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[Xmca-l] Re: how to broaden/enliven the xmca discussion



Thanks, David. I think i understand better what you mean by "LSV rejects
"activity" as a unit of analysis for anything but behavior,and most
certainly as a unit of psychological analysis. Somehow I was expecting text
from LSV where he says "activity is not a unit of analysis" because of all
the places in his text where he uses the term activity as a sort of "lay
term".

​...​
>  Holbrook Mahn.
> Holbrook began by saying that:
>
> a) We do not "borrow" concepts made for one discipline and "apply"
> them to another. Not even dialectical materialism can be "applied" to
> psychology (or even sociology or economics--Marx didn't do applied
> philosophy!). Holbrook then produced a number of quotations from The
> Historical Meaning of the Crisis in Psychology to show that Vygotsky
> knew this, and countered with other quotations from Problems of the
> Development of the Mind to show that Leontiev did not know this.
>
> ​I know places where LSV is clear on this score, in Historical meaning,
for example, but not the evidence of Leontiev's errors.
​


> b) The term "praxis" has been thus borrowed. It doesn't refer to
> practical activity: it refers to a unity of thinking and practice.
>

​Borrowed from Marx by ..??? by Leontiev? There is any form of practical
activity without human thinking? ​


>
> c) The term "social situation of development" has been thus borrowed;
> it does not refer to a "context" but to the child's relationship to
> the environment.
>

By whom? I am always in a puzzle about the use of this term. Isn't
perezhivanie the term that LSV uses to talk about relation of child to
environment? At least, there seems to be a lot of chatter about issue.​


>
> d) The term "unit of analysis" does not refer to a God particle that
> is indifferent to the problem of analysis. ygotsky did not imagine a
> "unit of analysis" that fit any and all problems in psychology. Each
> unit of analysis is specific to a particular problem of unity (e.g.
> the problem of the unity of the child and his or her environment in
> Problem of the Environment and the problem of the unity of verbal
> thinking in Thinking and Speech).
>
> ​Amen to that. ​


> e) The term "verbal thinking" is a mistranslation: Vygotsky is talking
> about thinking by language, or thinking through word meanings, and not
> some kind of verbalizable inner speech (which does exist, but which is
> a distinct layer from thinking).
>
​There is a lot of confusion around this issue and would probably need
somewhat separate discussion. I interpret in the former way. The role of
meaning in inner speech, and the usefulness or not of the sense/meaning
distinction has me confused. Dima Leontiev has put the distinction behind
him and now refers to "cultural meaning" (paleo meaning ​

​) and
"personal meaning (paleo sense)." I am paleo in this regard.​

>
> Most of this has been said before, not least by Vygotsky himself. I
> know that Holbrook has been saying it at least since 2007 when I first
> heard him at the American Association for Applied Linguistics in Costa
> Mesa, and he develops it at some length in:
>
>
> https://www.academia.edu/1803017/Vygotskys_Analysis_of_Childrens_Meaning-Making_Processes
>
> Mahn, H. (2012). Vygotsky's Analysis of Children's Meaning-Making
> Processes, International Journal of Educational Psychology1(2):100-126
>
> It's been said by others too: Mike Cole actually makes many of the
> same points in discussing how the Kharkov school deviated from the
> work of Vygotsk,


​I did not know enough to make many of these points in 1978! They certainly
distanced themselves from LSV and PI Zinchenko went after the
natural-cultural memory distinction,​


​​


> and J.V. Wertsch is quite explicit in his revisionism
> when he presents "mediated activity" as a unit of analysis in
> opposition to "word meaning".


