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

Re: [xmca] Help? - Microgenesis, Microgenetic, Microgeny?

You don't suppose that Saussure or Levi-Strauss read Marx? (not sure about
or perhaps the problem was that they read Marx wrongly?

Your reading of Vygotsky is many many times deeper than mine and so I trust
your intuitions. But making those intuitions clear to others seems to be
the problem at hand. I will happily look to your videos for guidance.

Many thanks for them and for your comments!

On Sun, Sep 23, 2012 at 11:45 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Greg, Vygotsky is not French, and in particular not Levi-Strauss or
> Saussure. His heritage is German: Marx and Hegel, though he never read
> Hegel, he was educated in an atmosphere saturated with Marx and Hegel.
> That's how I read him, anyway, right or wrong.
> I think a good point to start with is that the distinction between true
> concepts and complexes is *not* a distinction between two types of concept.
> When you eventually get to read in T&S about *actual* concepts, you find
> that *actual* (i.e., not ideal) concepts have two roots and merge two lines
> of development. An actual concept is itself a process of development,
> actually, but I am not up on the literature of microgenesis so I can't make
> those connections for you. *Vyvgotsky does not have a typology of
> concepts*. You cannot understand a word of what Vygotsky says about
> concepts (in my opinion) until you accept this fact and read Vygotsky in
> the light of it. Some people (eg Anna Sfard) use the word "reification" to
> denote the process of mistaking a process for a thing.
> I recommend my two videos on this (Part 2 in particular):
>    https://vimeo.com/groups/**129320/videos/35393145<https://vimeo.com/groups/129320/videos/35393145>
>    https://vimeo.com/groups/**129320/videos/35819238<https://vimeo.com/groups/129320/videos/35819238>
> Andy
> Greg Thompson wrote:
>> Andy,
>> I love your long-ish posts -- we need more of them!
>> and I followed you until that last part that Vygotsky is not really about
>> dualisms at all. I've got a decent handle on the dualisms being hammered
>> home part, but can you say more about how these are not dualisms (it didn't
>> come til the end of your post - perhaps as with Vygotsky's writings).
>> I'd love to put Vygotsky in the same camp as Levi-Strauss who insidiously
>> introduces a dualism between engineer and bricoleur with the audience
>> expecting that "modern" will be the engineer and the "primitive" will be
>> the bricoleur. But then he says that both are both.
>> But more commonly, I tend to see Vygotsky as more kin to Levy-Bruhl and
>> his somewhat more heavy handed distinction between "primitive" thinking and
>> what "we" do. Even if not an alignment of Vygotsky with L-S, I'd love to
>> see you further elaborate the argument that Vygotsky is non-dualist (even
>> if only with respect to "development" and "learning").
>> Meanwhile, I have some microgenetic developments (i.e. a paper) to worry
>> about and a new ontogenetic development at home to boot!
>> very best,
>> greg
>> On Sun, Sep 23, 2012 at 10:03 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net<mailto:
>> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>     Mike, in "Tool and Symbol in Child development," Vygotsky goes on
>>     at great length and detail in distinguishing between the changes
>>     in the child's functioning associated with the use of tools (e.g.
>>     a bicycle) and the use of a sign. (and he includes learning by
>>     rote under the heading of tool- not symbol-use) I hesitate to try
>>     to summarise this discussion. But he makes a distinction between
>>     acquiring the habit of using a tool, and adopting a symbol for use
>>     in controlling one's own and others' minds. I think this is the
>>     distinction which is /underlying /his elusive distinction between
>>     learning and development.
>>     Vygotsky's "clear-cut dualism" has to be understood in terms of
>>     its basis and the use he is making of it, i.e., to explain a
>>     conceptual distinction in understanding tendencies of
>>     developmental processes. Ultimately, a dichotomy between tool and
>>     sign, or even between tool-use and symbol-use is unsustainable,
>>     least of all in our times - one and the same keyboard can be used
>>     to control a machine or send a message to the operator.
>>     Controlling one's own body has to be counted as tool-use in some
>>     circumstances, and symbol-use in others.
>>     Vygotsky does explicitly recognise that use of a tool modifies the
>>     mental processes and enlarges the child's sphere of activity, but
>>     he wants to focus on what he sees as *voluntary* control of the
>>     child's own behaviour, and he does not see learning to use a tool
>>     as doing that: you have learnt to ride, but you still need to be
>>     on a bicycle to do it, I suppose. It is a bit like the distinction
>>     between a "potential concept" and a "true concept." A potential
>>     concept can be acquired as a system of actions organised around a
>>     tool, but it is still only potential. Once the same activity is
>>     organised even when the tool is not present, but by means of a
>>     true, semiotic representation of the tool, then you have a "higher
>>     psychological function."
>>     I don't think there is any easy way of representing Vygotsky's
>>     thought here in English and I suspect not in Russian either. He is
>>     not saying that there are two types of psychological activities,
>>     higher and lower; there are two types of concept, potential and
>>     true; there are two types of artefact, semiotic and material, even
>>     though this is precisely what he says on numerous occasions. He is
>>     talking about opposite tendencies and sources in *processes*, and
>>     the language doesn't offer us many means of communicating this
>>     other than saying "there are two types of ..." And because the
>>     distinctions he is making are brand new and original, he has to
