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[Xmca-l] Re: Unreading Althusser

David -- My French was more or less wiped out and supplanted by Russian.
barbaric in either case, so I cannot comment properly on Seve. However, I
believe that the same "early/late"
Marx argument applies to the LSV-ANL controversy which it seems we went
over pretty thoroughly a few months ago. There is an authoritarian, and in
the Soviet case, Stalinist "affordance" to Leontiev's version of activity
theory. That makes it, ironically, a neat
tool for organizing all sorts of activities for "upbringing" the young.
Might even sneak into the learning sciences and STEM research.

Interestingly, Yrjo, for whom ANL was a major early inspiration, focuses on
development as breaking away and uses clever methods of cheating in Finnish
schools to illustrate principles of dual stimulation.


On Sat, Feb 7, 2015 at 5:14 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:

> Although it is framed as a discussion of the Bakhtin "disputed texts"
> question, Seve's article in "Contretemps" (see Juan's posting) raises a
> much more important problem en passant. Seve would like us all to unread
> Althusser, and he sees Vygotsky as a key figure in doing this.
> Althusser argued that the early "humanist" Marx of the Manifesto and of the
> German Ideology was entirely supplanted by a mature, anti-humanist Marx of
> Capital and the Grundrisse. This anti-humanist Marx was essentially a
> structuralist: the commodity was a little like the "Selfish Gene" of
> Richard Dawkins, using the individual instrumentally to construct a society
> in its own image.
> As Seve points out, this kind of "Marxism" is particularly conducive
> to Stalinism and even post-Stalinist ideas of how activity can structure
> the human personality, but it is not at all conducive to understanding how
> language can structure a human personality. It's conducive to Bukharinist
> and even Foucaultian ideas of how society reproduces itself, virus-like, in
> the individual, but it's not at all conducive to understanding,
> contrariwise, a personality and even a whole socialist society as the
> result of human individuation. That's where Vygotsky comes in.
> I remarked earlier that Seve considers "Mind in Society" to be a
> "characteristically Anglo-American" distortion of Vygotsky's ideas about
> individuation. What I didn't mention was that Seve considers that this
> distortion was at least better than the situation that held in France until
> 1985, when his wife brought out the first (!) translation of Vygotsky's
> work into French (the French version of HDHMF is only now being brought
> out!).  Distortion is, after all, always better than outright suppression;
> a careful reader can go along ways towards undistorting a text, but you
> can't undistort silence.
> David Kellogg
> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> PS:
> Seve also mentions, tantalizingly, that the heirs to the Vygotsky family
> archive have sold all rights to a prestigious Canadian publisher, and this
> publisher has yet to bring out a single volume. Does anyone know the
> publisher in question?
> dk

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