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[xmca] Manfred Holodynsk's article on the emotions

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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