Re: Leont'ev-Vygotsky controversy

From: Ana Marjanovic-Shane (
Date: Tue Feb 17 2004 - 20:07:53 PST

Dear Vera and all
I also think that, at some level, word meaning, or meaning in general,
can also be analyzed as an activity. In a way, making meaning is in
itself an act of creating particular relationships between the
participants (in a group, a culture, an event, a situation) and a
particular content (a topic, or an object). I think that Vygotsky had
just scratched the surface -- but he had certainly scratched it in the
right way. We are used to look at language as a ready made artifact, a
tool provided by the society for the use in mediating the world of
objects to us. But, in fact, language is not a finished and ready made
artifact, but a dynamic system of activity. This is especially visible
in the analysis of metaphor as a phenomenon. So I think that the
differences in the unit of analysis between Vygotsky and Leont'ev are
more on the surface than in the deeper analysis.
What do you think?

Vera P. John-Steiner wrote:

>I do think the discussion is useful. If you think of CHAT as a
>functional system, then some of us, particularly with strong interests
>in language, literacy and mediation will focus more on the Vygotskian
>lineage and others involved in organizational activities on the Leont'ev
>lineage. I was just reading Gita V''s recollections, and certainly the
>two families cared for each other--so we might be able to do the same,
>focus on different aspects of the theory in our contemporary historical
>context without necessarily emphasizing the differences only but some of
>the complementarities as well. In analyzing an interdisciplinary team
>with Michele Minnis, we find the Finnish work most relevant; in looking
>at metaphors I used Vygotsky to a much greater extent,

Ana Marjanovic-Shane
267-334-2905 (cell)
215-843-2909 (home)

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