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[Xmca-l] Re: LSV versus ANL

Hello Juan,

I agree with you that one must understand Marxism to understand Vygotsky clearly. Darwin's theory too. My grasp upon these topics is tenuous and I would benefit to know more.

In my past, it has been difficult to enjoy dispassionate conversations about Marxism in my circles without the distractions of how much I don't know about Marxism, or how much Marx didn't know about capitalism; neither position is helpful. Perhaps Marxism is a hot potato still.

Certainly there are claims that even the Soviets did not understood Marxism properly and that that may be why Vygotsky had such a hard time. If Marxism has been so difficult a topic, why should it be different for us who have come late to the table? We do have the power of hindsight, but has this helped?

For any thinker's work, it is highly relevant to understand the contemporary milieu in which that person worked. That is why I look to historical context to unlock Vygotsky's work, not just his texts. However, I find a political specter rises from the grave when discussing Marxism and kills all prospects before understanding can begin. It is perplexing. I wonder if it is why Vygotsky will remain elusive to us post-moderns.

I wish I could read the Castorina & Baquero paper, but I cannot read Spanish very well. Would it be asking too much of you to list the relevant points made in that paper? I would very much be interested!


From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> on behalf of Juan Duarte <juanma.duarte@gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 5:39 AM
To: ablunden@mira.net; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: LSV versus ANL

I´m sorry for couldn´t answer -neither red all the messages- previously.
But what i was reffering was precisely the fact that the "unit of analysis"
in Vigotsky is not understandable without taking Marx and Engels method, as
Vygotsky himself writes, for example, in his manuscript The historical
meaning of the chrisis in psychology.
There´s is the need of psychology´s own Das Kapital. And the units of
analisis in LV are built in a dialectical way. So, it´s -for me, at least-
surprising to read so much about the marxist psychologist, and preciselly
about method, and very few comments about the fact he was marxist. To
understand the concept of "unit of analysis" is to know, for example, the
method of Das Kapital, where Marx takes the value as a cell, unit of
diverse and opposits, change value and use value, wich cannot be separated
without loosing the whole. So is the use of Meaning (unit of though and
language), for example.

Well, that´s my point. And know that there are many that thake this point
of view. Andy, for example.

Thanks a lot for the fruitful interchange.
I send you, if anyone is interested, an article about the marxism in LV (in
spanish). Here, in Argentina, Jose Castorina and Ricardo Baquero have
worked through this line, in a very interesting work.
Juan Duarte (Argentina).

2014-10-20 21:08 GMT-03:00 Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>:

> Returning to Leontyev's critique of Vygotsky, ANL claimed that
> perezhivanie, as a manifestation of the whole personality, cannot be the
> determinant of personality, because that would be a logical circle. But it
> seems to me that ANL failed to understand how Vygotsky’s analysis by units
> allows him to avoid the reductionism into which ANL then ventures. If a
> complex process is to be explained by something _else_, then its analysis
> is _reduced_  to the analysis of that something else. Analysis by units
> allows Vygotsky to avoid reductionism because the analysis begins from a
> concept of the whole complex process represented in a unit, not the whole,
> but a small fragment of the whole, such that the whole can be seen as being
> made up of very many such fragments only. Absent Vygotsky's method of
> analysis by units, and Leontyev's Activity Theory is in danger of
> collapsing to a reductionism that actually explains nothing.
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> http://home.pacific.net.au/~andy/