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Re: [xmca] Re: microgenesis?

Hi Andy--

I made it home through a ton of LA traffic alive, which, microgenetically
feels good whatever the larger significance.

When you write
"I personally regard it as a matter or "mere words" whether "child  X at
last managing to recognize the difference between d and b today," for
example, is described as a development" it is clear that you and I are not
close enough to the same topic for me to know how to make progress.

It also appears that no more than four of the some 700 people on xmca
give a damn about this topic, so lets go offline about it, cc'ing Greg, and
if he has patience to hang with us.


On Sat, Oct 13, 2012 at 8:44 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> **
> Yeah, whoever translated Vygotsky's "Problem of Age" is responsible. It
> just means *gradual*. So in a process of development, you have
> alternating critical and lytical phases, as in stepwise processes.
> Andy
> Greg Thompson wrote:
> Apologies for the intrusion, but I had a quick point of clarification, for
> the uninitiated, what is meant by "lytic"?
> (all I could come up with pertained to "lysis" or the breaking down of
> cells - which would seem to suggest a different sense of "development" - a
> breaking down so that things can be reintegrated. Is that the idea?).
> -greg
> On Sat, Oct 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> I don't know where Americans being dolts comes into it, Mike. Some of my
>> best friends are Americans. :) But let's move on from that.
>> The point, as I see it, is trying to extract from what we can reaonsably
>> understand Vygotsky to be  saying, something which we believe could be
>> correct and significant. To do this I think we have to understand the
>> concept of "development" always in a particular context. A truism for
>> anyone here I think. What it means to me is that I cannot just ask: what
>> transformations in psychological functioning constitutes "development"? The
>> necessary, relevant context is what role in what cultural and historical
>> community is the person to play, in the short term and in the longer term.
>> So the question of what constitutes development is age-specific, culturally
>> specific and future-oriented.
>> (Of course, the world changes, and what was development yesterday may
>> become oppressive and detestable tomorrow and vice versa, but let's
>> abstract from cultural and historical change for the moment.)
>> >From the standpoint of natural science what I have posed is an absurdity
>> and incompatible with basic tenets of science ... because I have made
>> development dependent on events and relations in the future. In my opinion,
>> that is just as it should be: kids go to school "for a purpose" - although
>> what we mean by "purpose" in this context (the child's? the parents'? the
>> state's? in retrospect? under advice? sponatneous?). But again, let's just
>> put the problems arising from the idea of human actions being part of
>> object-oriented activities to the side for the moment.
>> So you ask: "what does the word DEVELOPMENT mean in the concept of a zone
>> of proximal DEVELOPMENT?"
>> I have to ask /which/ zone of proximal development, which crisis or lytic
>> period are we talking about. Now I guess we can manage to give a general
>> answer to the question: general questions require general answers. What
>> "development" means is relative to which ZPD you are talking about. On the
>> other hand, the presence of the ZPD itself depends on the development being
>> posed. Achievment of a specific new mode of action with those around you,
>> transforming your relations and your identity and your actions in the
>> social situation depends on the expectations of those around you, according
>> to broader cultural expectations and possibilities.
>> A teacher or other "helper" interested in fostering development (if they
>> can be presumed to reflect general, broader cultural expectations) has in
>> mind what new functioning will be a necessary step towards the child
>> becoming an autonomous citizen of the community.
>> As Vygotsky insists, this poses for the child and her "helper" two
>> different kinds of situation: either /lytical/ development or /critical/
>> development. Lytical development is gradual and prepares the basis for
>> developmental leap. To argue whether the gradual progress made in
>> strengthening the relevant psychologhical functions in this phase is or is
>> not development is in my opinion /just words/. Gradual accumulation of
>> strength in those activities which the child is basically able to do, but
>> maybe not very confidentally and well is a necessary preparation for
>> transcending their age-role and entering into a phase of critical
>> development in which they have a chance of successfully coming out the
>> other side. It is by completion of the critical phase of development - the
>> leap - which transforms the child's identity and role, that "/the
>> development" is realised/. All the preparation in the world proves to be
>> not development if it is not realised in facilitating the critical
>> transformation.
>> So, excuse me please for however imperfectly rehearsing egg-sucking for
>> grandma's erudition.
>> I personally regard it as a matter or "mere words" whether "child  X at
>> last managing to recognise the difference between d and b today," for
>> example, is described as a development. In the context of course it is; it
>> is a step. You want to call that a "microgenetic development"? Personally I
>> don't have a problem with that. David may, but paraphrasing Oscar Wilde:
>> "Microgenesis is not one of my words."  But if the child at last managed to
>> repeat the Gospel According to St Luke by rote, and you wanted to describe
>> this as a microgenetic development, I would want to hear the developmental
>> plan that made that claim coherent.
>> Where if anywhere does this leave us?
>> Andy
>> My apologies for using so many words to say so little.
>> Just trying to be clear and careful.
>> mike cole wrote:
>>> Hi Andy--
>>> Well to begin with, thanks for keeping the discussion alive. I am away
>>> from home without books or control of my time, so I want to ask a question
>>> that may highlight what is central to my queries here.
>>> If what you write is correct, what does the word DEVELOPMENT mean in the
>>> concept of a zone of proximal DEVELOPMENT? Its all fine and dandy to point
>>> out what dolts Americans are for not understanding that learning leads
>>> DEVELOPMENT in classroom instruction, that but classroom lessons are
>>> clusters of events that take place in microgenetic time WITHIN ontogenetic
>>> lythic periods.
>>> Where does that leave us?
>>> mike
>>> PS- the url below lays out in some detail where the idea of acquisition
>>> of reading as a cultural-historical developmental process. Old and never
>>> published. But at least we might refine what is indexed by the phrase
>>> "learning to read."
>>> http://lchc.ucsd.edu/People/NEWTECHN.pdf
>>>  On Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 7:32 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net<mailto:
>>> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>>     So this thread does not die ...
>>>     You said, Mike, "So I am seeing the same solution to thinking
>>>     about the ontogeny/microgenesis relationships by analogy with the
>>>     phylogeny/cultural-history relation."
>>>     I don't see the analogy there. Phylogeny and ethnogeny are two
>>>     (overlapping and mutually determining) processes with two very
>>>     distinct material bases, viz., genes and artefacts. But learning
>>>     to read/write and development of abstract thinking (and other
>>>     leading activities in a developmental ZPD) is not such a relation,
>>>     it is a relation between critical phases and lytic (gradual)
>>>     phases of development. This is quite a different relationship.
>>>     The analogy I would see for something which couold be called
>>>     microgenesis would be the /situation/: a concept develops
>>>     momentrily in a person and their actions in a situation. The
>>>     situation is not a factor in phylo- or ethnogensis, it essentially
>>>     belongs to the very short time scale, and its material basis is
>>>     activity. I grant that no-one might use "microgenesis" in that way
>>>     and no-one may be doing research into that process these days. I
>>>     don't know. But the situation is a distinct material basis for
>>>     development and one on which Vygotsky did a great deal of work. On
>>>     the other hand, I think /all/ processes of development have both
>>>     critical and lytical phases (c.f. Gould's punctuated evolution).
>>>     What do you think?
>>>     Andy
>> __________________________________________
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>  --
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> 883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Department of Anthropology
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
> --
> ------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
> Book: http://www.brill.nl/concepts
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