>>     really hammer the distinction to the point of a "clear-cut
>>     dualism" in order to make his point, which is, in my opinion, not
>>     really about dualisms at all. I think the same goes for learning
>>     and development.
>>     That's my take,
>>     Andy
>>     mike cole wrote:
>>         Hi David-- Thanks for all the re-minding.
>>         Why does Vygotsky reject bicycle riding (learning a phonetic
>>         alphabet to
>>         read for meaning too?) as an example of a developmental
>>         change? It is a
>>         qualitative change in the organization of consituent functions, it
>>         reorganizes not only the system of psychological/psychomotor
>>         functions, it
>>         is mediated by culture, it brings about a simultaneous change
>>         in the
>>         person's relationship to his/her environment.
>>         Seems to qualify. What's wrong here?
>>         mike
>>         On Sun, Sep 23, 2012 at 3:16 PM, kellogg
>>         <kellogg59@hanmail.net <mailto:kellogg59@hanmail.net>**> wrote:
>>               Greg--
>>             The funny thing is that in Korean there is an identical
>>             expression: "halka
>>             malka". And in Chinese the yes/no question is essentially
>>             nothing but an
>>             elaboration of "willy-nilly".
>>             It's hard to imagine that there is NOTHING at the basis of the
>>             legal-juridical model of human action except
>>             contractualism, just as it's
>>             hard to imagine that Saussurean linguistics is ONLY based
>>             on an infinite
>>             number of curiously non-negotiable agreements about word
>>             meanings.
>>             It seems to me that there's just a kernel of truth here.
>>             In order to
>>             engage in any semiotic behavior at all, you have to
>>             recognize that
>>             something is a sign. And in order to recognize that
>>             something is a sign,
>>             you have to recognize that it was intended to stand for
>>             something else. And
>>             in order to recognize that sometime was intended to stand
>>             for something
>>             else, you have to recognize that there is intelligent life
>>             out there after
>>             all.
>>             I guess if I were looking for a single "a-ha!" moment, a
>>             moment where one
>>             can point to a hair and see a beard, that would be it!
>>             Mike--
>>             "Riding a bicycle" is a perfect example of where our
>>             bicycle built for two
>>             meets a fork in the road.
>>             Bike riding is actually one of the activities that
>>             Vygotsky explicitly
>>             rules out as instances of development (along with typing
>>             and playing golf).
>>             It is an instance of learning, but not development. So I
>>             thought we ought
>>             to reserve the term "microgenesis" for only those types of
>>             learning which
>>             in a given social context (that of education) can be
>>             linked to the
>>             ontogenesis of mind. And that meant, after the age of one,
>>             those types of
>>             learning that are centrally about language.
>>             Unfortunately, I think that unreadable book review by me
>>             in MCA is the
>>             only written record of our conversation on whether
>>             microgenesis was a kind
>>             of learning or learning a kind of microgenesis. It was
>>             mostly over the
>>             telephone. I had just discovered Mescheryakov's brilliant
>>             article on
>>             Vygotskyan terminology (in the Cambridge Companion) and I
>>             was looking, in
>>             my usual little-boy-with-a-toy-hammer mode, for ways to
>>             over-extend it:
>>             1) Natural functions are acquired before cultural ones,
>>             but within
>>             cultural functions...
>>             2) Social functions are acquired before individual ones,
>>             but within
>>             individual functions...
>>             3) Extramental functions are acquired before intra-mental
>>             functions, but
>>             within intra-mental functions..
>>             4) Spontaneous, everyday functions are acquired before
>>             nonspontaneous,
>>             academic ones
>>             I thought all of these could be seen as instances of a
>>             very general
>>             principle "Outside-in!" so long as we accept "outside" as
>>             referring to
>>             the environmental and "inside" as referring to the
>>             semiotic. It could then
>>             be differentiated according to:
>>             1) The phylogenetic zone of proximal devleopment (caves
>>             before houses,
>>             hair before clothes)
>>             2) The sociogenetic zone of proximal development
>>             (discourse before
>>             grammar, speech before verbal thinking)
>>             3) The ontogenetic zone of proximal development
>>             (egocentric speech beore
>>             inner, finger counting before mental math)
>>             4) The microgenetic zone of proximal development (in
>>             English--Germanic
>>             vocabulary before Latinate and Greek, in Korean, pure
>>             Korean words before
>>             those of Chinese origin)
>>             You pointed out to me that this assumed that microgenesis
>>             was a rather
>>             special kind of microgenesis--the kind that linked
>>             learning to ontogenetic
>>             development. And you said, correctly, that this was not
>>             the way the term is
>>             normally used. You then recommended that I review this
>>             book, and I did. I
>>             also wrote an article on the subject (which was
>>             indignantly rejected by MCA
>>             but eventually published by the Modern Language Journal).
>>             *
