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[Xmca-l] Re: LSV on language as a model of development



Andy:

Well, to understand Vygotsky's purpose here, we really need a bit of
context. This is the fourth in a lecture series on pedology, delivered at
Herzen Pedagogical University (a teacher training college in Leningrad)
during the last few months of Vygotsky's life. So it was probably written
about the same time as Chapter One of Thinking and Speech. The students are
mostly in-service teachers from all over the USSR. (The manuscript comes
from Galina Korotaeva, the daughter of one of the in-service teachers who
ended up in a remote autonomous republic without a degree because the man
who took over after Vygotsky died, Katzenbogen, was shot for Trotskyism.
Fortunately, Korotaeva's father kept the lectures, which Vygotsky had
mimeoed and handed out to the teachers). It's an introductory course in
pedology, a doctrine that has already been pretty much banned in Leningrad
and Moscow, but which is still taught to people from the provinces (because
the all-Union decree banning pedology didn't come out until 1936).

The first lecture is about the topic of pedology, and it's for dead
beginners. Vygotsky establishes the the subject of pedology is child
development--not child psychology per se, or development per se.The second
lecture is about research methods, and it's here that Vygotsky talks alot
about the "unit of analysis". It is, as you say, a popular idea among
pedologists, because of its holism. Then Vygotsky promises two lectures
which apply the method of pedology--one to "heredity" and one to the
environment.

So the lecture I quoted, which can also be found in the Vygotsky Reader, is
one of a pendant, like the Chinese couplets that people hang up at New
Year's. The other lecture is Lecture Three (attached) which is about
heredity. The lecture on the environment is part of an argument that
Vygotsky is building which denies that development can be reduced to
either--the "unit of analysis" has to include both heredity and the
environment.

And so it does! Lived experience includes heredity because it is, at first,
based on lower level psychological functions: the senses, "feelings" rather
than emotions, natural attention and natural memory. That's what allows you
to experience. But it includes the environment--because that's what you
have to experience.

Anyway--here's my translation of Lecture Three. Sorry about the rather
literal, awkward translation--we are really aiming at a Korean translation,
so the closer I stick to the Russian the better. If anybody can find
errors, I'd be much obliged for their help.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

PS: Actually, I did read Capital, Hegel's Logic (The Shorter One) and
Vygotsky in the order you said. I suspect a lot of leftists do.

