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[xmca] Personal (?) Constructs
I have a couple of graduate students who are doing a particular line of research I somewhat dislike (questionnaire and follow up interview, as opposed to "real work" analyzing transacripts), but I feel obliged to assist in any way I can (one of them is working with North Korean refugee's kids). So I read George Kelly's "Theory of Personality".
For those of you who don't know it, it's part of a huge volume of work from the 1950s on an approach to psychotherapy called "Constructive Alternativism", or "Personal Construct Psychology". It is, I suppose, loosely phenomonological and broadly introspective, although Kelly's is a kind of outward bound introspectiveness, since he sees concepts as basically about predicting real events in life.
I'm interested it for a couple of reasons.
a) Personal constructs are dichotomous, meaning not mutually exclusive but mutually defining (rather like "sense" and "meaning", or "teaching/learning" and "development", r any other good Vygotskyan distinction).
b) They include concepts, but they also include preconceptual word meanings, i.e. "structures of feeling", such as "good/bad", "respect/contempt", "sympathy/antipathy". Kelly also thinks that "the concept is real, but its reality exists in its actual employment by its user, and not in the things which it supposed to explain", which sounds pretty damned Vygotskyan to me.
c) Apparently, according to p. 152, this guy was using "Vigotsky's" block test back in 1955! Now, how the devil did he get ahold of them? He must have known Hanfmann and Kasenin....
d) I think I may finally have found a book that Larry Purss has not read.
Before I wax uncharacteristically uncritical though, let me note that he is ostentatiously ahistorical and asocial, and it really hurts him. For example, his idea of "role" is completely undevelopmental: roles come from nowhere and go nowhere.
Towards the end of the book, when he tries to "rise to the concrete", this approach completely undoes him. He introduces two case studies: one is a black guy who grows up somewhere in the midwest going to high school with whites. For some mysterious reason he fantasizes about white chicks, and he can't persuade HIS family to approve (HIS feelings about HIS family, are apparently the source of the problem!) The second one is about Jews adjusting or failing to adjust to their own cultural background.
Yes, I denk I zee der paddern hier.... Zo...how long haf you had zis drubble, Doktor????
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
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