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[Xmca-l] Re: ON SOCIAL SITUATION OF DEVELOPMENT



David,
Esteemed Planners and organizers with the support of the AT LARGE arranged for us to mark our "trivial off-topics" as "deletable" or "optional" . Hence the subject line .
You usually resort to Halliday's notions to justify your claims which are so instructive to me on both support and denial . Hence asking you to help me which was done generously . 
At the time , I was reading Halliday's account of Nigel . In the middle of the task , I thought it better to ask you to direct me to more relevant material in regard to the connection between Vygotsky and Halliday but I could not find "How do we mean?" which page of which you had alluded to . I went to Ruqaiya Hasan , found her dialogue with Mike . It ended with my reading of 50 page long book or article by Gordon Wells . 
I found out it's not the case that Gordon Wells , as against some or most of our esteemed participants , leans unidirectinally towards word and broader conceptions (semiosis,semiotics) unaware of the much-quoted marxist notions in Vygotsky's works . And this is what is so vital for me . Hence my reading of Andy's recent article on Academia which ends in accepting the reciprocity of the two concepts , word and deed which is again so vital to me (remove your accusation against me indicating I see everything in the act) . I'm not allowed to quote Andy but with me it thusly came out not well-wrought :
Yes , yes , fantastic ! The spark which sprang from the hitting (of the hammer on the nail as labour activity) soared to consciousness which fit a human environment which cradled the word which grew up to its supremacy which rewarded the hitting this time with a golden hammer . 
This needs support on the part of Vygotsky who is , through his many situated quotes and with no doubt , a true marxist but his explicit marxist notions are denied purposefully so that not just our world of mentality but also our world of living become all-signing . And this is one support , first of my quotes :

[[More  generally,  in  his  writings  on  this  issue,  Vygotsky  was  concerned  to establish  two  very  important  principles.  The  first  was  that  the  intellectual  devel- 
opment  of  the  individual  cannot  be  understood  without  taking  into  account  his  or her  interactions  with  other  people  (emanating from her interactions with the objects/world-later quotes-my emphasis) in  his  or  her  social  environment;  as  he  puts  it, “the  levels  of  generalization  in  [the  thinking  of]  a  child  correspond  strictly  to  the levels  in  the  development  of  social  interaction”  Vygotsky,  19.56,  p.  432;  quoted in  Wertsch,  1983,  p.  26).  And  the  second  was  that  this  social  environment  is itself  influenced  by  the  wider  culture  which  varies  according  to  the  forms  and organization  of  labor  activity  that  are  practiced  and  the  material  and  semiotic tools  that  are  employed.]] 

This is all clear and quite relevant to the current discussion ; how is it not , SSD ? and the relevant question on the part of a respectable inquirer to the effect of whether SSD is the same as the environment and where is the difference ? and how could it be a unit of analysis with its versatile components , that is , itself covering tools , signs , word , let alone , rules , community , division of labour , etc.  

And the second was that this social environment is ITSELF influenced by the WIDER CULTURE WHICH VARIES ACCORDING TO THE FORMS AND ORGANIZATION OF [[LABOUR ACTIVITY]] that are practiced and the MATERIAL and semiotic tools that are employed . Is this not the very socio-economic formation five of which were recognized by Marx and just recently slightly? mocked at? 

Erratics are always due ; but what I think is Vygotsky's cultural psychology was based (and could not be otherwise at the specific era of historical events) on Marx's labour theory , that is , having been considered as superstructure ; the bigger world knows Mike Cole accountable for this (a marxist take) as Dr.Macombe decided to introduce him as the top leader of the Activity Theory .

Other quotes are related , too , and most explicitly speak to this debate . 
One suggestion : I doubt if 800 people all need to read all the materials you send or know all the philosophers / scholars you introduce ; so , please don't consider it enough to put it thusly ...  as x said ... y declared ...    

Best
Haydi      From: David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
 To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> 
 Sent: Monday, 23 March 2015, 3:26:22
 Subject: [Xmca-l] "Language" vs. "Speech"
   
First of all, I think the main problem with Haydi's "food for thought" is
not that it appears, deus ex machina, with a subject line that makes it
almost impossible to join to any current or even past thread. I think the
main problem is that it's not sourced. I recognize, it, though: it's a set
of quotations from Gordon Wells' 1999 work, "Dialogic Inquiry", which was
an attempt to synthesize Vygotsky's work with that of Michael Halliday.

I was enchanted with this book when it first came out, and I still find
passages of it quite remarkable (e.g. Wells' identification of ideation
with intra-mental uses of speech, something that I think neither Halliday
nor Vygotsky would agree with). But the part of it that Haydi wants us
(well, me, anyway) to remark is actually related to an issue that surfaces
now and again in many of our discussions (e.g. the extent to which
"perizhivanie" is untranslatable, the distinction between "obuchenie" and
"learning", etc..)

On the face of it, what Wells says is contradictory. If semiotic behavior
is by definition a process of meaning, how can material action be a form of
semiotic behavior without being a form of meaning?  It cannot. But in fact
what Halliday did was to distinguish between semiotic behavior and semantic
behavior. Semiotic behavior is everywhere--everything we do has to refer to
something else: backwards, to a motive, and forwards to an outcome. But
semantics is a stratum of language--it's what happens when we select from
the material world phenomena and processes that we intend (mean in the
intentional sense) to encode as language.

I think it goes without almost without saying (no pun intended) that
language is not the "tool of tools" but rather the neoformation of
neoformations: we see that in Vygotsky's ontogenetic stages, every major
neoformation is centrally concerned with language in general, and semantics
in particular. In fact, the formation of the personality is largely a
matter of selecting from the social situation of development those elements
which constitute the child's "I".

But then why does Vygotsky say that speech is only a neoformation in early
childhood, and that at school age speech becomes a peripheral line of
development? I think the answer is that "speech" in Vygotsky is actually
much narrower than "language". And this alone tells us how very wrong our
predecessors were to translate Vygotsky's magnum opus as "Thought and
Language".

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies