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[Xmca-l] Re: Medium, Agent, and Range

Any possibility that you are translating the German text into Korean via an English intermediary, David?


> On Apr 4, 2016, at 5:45 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
> A lot of Andy's work can be seen as an attempt to rehabilitate the subject,
> and to rescue activity theory from a simplistic object-orientation that
> inheres in the use of terms like "aim" and "goal" and in the activity
> theory tendency to collapse sign and tool. In some ways, the "collaborative
> project" is a step in that direction, so long as we accept that
> collaborative projects are NOT a step in the direction of
> non-differentiation between subject and object but rather in the direction
> of multi-variate differentiation: subjects can have objects (goals), but
> they can also be themselves the medium of a fairly unbounded process
> (agents), or direct activity to within a range (scope).
> Compare:
> "I'm having a bad reaction to chemo." (goal)
> "I'm suffering." (agent)
> "I'm feeling like I want to die and nobody cares." (range)
> Right now, I'm working on Vygotsky's lectures on the Crisis at Three. There
> are two--the first one, which is the one you can read in Volume Five of the
> English CW (4 in the Russian CW) is deeply unsatisfactory by Vygotsky's own
> standards: he says he's going to tell us the neoformations (critical
> neoformations which will "melt into thin air" or at least become dependent
> parts of the next stable neoformation, namely play), he's going to give us
> the lines of development and above all he's going to tell us the next zone
> of development (the ZPD, which of course he measures in YEARS and nobody
> else bothers to!)
> He doesn't do ANY of this. Instead, he gives us some pop science, on the
> level of the "Terrible Twos", which in Russian is really called the "Seven
> Stars" (i.e. the Pleiades, or maybe the Big Dipper): negativism,
> stubbornness, obstinacy, wilfulness, protest/rebellion, rejectionism, and
> despotism/jealousy. That's a set of parent complaints, not a theory. He
> does start to analyse the complaints, and he promises two case studies. But
> then he simply winds up the lecture with two conclusions that he could have
> easily drawn from his analysis of the first two stars of the Pleiades.
> Fortunately, there's more--a LOT more--in the Korotaeva manuscript, which
> is three times as long as the fragment in the CW. Vygotsky DOES analyse the
> first two stars by distinguishing precisely between an object-oriented
> negativism and a negativism oriented towards the social situation of
> development--towards others in the environment. He does the same thing with
> stubbornness. But in order to see him do it, you MUST have Andy's more
> complex understanding of subject-object relations. You also have to have a
> clear sense of a critical period as one where the child tries to become the
> medium and the agent, tries to "turn the tables" on the environment,
> becoming, for a brief and unsuccessful period, the SOURCE and not just the
> SITE of development.
> (I was thinking this morning that this was the great tragedy of the
> USSR--when the German revolution failed, people went without shoes and
> waited for it to succeed. Until Stalin told them that the USSR would be
> the medium and not the beneficiary, the SOURCE and not just the SITE of
> revolutionary development....)
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University