[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xmca] RE: the wacky world of indexing (Vygotsky's views on PLAY and development)

I see. And, as you Peter certainly understand, Hedegaard does refer to the text of Vygotsky's 1933 presentation.

For some, I guess, it might be interesting and instructive to compare Hedegaard's rendition of Vygotsky with both 1967/1977 (Mulholland) and 

1978 (Mind in Society) versions of translation in order to determine where exactly several flaws and imprecisions

in her formulations on pp. 260-261 come from--either from the hypothetical deficiencies of the 1978 Mind in Society "reconstruction" or

they can be found in her discourse only and are, thus, the invention of her own.

Not sure, though, what the purpose of such comparative analysis of Hedegaard and Vygotsky would be, and if it would appear of much value as such, 
as long as the original Vygotsky's text is available out there. For those who missed the beginning of this conversation, the text in question is available here:


 From: Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu>
To: Anton Yasnitsky <the_yasya@yahoo.com> 
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012 3:53:49 PM
Subject: RE: [xmca] RE: the wacky world of indexing (Vygotsky's views on PLAY and development)

Thanks Anton. Here’s the section I must have referenced (pp. 260-1):
play as experimentation with rules and models
Vygotsky points out that the features of human perception of real objects
are not only colors and shapes, but also meaning. He expresses this in a
ratio where the object is the numerator and the meaning is the denominator
(object/meaning). This ratio symbolizes the idea that all human
perception is made up of generalized rather than isolated instances of perception.
The object dominates the meaning, but what Vygotsky points
out is that in a child’s play this ratio can be inverted and the meaning
can dominate the object, for example, when a stick can be a horse or a
gun. In play, the child can operate with meanings detached from their
usual objects and actions. For the small child, there is some constraint on
what can function as the meaning of an object. Vygotsky characterizes
this reversal of the ratio between object and meaning as an intermediate
stage between early childhood and the adult’s competence with meaning.
For the adult, meaning can come to dominate thoughts totally free
of real situations. Vygotsky says that:
A divergence between the field of meaning and vision first occurs at
preschool age. In play thought is separated from objects, and action arises
from the ideas rather than from things: a piece of wood begins to be a
doll and a stick becomes a horse. Action according to rules begins to be
determined by ideas and not by objects themselves. This is such a reversal
of the child’s relation to the real immediate, concrete situation that it is
hard to underestimate its full significance. (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 97)
In the same way as the object-meaning ratio, Vygotsky notes that the
action-meaning ratio can be reversed in play. Vygotsky points out that,
when action becomes separated from meaning in play, the rules become
very explicit in play. “Thus the essential attribute of play is a rule that
has become a desire. Spinoza’s notion of ‘an idea which has become a
desire, a concept which has turned into a passion’ finds its prototype in
play, which is the realm of spontaneity and freedom” (Vygotsky, 1978,
p. 99). The children can play the persons that do activities that they
want to do or change, for example, bus driver or doctor. In addition,
play enriches the child’s everyday activity through developing the child’s
concepts and motives.
Combining Wartofsky’s ideas of tertiary artifacts with Vygotsky’s theory
play can be seen as a step toward mastering tertiary artifacts, that is,
where children can experiment with the meaning in an imagined world
such as role-play. For preschool children, experimentation with objects
and rules that attain “new meanings,” can become aspects of play within
an imagined world. This can be found when children develop the same
game over time and extend and change the rules of the game. Today, this
can also be found in commercial games, such as Dungeons and Dragons
and in computer games. So the three forms of representation (primary,
secondary, and tertiary) find their first form in children’s play activity.
From:Anton Yasnitsky [mailto:the_yasya@yahoo.com] 
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012 3:28 PM
To: Peter Smagorinsky; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] RE: the wacky world of indexing (Vygotsky's views on PLAY and development)
As to the condensed form of Mind and Society presentation: as I mentioned, Vygotsky's paper was actually not a written text, but a semi-improvised speech, 
often repetitive and inconsistent, as much of Vygotsky's discourse is. Therefore, a more condensed recast, despite the risks of distorting 
the original meaning of the message, definitely has its advantages over the "raw" stream of narration. 
In fact, this is the rationale of Kozulin's 1986 translation of Vygotsky's "Thinking and Speech".
Then, as to the statement:
*Vygotsky’s notion of play refers to experimental activity designed to create possibilities* --
it is very much puzzling to me, and I would not be surprised to discover that Vygotsky never pronounced or wrote anything of the kind, 
and that this particular idea was generated by one of those Vygotskians developing their own agendas in one of "post-Vygotskian" and "Vygotsky-inspired" traditions.
In contrast, for Vygotsky's own views on play see his talk of 1933--in its 1966, 1967, 1967/1977 and even 1978 publications.
Hedegaard looks like a fairly probable candidate for the authorship, but I am not sure. Just in case, see attached.
So, in sum, I would repeat Peter's query, saying that any references to the texts--particularly so, to the texts of Vygotsky himself (which I doubt exist)--
that in any way have anything in common with quote  in question will be greatly appreciated!

From:Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu>
To: Anton Yasnitsky <the_yasya@yahoo.com>; "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu> 
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012 2:10:36 PM
Subject: RE: [xmca] RE: the wacky world of indexing (Vygotsky's views on PLAY and development)

To get at Mike's question about the two translations of the Play lecture, I read the Marxists.org version (Mulholland, Trans) and the parts of the Mind in Society version that Google Books made available (my copy of the book is on campus packed in a box as
 our offices get moved to a different floor, thus my reliance on these versions). Although the Mulholland version might be regarded as more complete--Cole et al. seem to have condensed some passages, at least in contrast with Mulholland--they seem to have the
 same ideas, unless the missing pages from the Google Books version include diversions.

Of course, what I was actually looking for wasn't in either version, so I'm wondering where I got it from. I know that others have come to the same conclusion that I have:

Vygotsky’s notion of play refers to experimental activity designed to create possibilities

I've referenced this observation before to:

Hedegaard, M. (2007). The development of children’s conceptual relation to the world with focus on concept in pre-school children’s activity. In H. Daniels, M. Cole, & J. V. Wertsch (Eds.), The Cambridge companion to Vygotsky (pp. 246-275). New York: Cambridge
 University Press.

But I used that reference primarily to buttress my understanding--it's something I came to independently.

So, where the heck did we get this view from? My copy of the Cambridge Companion to LSV is also boxed on campus and unavailable to me. Any help? Thx,p

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Anton Yasnitsky
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012 11:11 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] RE: the wacky world of indexing (Vygotsky's views on PLAY and development)

Right now, I can not comment on the contents of the two English texts relative to each other, but would like to say a couple of words on other, related issues.

FIRST: meta-info on the paper and its translations. A brief comment: this is not a paper proper but rather a talk of 1933--albeit planned 
(the notes that Vygotsky made BEFORE the talk preserved and where published), but still somewhat impromptu, repetitive, and 
incoherent at some places, as it often happens with Vygotsky, especially in his oral presentations. The typewritten stenographic record 
was kept, presumably, in archives of Herzen Leningrad Pedagogical Institute, until it was published in Russian in a special "Vygotskian" issue 
of their leading psychological journal Voprosy Psikhologii in 1966 (the year is quite notable: Vygotsky's 70th anniversary and the 
18th International Congress of Psychology in Moscow, the interrelations between the two events have not been well researched). 
The next year, in 1967, the text was published in English in Soviet Psychology journal,--


then, later the text was republished on pp. 76-99 in 1977 in:  
Soviet developmental psychology: an anthology. (Ed. Michael Cole). M. E. Sharpe, 1977 - Psychology - 621 pages




This text was translated by Catherine Mulholland.

Then, in 1978, this paper yet again came out as a chapter of the celebrated notorious-yet-famous Mind in Society. 
Surprisingly enough, the previous translation from Soviet Psychology of 1967 virtually never used the former. 
More precisely: the 1978 chapter 7 "The role of play in development" hardly qualifies as translation, which is pretty clear from the very first lines: 
the text of 1978 begins on paragraph 6 of online text: "Thus, defining play on the basis of pleasure can certainly not be regarded as correct." 
Thus, suspending the judgment on the content of 1978 English text at this point, we should understand that this is a somewhat shorter 
(and somewhat rephrased) version of Russian publication of 1966. However, I would say that I am under the impression 
that 1978 text, despite its frivolities related to the original, is generally a reasonably close rendition of the words Vygotsky actually said. 
Yet again, one should keep it in mind that this text is, still, different from what actually was said, or, at least, 
what actually made it to the stenographic record and subsequent Russian publication of 1966.

