Re: Leont'ev-Vygotsky controversy

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Fri Feb 13 2004 - 09:42:06 PST

I can contribute something to the different ways that potentials in
cultural-historical psychology circa 1930 are differentially understood
depending upon national context, Eugene. And I think your guess about
why Leontiev's emphasis on activity/instrumentalism was more acceptable
to vulgar marxism/Stalinism is plausible. But the real winner in that
whole argument in the 1930's was Rubenshtein, not Leontiev. And then,
in the 1950's, Rubenshtein was marginalized (perhaps helped toward the
margin by Leontiev?), and then in the 1980's, Rubenshteinian ideas
took over the Institute of Psychology in the Academy of Sciences and
Davydov was kicked out of the Inst in Academy of Pedagogical sciences.
So many cross-currents internal to Soviet/Russian society (even
Leningrad/Moscow competition).

But as I said in my last note, our time for seriously delving into the
various questions is limited. Those who have the time and can bring forward
new materials to think with should help us out by making them available.

When i get the time I will try to post my response to a series of criticial
reviews os *Cultural Psychology* that were published a couple of years ago
in Moscow. I can't provide the reviews in English, but people can read
them backwards, so to speak, from the response.


PS-- I promise not to tell Tulviste or Toomela that they were identified
on xmca as Russians. Never cross an Estonian nationalist unless you are
prepared to run like hell! :-)

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