​mediated ACTION and often as not, mediated action in context.​

> But of course since a unit of analysis
> must preserve in some shape or form the essential properties of the
> whole, the use of "mediated activity"
> ​(action) ​
> cannot be a unit of analysis for
> the mind if we wish to retain the idea that the mind has a semantic
> structure (that is, if the "whole" is structured something like a text
> or a discourse rather than like driving a car, shooting a gun, or
> hunting animals).
>

​When we get to semantic structure of consciousness, we know there was a
break between LSV and his buddies. It seems that it is in arriving at this
formulation that the charges of idealism and sign-o-centrism kick in.​

​My difficulty is in making arguments about consciousness- -in-general,
perhaps a relic of my behaviorist past. Luria appears to have come around
on this issue. I have had a difficult time understanding the changes in
Leontiev's thought over the period of the 30's and 40's. ​

>
> Now, in the discussion of Holbrook's presentation, this wild-haired
> guy who looked a little like Itzhak Perlman rose to argue that
> Leontiev's interpretation was really one fair interpretation, and that
> it really was addressed towards a specific problem, which is how to
> prevent dualism from arising (that is, how to explain how word meaning
> could arise historically).​Through joint mediated activity?​




> He also said that Holbrook was juxtaposing
> quotations out of context: the quotes that showed Vygotsky arguing
> against a "Marxist psychology" were directed against a very specific
> group of vulgar Marxists (e.g. Zalkind) and that is why Vygotsky uses
> scare quotes around "Marxist".
>

​Not so?​


>
> I then muddied the waters, first by addressing the wild-haired guy
> instead of Holbrook (a major breach of protocol) and then by arguing
> that speech really is sui generis, because it is a form of "activity"
> (if we must call it that) whose conditions of comprehension are no
> longer recoverable from the activity itself (and so the unit of
> analysis for verbal thinking cannot be sought in activity). There
> wasn't enough time to really develop what I wanted to say, so I went
> over to continue the discussion, and it turned out that the wild
> haired guy was none other than Seth Chaiklin, who is, we all know, one
> of the foremost paleo-Vygotskyans when it comes to the much
> misinterpreted concept of the ZPD.
>

​Speech is a form of activity or a means of activity? Or of action?​

​I guess I do not understand. If its worthwhile, perhaps spell the idea out
here?

So far as I can tell, there are ONLY misinterpretations of the Zoped. Seth
was right on about it being used in Anglo-American discourse as something
akin to zone of proximal learning,fitting into the associationist view of
development as more learning. But the one right interpretation has escaped
my notice.​

​Thanks again for taking the trouble to write that out. Perhaps it will be
generative for people.
mike​


> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>
> PS: Holbrook DID get one thing wrong. Stalin did not argue that
> language was purely ideal and superstructural; that was Marr's
> position. Stalin, or whoever ghost wrote his articles, argued that
> language was base, and therefore somehow material, whatever that
> means. But Stalin was not really interested in ideas; he was just out
> for Marr's blood.
>
>
>
>
>
> On 6 October 2014 22:21, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> > Hi David--
> >
> > The specific example of your comments on originals and adaptations hits
> on
> > a point it would be helpful to hear more about:
> >
> > You wrote:
> >  Back in Sydney, Seth Chaiklin and I found ourselves in a somewhat
> > similar argument, with Seth in Perelman's chair, and me clinging
> > rather obstinately to a paleo-Vygotskyan interpretation which actually
> > rejects "activity" as a unit of analysis for anything but behavior,
> > and most certainly as a unit of psychological analysis. Seth's
> > argument was pragmatist: for certain practical applications, we need
> > new interpretations, including revisionist ones. Mine was an argument
> > in favor of species diversity: when the revisionist account supplants
> > the original to such a degree that Vygotsky's original argument is no
> > longer accessible to people, we need to go back to original texts (and
> > this is why it is so important to make the original texts at least
> > recoverable--once they are gone, it is really a whole species of
> > thinking that has become extinct).
> >
> > 1.   Could you guide us to a text you recommend where this interpretation
> > is laid out?
> > 2. What sort of revision was Seth suggesting and why?
> >
> > I have been reading Russian discussions around this issue. Clarification
> > would be helpful.
> > mike
> >
> >
> >
> > On Sun, Oct 5, 2014 at 12:37 AM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> >> This morning I had the great pleasure of waking up in my own bed and
> >> listening to Yo-yo Ma, Emanuel Ax and Itzhak Perlman playing this:
> >>
> >>  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRkWCOTImOQ
> >>
> >> It's the D Major Cello sonata number two by Mendelssohn, played, as
> >> Yo-yo Ma tells us, on the Davydov (no, that THAT Davydov) Stradivarius
> >> that was probably used to perform the sonata for the very first time
> >> in front of Mendelssohn himself. Now, throughout this concert, Ma has
> >> been something of a stickler for "the original", and Perelman has been
> >> pulling politely but pointedly towards a more personal interpretation.
> >>
> >> So at around 6:45 on the clip, Perelman tells Ma that if Mendelssohn
> >> himself had heard the sonata played on that very cello, then he,
> >> Perelman, was sitting in the very seat that Mendelssohn had occupied,
> >> and that therefore his freer interpretation was really closer to
> >> Mendelssohn than any attempt to recreate the sonata with period
> >> instruments. Mercifully, at this point, Ax interupts them and starts
> >> to play.
> >>
> >> Back in Sydney, Seth Chaiklin and I found ourselves in a somewhat
> >> similar argument, with Seth in Perelman's chair, and me clinging
> >> rather obstinately to a paleo-Vygotskyan interpretation which actually
> >> rejects "activity" as a unit of analysis for anything but behavior,
> >> and most certainly as a unit of psychological analysis. Seth's
> >> argument was pragmatist: for certain practical applications, we need
> >> new interpretations, including revisionist ones. Mine was an argument
> >> in favor of species diversity: when the revisionist account supplants
> >> the original to such a degree that Vygotsky's original argument is no
> >> longer accessible to people, we need to go back to original texts (and
> >> this is why it is so important to make the original texts at least
> >> recoverable--once they are gone, it is really a whole species of
> >> thinking that has become extinct).
> >>
> >> David Kellogg
> >> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> >>
> >> PS: Andy, what shocked me about Bonnie Nardi's plenum in Sydney was
> >> not her use of "society" or "object": actually, I think I would have
> >> liked it better if she had used those terms a little more imprecisely,
> >> in their folk meanings. In fact, a little more IMPRECISION might have
> >> made it even clearer to us the sheer horror of what she was
> >> contemplating.
> >>
> >> For those on the list who missed it, the plenary focused on a world
> >> without jobs--that is, a world where five-day forty-hour jobs are
> >> replaced by "micro-work". Nardi admitted that this was a rather
> >> dystopian state of affairs--but she also showed us what she called the
> >> "bright side": more leisure, less greenhouse gases, and also human
> >> identities less narrowly tied to work. As one person in the conference
> >> pointed out, and Nardi confirmed, it would also mean more time for the
> >> spiritual side of life.
> >>
> >> What was not pointed out was the effect of all this on the "object" of
> >> "society", using both terms in their folk senses. The working class is
> >> being ground down into the economic position of short term sex workers
> >> and atomized into the social position of housewives. Inequality is now
> >> at levels not seen since 1820. Even a cursory study of history tells
> >> us that the result of this is not going to be individual spirituality
> >> but rather more violence. The only "bright side" I can see is if that
> >> force is organized, social, and directed against social equality
> >> rather than against fellow members of the working class.
> >>
> >> dk
> >>
> >>
> >> On 5 October 2014 13:38, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
> >> > I found Kaptelinin's article in MCA invaluable, Mike. Bonnie Nardi I
> had
> >> the
> >> > great pleasure of meeting for the first time at ISCAR, and if she has
> >> > written something on "object" that is very good news.
> >> > I don't think the problem is intractable, though I don't think one
> good
> >> book
> >> > or one good article is enough. But for example, for a long while I
> have
> >> been
> >> > jumping up and down about how people use the word "perezhivanie"
> without
> >> an
> >> > article (the, a, an some, etc) implying it is some kind of "substance"
> >> > whereas in Russian it is a count noun. While there remains outstanding
> >> > differences about what perezhivanie means, I notice that almost all
> bar
> >> one
> >> > now use it with an article. So, however that happened that is a step
> >> > forward, and people are aware of the differences in interpretation and
> >> they
> >> > are being discussed. I think if we talk about "object" for a while,
> maybe
> >> > this can be straightened out. I know the task of conceptual
> consistency
> >> in
> >> > our research community seems to be a hopeless task, but I am
> optimistic.
> >> >
> >> > Andy
> >> >
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >> > *Andy Blunden*
> >> > http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >> >
> >> >
> >> > mike cole wrote:
> >> >>
> >> >> Those certainly seem like lively topics, Andy.
> >> >> I had in mind specifically topics that are on peoples' minds that go
> U
> >> >> discussed. I hope that the time spent at ISCAR produces a shower of
> >> >> interesting ideas. Isn't that the object of such gatherings?
> (Whatever
> >> >> object means!).  :-). The Nardi and Kaptelinin chapter on basics of
> AT
> >> is
> >> >> one good source, but it seems the problem is intractable!
> >> >>
> >> >> Mike
> >> >>
> >> >> On Saturday, October 4, 2014, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
> >> >> <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
> >> >>
> >> >>     I don't know, but it's hardly surprising if things were a little
> >> >>     slow this last week as a lot of xmca-ers are also iscar-ers and
> we
> >> >>     were all chatting like crazy in Sydney at the ISCAR Congress.
> >> >>     Everyone (and I mean everyone, including every passenger on a
> >> >>     Sydney suburban train as well) has their iPhones and tablets
> etc.,
> >> >>     so they could read/write on xmca, but I guess they were
> >> >>     oversupplied with correspondents and protagonists.
> >> >>
> >> >>     My impressions of CHAT research:
> >> >>     On the positive side: very diverse, and at its best, sharp and
> >> >>     critical in relation to the dominant political forces, and still
> >> >>     way out in front in understanding the several developmental
> >> >>     processes which all contribute to our actions (phylogenesis,
> >> >>     historical genesis, mesogenesis, ontogenesis, microgenesis), and
> >> >>     not focussing on just one. And I have to say it is a great
> >> >>     community of research, relatively lacking in the competitiveness
> >> >>     and jealousy which infects most research communities.
> >> >>
> >> >>     On the negative side:
> >> >>
> >> >>        * Most CHAT people still have a concept of "society" as some
> >> >>          homogeneous, abstract entity which introduces problems into
> the
> >> >>          social situation on which they try to focus, i.e., people
> lack
> >> a
> >> >>          viable social theory or the ability to use theory they have
> to
> >> >>          analyse the wider social situation in a differentiated way.
> >> >>        * The idea of "unit of analysis" is almost lost to us. Only a
> >> small
> >> >>          minority know what it means and use the idea in their
> research.
> >> >>        * The concept of "object" is at the centre of a lot of
> confusion;
> >> >>          few researchers using the concept are clear on what the
> concept
> >> >>          is. This is related to an unwillingness to confront and
> >> >>     attempt to
> >> >>          resolve the methodological differences (I refer to
> systematic
> >> >>          difference, rather than accidental misunderstandings) within
> >> the
> >> >>          CHAT community; perhaps it's fear of losing the relatively
> >> civil
> >> >>          relations between researchers - people prefer to let
> >> differences
> >> >>          just fester without openly discussing them. The old Soviet
> >> >>          approach is gone, but perhaps we have gone too far the other
> >> >>     way. :)
> >> >>
> >> >>     Andy
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >> >>     *Andy Blunden*
> >> >>     http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/
> >> >>     <http://home.pacific.net.au/%7Eandy/>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>     mike cole wrote:
> >> >>
> >> >>         Hi-- I assume you grabbed it from my erroneous response to
> >> >>         someone who
> >> >>         wrote backto xmca instead of me.
> >> >>
> >> >>         Had dinner with tim ingold yesterday evening. Such an
> >> >>         interesting and
> >> >>         unassuming guy.
> >> >>
> >> >>         Any ideas about how to broaden/enliven the xmca discussion??
> >> >>
> >> >>         mike
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >> --
> >> >> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with
> an
> >> >> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >>
> >> >
> >>
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an
> > object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.
>



-- 
It is the dilemma of psychology to deal with a natural science with an
object that creates history. Ernst Boesch.