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[xmca] Manfred Holodynsk's article on the emotions
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- Subject: [xmca] Manfred Holodynsk's article on the emotions
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- Date: Wed, 03 Apr 2013 14:32:31 +1100
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One of the unfortunate side-effects of the development of the discussion
of Manfred's excellent article about the emotions into a discussion
around the foundations of Activity Theory is that we have not yet had a
discussion of the emotions at all. That is a real shame, because it is
such an important topic in its own right, and Manfred's article will
show itself in time, I believe, to be a landmark in this subject.
Although Manfred's article is an overview and a treatment of
foundational issues, the MCA issue concentrates on the development of
the emotions in infancy and the forthcoming second special issue on the
emotions will deal with the development of the emotions in middle
childhood, I believe.
This means that the controversy I have introduced about the conception
of "an activity" is almost irrelevant to the articles in these two
issues, which after all, in dealing with the development of emotions
prior to adolescence, deal with the most important and theoretically
most significant aspects of the problem of the emotions. An infant
cannot do actions. Because the infant does not have an image of the
object towards which their behaviour is oriented, their behaviour cannot
be said to constitute actions. They begin with "operations," which by
means of their success or failure in resolving the problematic stimuli
and the feedback from carers, lead to their development of actions as
such, and the possibility of fully developed and differentiated
emotions, rather than just the innate precursor emotions.
The next phase of development, during which Vygotsky claims that the
child does not develop true concepts, the child is correspondingly
unable to orient to *activities*. Teachers and carers in fact make up
"activities" for them, more or less artificial activities, such as
games, sports and school projects, exams and so on. Through the
development of the relationship between the actions and the successul
fulfillment of the motives of these "activities" provided to the child,
they begin not only to prepare for true conceptual thought when they
enter societal and professional life in the wider society, but also the
perception of the activties which underlie and instantiate those concepts.
And it is only at this stage in ontogenesis when fully developed, mature
emotions become possible.
In her work, Anna Stetsenko deals (amongst other things) with youth
whose troubled upbringing has not made this transition possible and they
in fact fail to develop a life-project. (I know Anna does not agree with
me on this, but I see this condition as the same as what Fedor Vasilyuk
calls "infantilism."). The task of the teacher or social worker here is
then to help the youth adopt an "activist stance" towards their social
position. Perhaps Anna could weigh in to the discussion on this. I think
her work sheds light on the development of the emotions in that third
phase of ontogenesis, where a nuanced concept of "an activity" is essential.
Carol Macdonald wrote:
No Martin, not that sentence. You are garden pathing.
I am working on a very urgent piece of work and have a migraine so I can't
engage, Andy can engage but he is +8hours GMT and sleeping. I don't know
where you are.
Sorry I am not up for debate: but try changing the subject line.
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