming dialogical
communication as the KEY to sign containers.
I have not explored the links between the e-motional and the symbolic as a
"unity" within this version opening a path to subjectivity. However, in
closing I want to mention my impression that psychoanalysis, phenomenology
[philosophy of orientation], pragmatisim, are other traditions engaging with
ACTUAL social interactions as intersubjective, dialogical in*formative
anticipatory actions and activity. In each tradition they are swimming
against other currents in their distinctive traditions but I "sense" a
family resemblance" in focussing on actual dialogical social interactions.
Intersubjectivity "all the way down" within cultural-historical
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