>>             http://onlinelibrary.wiley.**com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-4781.**
>> 2011.01236.x/abstract<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2011.01236.x/abstract>
>>             *<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.**com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-4781.**
>> 2011.01236.x/abstract<http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2011.01236.x/abstract>
>> >
>>             The problem with the microgenesis book I reviewed was that
>>             I didn't really
>>             find the discussions of exactly when a person could be
>>             said to have
>>             perceived a dot as a man very enlightening, and I found
>>             that some of the
>>             studies in the book were of activities that were clearly
>>             not linked to
>>             mental development in any way (e.g. murder and suicide).
>>             Of course, people do tend to prefer their own inventions,
>>             and I found
>>             myself sticking to my own understanding of microgenesis,
>>             that is, that
>>             microgenesis should really be reserved for the kind of
>>             learning that leads
>>             to ontogenesis, just as iin Vygotsky the ontogenesis of
>>             mind is really
>>             reserved for the kind of growth that culminates in
>>             sociogenesis or
>>             socio-re-genesis rather than simply growth in general
>>             (and, of course,
>>             sociogenesis should be reserved for forms of culture which
>>             increase man's
>>             mastery of his environment as well as of that part of the
>>             environment which
>>             is his own behavior).
>>             Now, I know that this is the kind of selective and
>>             directed developmental
>>             view which many people on the list reject. I have been
>>             thinking a bit about
>>             why this is so, since it seems to be at the bottom of my
>>             inability to
>>             integrate my own thinking with that of people to whom I
>>             otherwise feel a
>>             very strong intellectual affinity (e.g. you and Martin).
>>             It seems to me
>>             that, since the 2008 collapse in particular, there has
>>             been a strong
>>             tendency amongst Western intellectuals to REVERSE the
>>             millenium old
>>             assumption that we had about nature and nurture, according
>>             to which if
>>             something is natural there is nothing to be done, but if
>>             something is
>>             "socially constructed" then it can be easily deconstructed and
>>             re-constructed. Since 2008, we have had almost the reverse
>>             prejudice: if
>>             something is natural, it may easily be altered; our
>>             tragedy is that we
>>             cannot seem to change our own behavior.
>>             Needless to say, there is a great deal of truth in this
>>             insight; I think
>>             it is one of the great insights of our time. The problem
>>             is that I seem to
>>             be stuck in an earlier time, when the semiotic behavior of
>>             Chinese people
>>             was very  far in advance of their ability to control the
>>             environment,
>>             and mass literacy simply meant that large quantities of
>>             materials which
>>             might otherwise have been usefully employed as toilet
>>             paper, could now only
>>             be read, simply because in order to shit you have to be
>>             able to eat.
>>             (My mother-in-law, who survived the famine, still thinks
>>             of food as the
>>             only real private property, and then only when it has
>>             actually been eaten.)
>>             David Kellogg
>>             Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>             <kellogg59@hanmail.net <mailto:kellogg59@hanmail.net>**>
>>             ______________________________**____________
>>             _____
>>             xmca mailing list
>>             xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>>             http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/**listinfo/xmca<http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>
>>         ______________________________**____________
>>         _____
>>         xmca mailing list
>>         xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>>         http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/**listinfo/xmca<http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>
>>     --     ------------------------------**------------------------------
>> **------------
>>     *Andy Blunden*
>>     Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/
>> **>
>>     Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts
>>     ______________________________**____________
>>     _____
>>     xmca mailing list
>>     xmca@weber.ucsd.edu <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>>     http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/**listinfo/xmca<http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>
>> --
>> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
>> 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
>> Department of Anthropology
>> Brigham Young University
>> Provo, UT 84602
>> http://byu.academia.edu/**GregoryThompson<http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson>
> --
> ------------------------------**------------------------------**
> ------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts
> ______________________________**____________
> _____
> xmca mailing list
> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/**listinfo/xmca<http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca>

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Department of Anthropology
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
xmca mailing list