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[Xmca-l] Re: RES: Re: Child Development: Understanding a Cultural Perpsective

Hi Alfredo,

I completely agree with you. If you’ll allow me to cite myself again…


A strong case could be made that this book should have considered the entire human lifespan. Developmental researchers have tended to assume that the endpoint of development is the start of adulthood, and that development is the process of the child achieving adult status. However, it should now be clear to the reader that human psychological development involves the entire span of human life, the cycle of ontogenesis from birth to death. This cycle should be understood not solely in terms of the individual who lives and dies, but also in terms of the social relations of reproduction in a community.

There has been an unprecedented increase in life expectancy (see figure below), and this book has told only part of the story of the human life cycle. As young people become parents and then grandparents, or as they become teachers, coaches, or recognized community figures, their lives intersect and interact with those of children, both their own and those of other people. The stages from infant to adolescent are not separate and distinct from later stages of the lifecycle. We have seen that parents and caregivers play a crucial role in a young child’s development. Even death has an intimate connection to birth: human life truly is a cycle, albeit one that extends as a helix through time.

Viewed this way, the human life cycle is a process in which:

persons are formed and dissolved, move between dependent impotence and independent authority, divide and multiply their being through relations with others, know more and less about the world, and acquire and lose the capacity to change it. (Robertson 1996, p. 591)

It is worth emphasizing one more time that nature and culture are not opposed but operate together, and we can see this in the fact that the human lifespan is longer today than at many times in the past, and in many parts of the world it is growing even longer, probably because nutrition and healthcare are postponing the senescence programmed into our genes. As a result, many infants will interact not only with parents but grandparents and even great-grandparents, as never before in human existence. This intergenerational contact and interaction creates opportunities for a variety of influences on the child, including mentorship, advice, alliances, and a richer density of social relations.

On May 19, 2017, at 5:32 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no<mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>> wrote:

These seem very interesting contributions in that they bring forth structural aspects necessary for a *developmental* explanation. But, as someone educated in general psychology and the learning sciences, but who still has much to learn from developmental psychology, I always wonder why these characterisations often refer to characteristics of the child and tend to end in *adulthood*, as in Martin's sequence, but tend to say nothing about adult change in that relation. (By the way, David, can you clarify or refer us where we could get a better grasp of why "pre-life" would be an adequate label for a reformation???)

I can understand that there are different disciplines within developmental psychology, one of which is concerned with child (and not adult) development, just as other disciplines may deal with adult development, professional development, etc. But we read in Martin's own quotations that, "transitions [across periods] are truly changes not only in the child but in the whole child-caregiver-niche system of which she is a component"

If these transitions truly are transitions for the child-caregiver-niche system, then the issue of age periods also and at the same time brings with it not only the issue of niche periods (which I see can be addressed with the notion of Social Situation of Development and ZPD), but also the issue of adult development as part of that system. Does not it? But then, is it about "age"? I certainly feel and can recognise that I am deeply changed in and through educating. I am not the same person I was before I begun my participant ethnography as an assistant teacher at an arts-based elementary school. Certainly with regard to how I organise my praxis in a classroom, it could be said that many of the primary functions that characterise my behavior have been re-organised leading to new formations (e.g., of listening, caring, orienting, responding).

If the "primitive" but also adult "Kaffir" about which Vygotsky speaks in his writings may possibly shift from "dreaming" to "thinking" as a means to achieve the same higher psychological function, namely decision making, is it "age" periods what should be the focus?

These are not rhetorical but genuine questions from someone hoping to learn from/with you all.

From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu<mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu> <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu<mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>> on behalf of Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net<mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>
Sent: 19 May 2017 18:02
To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu<mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: RES: Re: Child Development: Understanding a Cultural Perpsective


Andy Blunden

On 20/05/2017 1:45 AM, Martin John Packer wrote:
Hi David,

Here’s how I handled the matter of the age periods: the stages and crises; tell me what you think.

Infancy - A Practical Understanding of the World
Infancy - Towards Biological Differentiation
Toddlerhood - A World of Irresistible Invitations
Toddlerhood - Towards Psychological Differentiation
Early Childhood  - How Things Appear, And How They Are
Early Childhood  - Towards Inner and Outer
Middle Childhood - Understanding Institutional Reality
Middle Childhood - Towards the Actual and the Possible
The Teenage Years - Adolescent, or Adult?
The Teenage Years - Towards Adulthood

The “Towards” in these chapter titles reflects the fact that I needed to treat each stage in two chapters, and there was usually less to say about each crisis than about each stage, so I couldn’t dedicate a whole chapter to each crisis. Here’s how I described the notions of ‘stage’ and ‘transition’:

"Stages are qualitatively distinct from one another, not only in the form of intelligence that the child employs (as Piaget noted), but also in the child’s way of being in the world. Each stage involves a specific way of relating to the world and relating to self, and as a result of this a new way of experiencing and understanding.

"Transitions are those times when new properties rapidly emerge. A transition is a point of inflection, a crisis. In a transition there is a dramatic change in the child’s way of being in the world, so that she discovers new possibilities in that world and gains a new sense of herself: of her abilities, her capacities. During the stage that follows, the child progressively masters this new way of living in the world. These transitions are truly changes not only in the child but in the whole child-caregiver-niche system of which she is a component.”

And the diagram below (if it comes through) illustrates the sequence (I think the third should read Appearance & Reality).



On May 18, 2017, at 7:27 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com<mailto:dkellogg60@gmail.com>> wrote:

Martin, I think if I'd written something like that I'd be pretty shameless
too. (A propos--or by the bye--do you have a publisher for the Shpet
schtick you are up to...?)

Here's something for the revised edition. The way Vygotsky explains "Great
We" in the Pedological Lectures is a little different and a lot wittier. He
says it is a "Grandwe" in the sense of your Grandpa--that is, the "we" was
there before you were even a gleam in your Daddy's eye. (Vygotsky likes to
address the students with "You and we").

I have been thinking how to "popularize" the age periods without
vulgarizing them (you know, what Bruner says about being able to teach
anything to anybody in some honest way).

You and we (our little Grandwe) know perfectly well that Vygotsky measured
that zone of proximal development in years (it's a "next" zone of
development, so it doesn't make any sense to talk about it unless:

a) you have the age periods and

b) you have some set of problems--not the Binet problems!--that will
correlate in some non-arbitrary way to the next age period.

That means that the "next zone of development" for Vygotsky studies is not
to try to turn him into a failed Gestaltist (pace Yasnitsky and van der
Veer) but rather to try to figure out some way to get people to take the
age periods seriously no matter how busy and how impatient with Vygotsky's
discursive and apparently indecisive formulations they are.

What do you think of this?

Birth--Social Situation of Development: Instinct confronted by
intersubjectivity. Central Neoformation: "Pre-we"
Infancy--SSD: Physiologically independent but biologically dependent:
CNF: "Grandwe"
One--SSD: Proto-speech confronted by proper speech. CNF: "Pre-speech"
Early Childhood--SSD: Biologically independent but interpersonally
(interactionally) dependent. CNF: "Grandspeech"
Three--SSD: Affect confronted by the 'antipode' of will.  CNF: "Pre-will"
Preschool--SSD: Interpersonally independent but psychologically dependent
('reactive' learning). CNF: "Grandwill"
Seven--SSD: Inner personality confronted by outer persona. CNF: "Pre-me"
School Age: Psychologically independent but intellectually
(academically) dependent. CNF: "Grandme"
Thirteen: Original thinking confronted by imitation. CNF: "Pre-concepts"
Adolescence: Intellectually independent but socioeconomically dependent.
CNF: "Grandconcepts" (nontheoretical concepts, tinged with concrete
Seventeen SSD: In the USSR, school leaving. CNF: "Pre-Life"

You could write the Crises on your palm and the Stable Periods along each
finger. (Hard to read it, though....)

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

"The Great Globe and All Who It Inherit:
Narrative and Dialogue in Story-telling with
Vygotsky, Halliday, and Shakespeare"

Free Chapters Downloadable at:


Recent Article: Thinking of feeling: Hasan, Vygotsky, and Some Ruminations
on the Development of Narrative in Korean Children

Free E-print Downloadable at:


On Thu, May 18, 2017 at 9:10 AM, Maria Judith Sucupira Costa Lins <
mariasucupiralins@terra.com.br> wrote:

Thank you for the chapter. Maria

-----Mensagem original-----
De: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
Em nome de Martin John Packer
Enviada em: quarta-feira, 17 de maio de 2017 20:05
Para: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
Assunto: [Xmca-l] Re: Child Development: Understanding a Cultural

Thanks Alfredo. It was fun to write, and it would not have been possible
except for what I have learned over the years from some very smart people,
number of whom hang out on this very discussion group.


On May 17, 2017, at 5:48 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil
<a.j.gil@iped.uio.no<mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>> wrote:

Thanks for shamelessly sharing your work, Martin. The chapter looks great.
like the way it draws connections throughout diverse theories, emphasising
common ground across dual systems theory, dynamic field theory, and

behalf of Martin John Packer
Sent: 18 May 2017 00:10
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l]  Child Development: Understanding a Cultural Perpsective

A few months ago I shamelessly promoted my new textbook, Child Development:
Understanding a Cultural Perspective, published by Sage at only $46 for the
paperback edition, $33 or less for the various electronic editions.

There is now a sample chapter available online: Chapter 5, one of the two
chapters on infancy: