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

With respect to the concept of mediation, Martin Packer was kind enough to
send along the attached article by Bruno Latour on Moralilty and Technology.

A key idea is that mediation cannot be reduced to instrumentalism. I think
it could interestingly be put in dialogue with Miller.


On Mon, Mar 5, 2012 at 7:18 PM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> theory.
> 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
> products.
> 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
> lead.
> 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:-))
> Larry
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Attachment: Latour 2002 Morality and Technology The End of th.pdf
Description: Adobe PDF document

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