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[Xmca-l] Re: Dynamics of Developmental Change
It's astonishing to me how much of this is in Vygotsky's chapter on infancy
and also in his work on The Crisis at One.
a) Vygotsky vigorously denies that the newborn is a purely instinctive
being; he argues precisely the opposite, that the evidence is that the
newborn's instincts are extremely weak, and even those that exist (to do
with feeding and positioning) are not "spinal", "medullar", or even purely
"midbrain" in their mediation but instead linked to an undeveloped cortex.
b) Vygotsky says that most writers on infancy consider that social smiling
is the THE key milestone which marks off the newborn period from infancy.
Vygotsky says it isn't. Infancy begins with "receptive interest in the
world", and it is only reciprocated in later periods of infancy (what
Halliday calls proto-conversation).
c) In HDHMF, Vygotsky tries to work out a typology of the different forms
of higher cultural behavior. He does this through the method Andy calls
immanent critique: he takes Thorndike's two level scheme and finds it
doesn't explain intellect at all; he then adopts Buhler's three level
scheme and finds that, 1) Buhler over-extends it to cover both humans and
animals and both children and adults, and 2) it doesn't explain volition at
all, since intellect too is a form of adaptation. In the infancy chapter,
Vygotsky argues that the roots of ALL of the forms of behavior (instinct,
habit, intellect and volition) are right there in infancy--in the form of
Halliday too argues against the "blank slate": he points out that each of
the different grammatical forms associated with what appears in Vygotsky as
crises and stable age periods has a "proto-" period ( which in my scheme
corresponds to the crisis) and a "proper" period (which corresponds to the
CRISIS STABLE PERIOD
infancy conversation proper
early childhood language proper
crisis at three protonarrative/dialog
preschool narrative and
crisis at seven protodiscourse
school age discourse proper
crisis at 13 prototurn taking
puberty turn-taking proper
Halliday, M.A.K. (1978) Meaning and the Construction of Reality. In Modes
of Perceiving and Processing Information (H.L. Pick and E. Saltzman Eds),
Hillside, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 67-96, Also in the Collected Works of
M.A.K. Halliday, Voll 4, pp. 113-143).
On Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 1:07 AM, Peg Griffin <Peg.Griffin@att.net> wrote:
> Thank you, Mike -- and Martin and Sheila!
> Good material to think with and a nudge to look again at Barbara Means'
> baby reports.
> Tangentially, you know those strollers for babies that are reversible --
> the reclining baby can be looking toward the person pushing the stroller or
> with a switch the baby can be looking at the same world the pusher sees?
> Maybe different affordances for proto-conversations within one wider
> culture (don't know of any studies) and possible mini-impacts on
> developments like smiling?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com [mailto:
> firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of mike
> Sent: Monday, September 07, 2015 3:20 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Dynamics of Developmental Change
> I have been trying to think of a way to more concretely engage David's
> developmental domainsxstages table. One of David's stage margins is at 3
> months and there is ample reason for arguing for the existence a stage
> shift in development at this time. (My wife and I wrote about it in just
> this way in our textbook).
> However, there is also a lot of interesting, newer, evidence showing the
> cultural-historical contingency of the changes that underpinned the
> developmental literature for several decades.
> I thought that perhaps this example, since it is pretty well worked out,
> might help us get at the issues David raised. I believe this work could
> usefully be related to notions of zopeds, but am not sure.
> This rather long fragment is taken from a recent article that Martin and I
> (For this one, not only Boesch but Waddington are apt: The latter having
> written that every new level of development implies a new, relevant,
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch