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RE: [xmca] RE: Smolucha article
Message from Francine Smolucha:
There are two points that need to be clarified (1) the actual text of my 1992 paperand (2) the conceptual issues raised by that paper.
The First PointLooking back at Peter's original comments that refer to page 59 (and later p. 60)of my 1992 publication (A Reconstruction of Vygotsky's Theory of Creativity):
As I read over the text, I do not see any line where it actually states thatcreativity is a higher mental function (refer to Peter's e-mail).
I would suggest that we cite specific lines, as well as, pages in our discussion.
On page 59, the first column, paragraph 2 - I state "According to Vygotsky,during the development of imagination as a higher mental function, . . ."
The quote from Vygotsky that follows, describes the development of the fantasyof the adolescent, concludes by stating "It only moves to another place . . .rising up like any other function to a higher level." (my translation from Vygotsky's 1931 paperImagination and Creativity of the Adolescent)
On page 60, column one, paragraph 3, in the first line, I write "It is clear from the preceding statements that Vygotsky included imagination among the higher mental functions. . . ."
In addition to the literal word-for-word quotes, there is another issue - Vygotsky is writingabout creative imagination although he sometimes uses the terms imagination, fantasy, or even creativity.In Imagination and Creativity During Childhoood (1930), Vygotsky had defined creative imaginationas combinatory imagination, contrasting it with memory as reproductive imagination (see p.51 ofmy 1992 paper). Oh, and when Vygotsky used the term autistic thinking he is using Eugene Bleuler'soriginal term that referred to the distorted combinatory imagination of schizophrenics - Vygotsky is notusing Leo Kanner's term autistic as in the psychiatric diagnosis of autism (circa 1950's).
The Second Point - conceptual issues raised by my paper.
(1) What did Vygotsky actually mean? How does he define higher mental function, creative imagination,and creativity. And, what is the developmental relationship of these three concepts - for Vygotsky.A thorough exegesis of Vygotsky's texts can guide this discussion, although some differences of interpretationwill remain.
(2) Then there are the operational definitions that any particular interpreter of Vygotsky's writings can derive fromVygotsky's texts. I make a distinction between the traditional (original) interpretation of Vygotsky'stheory and the way it is interpreted by Activity Theorists (including CHAT). [Read my 2012 publicationp. 75] Ronald Miller's book, Vygotsky in Perspective makes a similar distinction.
Original interpretation of Vygotsky's theory posits a model of how lower level psychological functions (such as spontaneous memory recall) develop into higher mental functions that are consciously directedby means of internalized speech. This interpretation is still prevalent in many textbooks and otherscholarly publications. This is a model of how different cognitive functions can become consciouslydirected through the internalization of the verbal guidance of a more knowledgeable person.This list is not exhaustive - visual thinking used in drawing, drafting, and architecture, fantasy,creative visualization, figurative thinking using visual isomorphisms, and divergent thinking. Creativity in the arts, sciences, technology, etc. involves the collaboration of consciously directed imaginationand realistic thought (analytic/logical) and due to this complexity is better described as a psychological system(Vygotsky Imagination and its Development in Childhood 1932 in Smolucha, 1992 p.64-64)
Activity Theory, including CHAT, changes this original version of Vygotsky's theory in several ways (with variations depending on whom you are reading). We can have a lively scholarly discourse on this.Norris Minick tried to convert me to an Activity Theory perspective and toWertsch's Socio-Cultural perspectivein 1987 during a graduate seminar at the University of Chicago (see my 2012 publication footnote #8, p.82).
As I under stand Activity Theory and Chat, higher mental functions are cultural constructs, but do not derive fromthe internalization of the verbal guidance of a more knowledgeable person - the Vygotskian model of social speech,egocentric speech (private speech), inner speech is disregarded. According to Activity Theory, the zone of proximal development,likewise, has nothing to do with the internalization of the verbal guidance of a more knowledgeable person, in fact, it nolonger requires a more knowledgeable person.
So we have two major Vygotskian paradigms - can we communicate between them????????
> From: email@example.com
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2012 19:56:45 +0000
> Subject: [xmca] RE: Smolucha article
> In the article, Smolucha asserts that to LSV, creativity is a higher mental function. (p. 59) This does not match my understanding of what a higher mental function is, i.e., a cultural concept. Creativity seems to me to be a means for developing a cultural concept, but not commensurate with one. Any help? Thx,p
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of Peter Smagorinsky
> Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 3:52 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [xmca] FW: Smolucha article
> I got my hands on a scanned version of Smolucha's paper on Vygotsky and creativity. Enjoy,p
> p.s. someone had written a pronunciation key for her name on the manuscript. A good mnemonic for pronouncing her name: Smolucha lives near Chicago, where it can snow much-a.
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