By the way, speaking of the marxists online text: this translation is almost identical with the translation of 1967, 
although some occasional relatively minor differences in phrasing can be detected. E.g.:

1967: Is play the leading form of activity for a child of this age, or is it simply the predominant form?

Online: Is play the leading form of activity for a child of this age, or is it simply the most frequently encountered form?

In Russian: Является ли игра ведущей или просто преобладающей формой деятельности ребенка в этом возрасте?/

Iavliaetsia li igra vedushchei ili prosto preobladaiushchei formoi deiatel'nosti rebenka v etom vozraste?

This is a tricky place: "preobladaiushchii" can certainly be translated as "dominant", however, in this very context, the opposition  is obvious 

between "leading" (in terms of its importance and impact on development) and the temporal aspect of play, its length relative to other 

daytime activities of the child. Therefore, "most  frequently encountered" seems to more efficiently render the meaning of the original, 

besides, it gets read of unnecessary ambiguity and vagueness of the opposition between "leading" and "predominant". Further analysis 
of the differences between the two versions of "Catherine Mulholland's translation", but at this point we can say that the online version  

looks like slightly corrected and, possibly, somewhat improved version of the printed text.

OOOps: bingo -- here it is: the corrections were made already in the 1977 republication of the text. So far, so good: know we know a little bit

more than we did about the world around us.


SECOND. Vygotsky and Play. Just a brief note. I truly believe this presentation is possibly the most interesting text of Vygotsky that not only 

presents his mature thought on the specific topic of play, but also gives as a clue as to what his theory of consciousness and human development
in its most mature form might look like. Unfortunately, the major transformation of his mechanistic theory of "instrumental period" of 1920s 
that was taking place in 1930s  towards truly holistic psychological theory never resulted in any book--a published one or a manuscript--
and in search of Vygotsky's holistic theory we have to rely on bits and pieces, such as this short yet very beautiful, deep, and insightful paper. 

LAST REMARK. All texts discussed above are in principle available, although some of these in order to be shared might need scanning first.

From: Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu> 
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012 9:46:35 AM
Subject: [xmca] RE: the wacky world of indexing

So, on this topic, I found the following at Marxists.org:

Vygotsky. L. S. (1933/2002). Play and its role in the mental development of the child (C. Mulholland, Trans.). Sydney, AU: Psychology and Marxism Internet Archive. Retrieved May 21, 2012 from http://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1933/play.htm 

It's a different translation of the one in Mind in Society (see http://books.google.com/books?id=RxjjUefze_oC&pg=PA92&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false) but apparently the same essay.

I know that it's a popular move these days to criticize Mind in Society for taking liberties in translation, although I think it's mainly in retrospect that the editorial decisions are questionable. What I'm wondering is, can anyone comment on the relative
 quality of these two translations? Thx,p

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Peter Smagorinsky
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012 9:34
To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
Subject: [xmca] the wacky world of indexing

I was trying to take a shortcut today by looking through the indexes of the 6 volumes of LSV's Collected Works to find sections on his notion of "play." I thought I'd hit the motherlode with Vol 3, whose index indicates a few dozen instances of "play" related
 topics; but when I checked them individually, it turned out that "play" was indexed any time the word "play" appeared on a page, as in "play a role" or other phrasing having nothing to do with what I was looking for. There are a couple of pages where he talks
 about play in the manner I was hoping to find something on (229-30), but otherwise it appears to be based entirely on an unvetted manuscript search. Crud.

Peter Smagorinsky<http://www.coe.uga.edu/~smago/vita/vitaweb.htm>
Distinguished Research Professor<http://www.ovpr.uga.edu/docs/policies/iga/DRP-Guidelines.pdf> of<http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/of> English Education<http://www.coe.uga.edu/lle/english/secondary/index.html>
Department of Language and Literacy Education<http://www.coe.uga.edu/lle/english/secondary/index.html>
The University of Georgia<http://www.uga.edu/>
315 Aderhold Hall<http://www.coe.uga.edu/about/directions.html>
Athens<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athens,_Georgia>,<http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/607/02/> GA<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_(U.S._state)> 30602<http://www.city-data.com/zips/30602.html>

Advisor, Journal of Language and Literacy Education<http://jolle.coe.uga.edu/>

xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list
xmca mailing list
xmca mailing list