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[Xmca-l] Re: Unreading Althusser

I want to repeat the question at the end of David's message, about the "prestigious Canadian publisher" who has bought all the rights to the Vygotsky archives.  Does anyone know anything about that?


Helena Worthen

On Feb 7, 2015, at 5:14 PM, David Kellogg 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