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[xmca] further thoughts on the book "Vygotsky in Perspective"

Martin reminded me of the discussion on xmca [July 13 2011] when the book
"Vygotsky in Perspective" was discussed.
The aggressive tone and stance Ronald takes towards CHAT positions is
extremely rude and provocative.

 He attacks Mike, Wertsch, Anna Stetsenko, and others who explore Leontiev
and Luria as complementary to Vygotsky. Ronald labels these authors as
creating an "alternative" theory so removed from Vygotsky that they are no
longer true believers.
For this reason alone I was tempted to not read further.

But I was curious from reflecting on "book collections" as material "media
objects"  how the interplay of Ronald's perspective would engage Activity

I was reading through the introduction on Google books and on page 17
of Ronald's introduction I became intrigued by Roland's understanding of
mediation.  He is offering a bipolar or "duplex" conception of subjectivity
in which of-ness [awareness] ANCHORS the present and consciousness MEDIATES
history and destiny. He argues that mediation is often associated with
DIRECT overt forms of instruction. Roland suggests a 2nd order of mediation
in which tools [as the products of human action] REFLECT [in their design
and structure] the conscious awareness of their makers.  A 3rd level of
mediation is elaborated in the social structures CONSTITUTED by the
relations between people and the relations between people and their

So far so good. This is all straight forward but it was the the next
section of his argument I found interesting.

Roland suggests mediation is the antithesis of "agency"  MIS-understanding
is a KIND of understanding but the persons are UNAWARE that their
understandings are mis-perceived [and therefore cannot make the necessary
changes for understanding] Roland then states,

"In order for mediation efforts to produce new understanding - it is
necessary to alter the way a person EXPERIENCES a situation by facilitating
new actions - including mental actions  or ways of thinking that provide a
NEW FOCUS of conscious awareness.

All forms of mediation operate according to the same fundamental
psychological principles that entail,



It is this "dual" process of BOTH "leading" and "being lead" that I found
interesting as a reciprocal movement of both breathing in and breathing out
in mediational processes. Both agency and loosing agency.  [Both "passive"
and "active"??]
What Ronald is exploring may be "common sense" to many others on this list
serve but I read this as a possible link to Gadamer's notion of all true
understanding as beginning with a  willingness to be unsettled  in the
dialogical process of not understanding [letting go of pre-judices] and
being open to the perspective of the other which opens a space for "fused
horizons" of understanding. Ronald, interpreting Vygotsky from his
perspective seems to be circling around similar themes of leading and being

Ronald, though writing ABOUT this reciprocal process, obviously does not in
practice actualize this openness. How he dismisses others [especially
CHAT]  in this book is proof of his prejudices but he may still have some
valid points to contribute from his close eading of Vygotsky.

I hope its ok to return and pick up a previous thread from last July even
from an author without good manners:-))

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