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[Xmca-l] Is Sociocultural Theory Psychology?



Larry,
Thanks for posting this comment of Kozulin:
"The origins and context of Vygotsky's theories are now being seen in a new light; in place of comparisons to Pavlov, the Gestaltists and Piaget comes the context of philosophical hermeneutics and the theory of communicative action. In an even broader sense, what looked like Vygotsky's contribution TO psychology appears now as leading BEYOND psychology or at least BEYOND traditional psychology and into the sphere of human studies BASED on the humanistic, rather than the scientific model." [1999, p. 278-279]

Is the Vygotskyan tradition psychological?

Sub-questions:
...As viewed from the outside? (I've noticed that later editions of ed psych texts often include Vygotsky, whereas earlier editions didn't.)
...As viewed from the inside (is there a consensus, collectively)?
Has the answer changed (e.g., used to be psychology but that label no longer fits)?
Are there methodological requirements? (We rarely discuss data in this list; most psychology lists discuss little else)
Does the scientific status of being a branch of psychology matter to the future of sociocultural theory?
Does the psychological designation matter to individual theorists?

David

-----Original Message-----
From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Larry Purss
Sent: Sunday, March 16, 2014 5:17 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Alex Kozulin's notion of three planes of understanding

Mike,
thanks for sending the article on the risks of being a public intellectual.
Anna Sfard also recently posted on who university scholars *address* in their publications.
I have been re-reading Alex Kozulin's book written 25 years ago [Vygotsky's
Psychology: A Biography of Ideas.]

Alex, in the epilogue to that book summed up by positing three trends in Vygotsky scholarship which he called three *planes*.
The 1st plane corresponds to the understanding of Vygotsky's theory by his contemporaries in the 1920's and 1930's.
The 2nd plane emerges with the discovery of Vygotsky's theory in the West in the 1960's .
In 1990 Kozulin perceived the emergence of a 3rd plane of Vygotsky scholarship which is re-evaluating the presuppositions of the 1920's. What in the 1920's appeared to be a straight forward thesis of social mediation, and in the 1960's as a necessary corrective to the individualistic approaches of Western Psychology, in 1990 emerges as a radically new question. The realization that within Vygotsky's theory social AND cultural mediatory mechanisms do NOT coincide.

Alex writes:
"The origins and context of Vygotsky's theories are now being seen in a new light; in place of comparisons to Pavlov, the Gestaltists and Piaget comes the context of philosophical hermeneutics and the theory of communicative action. In an even broader sense, what looked like Vygotsky's contribution TO psychology appears now as leading BEYOND psychology or at least BEYOND traditional psychology and into the sphere of human studies BASED on the humanistic, rather than the scientific model." [p. 278-279].

I am not sure how relevant Kozulin's epilogue  seems to others 25 years later, but I found the themes in this book very current and relevant.  In particular his analysis of Vygotsky's early humanistic writings explored in chapter one on *The Psychology of Art* and chapter two on the theme of Vygotsky's book on the tragedy of Hamlet.  These works were written by a young public scholar developing his identity through engaging in  the deep questions of life and existence.

How does this relate to Anna and Mike's postings?
The discussion of corporate *money* controlling who gets to be the audience for researcher's articles [Anna Sfard's question] and the question of the role of *public* intellectuals who are addressing humanistic questions and Vygotsky's writings as a humanistic writer seem related to the concept of  Kozulin's 3rd plane of engagement BEYOND narrow academic disciplinary discourse.
Will the university as an institution remain a place for these humanistic studies and the type of scholarship which Alex captures in his biography of Vygotsky's ideas, based on the humanistic model?. How central to Vygotsky's later psychological theories were his earlier reflections on art and tragedy?
Larry


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