dk


On 5 July 2014 21:37, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Thank you for introducing this passage, David. What is Vygotsky's interest
> here, do you think? If I were to say "Vygotsky is interested in
> investigating the relation between doing and undergoing" I don't think we'd
> be any the clearer, even though it it formally true and accords with the
> title of the article. I suggest that Vygotsky's interest is continuing his
> work on child development (where he used the concept of Social Situation of
> Development) to find a foundation for a theory of *personal development*
> which would be adequate beyond childhood. This would mean that if we ask
> "What is an experience or a perezhivanie a unit of?" we would answer
> "personality" or what is the same thing "personal development" - since to
> understand the product of a process of development (a personality) is to
> understand the process itself.
>
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
>
>
> David Kellogg wrote:
>
>> I don't see anything wrong with the idea that "felt experience" or
>> "thought-over experience" or "contemplated experience" (i.e. perezhivanie,
>> which develops in time) is always and everywhere a unit of doing and
>> undergoing, just as Alfredo says. In fact, it seems to me to be exactly
>> what Vygotsky says. Here is the nineteenth paragraph of Vygotsky's lecture
>> "The Problem of the Environment".
>>
>> Я хотел сегодня на конкретном примере учения о среде показать вам
>> несколько
>> таких единиц, которыми оперирует психологическое исследование. Примером
>> таких единиц может служить переживание. Переживание есть единица, в
>> которой
>> в неразложимом виде представлена с одной стороны среда, то, что
>> переживается,
>> - переживание всегда относится к чему-то, находящемуся вне человека, - с
>> другой стороны представлено то, как я переживаю это, т.е. все особенности
>> личности и все особенности среды представлены в переживании, то, что
>> отобрано из среды, все те моменты, которые имеют отношение к данной
>> личности и отобраны из личности, все те черты ее характера,
>> конституциональные черты, которые имеют отношение к данному событию. Таким
>> образом, в переживании мы всегда имеем дело с неразложимым единством
>> особенностей личности и особенностей ситуации, которая представлена в
>> переживании. Поэтому выгодным оказывается в методическом отношении вести
>> анализ, когда мы изучаем роль среды в развитии ребенка, вести анализ с
>> точки зрения переживаний ребенка, потому что в переживании ребенка, как я
>> уже говорил, учитываются все личные особенности ребенка, которые
>> участвовали в определении его отношения к данной ситуации. Например, все
>> ли
>> мои личные конституциональные особенности всякого рода участвуют целиком и
>> на равных началах? Конечно, нет. В одной ситуации одни мои
>> конституциональные особенности играют первую роль, в другой –другие играют
>> первую роль, а в первом случае они могут и не проявляться вовсе. Нам важно
>> знать не вообще сами по себе конституциональные особенности ребенка, а нам
>> важно знать, какие из этих конституциональных особенностей сыграли
>> решающую
>> роль при определении отношения ребенка к данной ситуации, в другой
>> ситуации
>> уже другие конституциональные особенности сыграли роль.
>>
>>
>> What this says (I think) is this:
>>
>>
>> "I wish today as a concrete example of the teaching on the environment to
>> show you a few of these units (единиц) with which psychological research
>> operates. An example of such a unit which might serve is lived experience
>> (
>> переживание ). Lived experience is a unit whose form presents in an
>> non-decomposable way, on the one side, the environment that is
>> live-experienced—lived experience always refers to something that is
>> external to the person—and on the other side represents the way that I
>> live-experience it, i.e. all the features of the personality and all the
>> features of the environment presented in the lived experience, what was
>> selected from the environment, all the moments which are related to a
>> given
>> personality and selected in the personality, all of the features of its
>> (i.e. the personality’s—DK) character, all its constituent features
>> related
>> to this event. Thus, in lived experience we are always dealing with the
>> irreducible unity of features of personality and features of the
>> situation,
>> which is presented in lived experience. For this reason it is
>> methodologically advantageous to carry out our analysis, when we study the
>> role of the environment in the development of the child, from the point of
>> view of the lived experience of the child, because the lived experience of
>> the child, as I have already said, takes in all of the personality
>> characteristics of the child which participate in the definition of his
>> relationship to a given situation. Do, for example, all of the constituent
>> features of my personality of every type participate fully and on an equal
>> footing? Of course not. In one situation, one of my constituent features
>> plays the first role, and in another, another plays the first role where
>> in
>> the first case it may not appear at all. To us it is not important to know
>> the constituent features of the child in themselves, but to us it is
>> important to know which of these constituent features plays the decisive
>> role in determining the child’s relationship to a given situation where in
>> other situations other constituent features have played a role."
>>
>>
>> Of course, it's very hard (and not always necessary) to summarize all that
>> in a single pithy expression. But it seems to me that when Andy uses the
>> expression "radius of subjectivity" and Alfredo uses the expression "a
>> unit
>> of doing and undergoing" they are saying essentially the same thing.
>>
>>
>> David Kellogg
>>
>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>
>>
>> On 4 July 2014 11:22, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>>> That is how I interpreted Alfredo, Andy.
>>> (signed)
>>>
>>> an *in*-experienced oldtimer
>>> mike
>>>
>>>
>>> On Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 6:45 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>> I am familiar with Dewey's work on this, Alfredo, and I too have found
>>>> it
>>>> very useful. That was not my problem. But thinking about it, I suspect
>>>> it
>>>> was just an English expression problem.
>>>> You said "experience is a unit of doing and undergoing". But I think you
>>>> meant to say "experience is a unity of doing and undergoing," which is
>>>> certainly true. Just as activity is a unity of consciousness and
>>>> behaviour, or identity is a unity of recognition and self-consciousness,
>>>> etc.
>>>> But a *unit* is something different from *unity*. "Experience" in this
>>>> sense is not a unit at all; "an experience" can be a unit, but not a
>>>> unit
>>>> of doing and undergoing.
>>>>
>>>> Is that right, Alfredo?
>>>> Andy
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> Dewey, most extensively in chapter 3 of "Art as experience", makes a
>>>>> distinction between the general stream of experience, and an
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> experience,
>>>
>>>
>>>> which, according to him, is the experience that "is a whole and carries
>>>>> with it its own individualizing quality and self-sufficiency". After
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> the
>>>
>>>
>>>> fact, an experience "has a unity that gives it its name, that meal,
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> that
>>>
>>>
>>>> storm, that rupture of friendship", Dewey writes. He further says that,
>>>>> within that unity, there is both an aspect of doing, of initiation, and
>>>>> another of undergoing, "of suffering in its large sense". He further
>>>>> articulates the relation between the doing and the undergoing in terms
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> of
>>>
>>>
>>>> "anticipation" and "consummation" "Anticipation" he writes "is the
>>>>> connecting link between the next doing and its outcome for sense. What
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> is
>>>
>>>
>>>> done and what is undergone are thus reciprocally, cumulatively, and
>>>>> continuously instrumental to each other"
>>>>>
>>>>> Although in most passages these notes have a rather individualistic
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> taste,
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> he goes on to clarify that there is a prominent public character in
>>>>> experience: "without external embodiment, an experience remains
>>>>> incomplete" he says. In the same chapter, he also argues that "it is
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> not
>>>
>>>
>>>> possible to divide in a vital experience the practical, emotional, and
>>>>> intellectual from one another." Both these conditions may make it
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> possible
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> to draw connections between Dewey's notion of experience and Vygotsky's
>>>>> perezivanie.
>>>>>
>>>>> In any case, I find interesting the dialectic Dewey proposes between
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> doing
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> and undergoing as aspects of a minimal unit of sense-full experience
>>>>> because it allows for thinking of being immersed in a developmental
>>>>> situation in which the final form already exists before the intellect
>>>>> grasps it, so that we do not need to put individual knowledge
>>>>> constructions as who puts the cart before the horse.
>>>>>
>>>>> But this is my reading, which may have obviated other aspects that
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> would
>>>
>>>
>>>> preclude this reading?
>>>>> Hope this was of help.
>>>>> Best,
>>>>>
>>>>> Alfredo
>>>>> ________________________________________
>>>>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> on
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> behalf of Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
>>>>> Sent: 03 July 2014 17:17
>>>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>>>>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: LSV on language as a model of development
>>>>>
>>>>> Alfredo, what did you mean by:
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>> ... as he argued, experience is a unit of doing and undergoing,
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>> Andy
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>

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