Re: Gredler & Shields vs. Gutierrez & Lemke

From: Kris Gutierrez (
Date: Mon Apr 26 2004 - 20:20:49 PDT

Bill and others, I'm looping back on earlier messages;
thanks for your thoughts and instructive analysis. I guess my notions of
the Third Space have always considered it to be an expansive zone of
learning, a zoped. In a panel on space/boundaries with Jay, Yrjo, Carlos
Tejeda and others at AERA, I briefly mention several issues that were
neither developed nor addressed in the James Brown piece. Third Space was
still being theorized for me in that paper (still is).

I noted that: Accounting for the way space mediates learning is not a new
theme in our work. In studying the social and cognitive consequences of
literacy practices in urban schools, we explored the relationships between
diachronic processes of change over time with synchronic processes of change
connected with the simultaneity of activity in the multiple spaces of
learning contexts, (Gutierrez & Stone, 2000), of literacy as laminated
activity, etc. Our conceptual analysis of third spaces documented the
mutually constitutive and mutually informing nature of these spaces (in an
MCA article and others). In elaborating our ideas about the creation of
Third Spaces, we have been led to explore the productive links between that
concept and the concept of a Zone of Proximal Development (Zoped), another
spatial metaphor. Our forthcoming work expands our conceptual analysis of
the relationship between Third Spaces, with their emphasis on discourse,
hybridity, and diversity, and Zopeds, with their emphasis on expansive
learning and development.

In the MCA piece, we explicitly link third spaces to zopeds, but the point
still remains about needing more theorization, etc. I am currently working
on trying to document the grammar of third spaces, as language is certainly
key. And writing/thinking more about literacy as laminated activity. Much
work remains...

I think there is a consistent theme in the XMACA notes that reflect Cole's
take on orthodoxy (not to be mistaken for true misunderstandings and
misuse). And it's one of the many reasons I find Cole's thinking so
instructive. He recently wrote in several different pieces the following.
They are taken out of context but I think they apply.

"For myself, the slow and uneven study of the ideas of Vygotsky and his
followers have been a constant source of challenge and inspiration. I
actually believe in the five principles that Miller attributes to
contextualists and have found them enormously productive of new lines of
research and theory. I also continue to believe that the convergence and
developmental dialectic between Russian and non-Russian approaches I
imagined 15 years ago is being realized in the development a diverse,
international community of scholars who bring their own national traditions
to bear on key issues of theory and practice. The infusion of issues of
community and identity into the discussion has enriched the theory and my
own practices. What more could anyone ask?"


"Humility and caution, not pride and self-righteousness should be the result
of more deeply understanding the role of mediation of human life."

I know I take a more syncretic approach with respect to theory--especially
if one is interested in studying non-dominant groups in the U.S. But I
think I do so intentionally and with good reason. I say that I have one
foot firmly grounded in CHAT, with the other moving around strategically and
carefully in other theories that make CHAT's blindspots (and mine) more
visible, e.g. Critical race theory, feminist theories, critical spacial
theory, etc. CHAT's interdiciplinarity makes it so much more robust, I

Lots to think about. More later.

Kris Gutierrez

on 4/23/04 12:11 PM, Bill Barowy at wrote:

> I've rarely been able to read only one text at a time, unless it was something
> non-academic as fiction, biography, etc... So this late, late response to
> Kris' article is one in which i have printed and online texts surrounding me
> and I'm doing this intertextual thing, actually trying to read between the
> texts.
> The texts are of two genre's, book and research article, and this makes a
> difference because Jay Lemke's *Talking Science*, being a book, is less
> limited by space, and as a bound unit goes into more detail than Kris
> Gutierrez' *Script, counterscript...*. This is not a criticism of either,
> although it is a curiously coincidental and proportion reflection of the
> length of their respective posts to xmca! Both authors focus on speech for
> "effective classroom practice" (Kris, p 467) -- and most importantly note
> the roles of BOTH teachers and students in making this practice happen. Both
> note the enduring patterns of interaction, called 'activity structures" (Jay)
> and 'scripts' (Kris). Both see the struggle between established cultural
> practice, "reading the Los Angeles Times every morning" (Kris); "talking
> science" (Jay), with their accompanied semiotic systems, and the personal and
> social semiotics of the students. Both authors invoke heteroglossia in
> describing these differences, and both advocate breaking durable patterns of
> interaction i.e. "making trouble" (Jay, p210), creating a "disruptive form
> of underlife" (kris, p467).
> Neither Kris nor Jay address the "zone of proximal development", which
> features highly in the article by Gredler & Shields. Both Jay and Kris
> effectively draw upon units of analysis that extend beyond the individual,
> and which, if we are to believe the books "Thought and Language" (TL) and
> "Mind in Society" (MS) would make theoretical connections between the zone of
> proximal development and heteroglossia or perhaps more generally dialogism.
> Yet, Gredler &Shields, who reference neither TL nor MS (substantively) insist
> 'Vygotsky did not include the assistance of another in his definition of
> ZPD' (p. 22), and so they, it would seem, would preclude constructive
> integration of the the work of Bakhtin and Vygotsky (as well as Dewey and
> Vygotsky). Their paper is strangly reminiscent of the "dominant script" that
> Kris writes about, adapted here to refer to the competitive and exclusive
> literary actions one finds in high profile journals as the educational
> researcher. Most noteworthy is the form of the title which constructs others
> as ignorant (Silencing those without cultural knowledge?), the monologic
> exclusion of all other relevant works to the attack on Glassman's paper, i.e.
> MS, TL, etc., pulling from selected quotes to bolster claims without
> consideration of the greater theoretical context in which the quote rests
> (for example not once were the transformations from interpsychological to
> intrapsychological discussed, which might have brought in the role of
> adults/others in the zoped).
> Mind you, this is not so much a criticism of Gredler & Shields and their
> article as much as it is of the genre in which they write. Although, when I
> look at Gredler's listed publications, she has established a track-record of
> locating and attacking "misperceptions". Even higher educational academics
> fall into enacting the patterns of cultural practice, and it takes a bit of
> trouble making and disruption to break out of the status quo. I think
> Glassman does some creative breaking out and this could be why Gredler &
> Shields attack, arguably acting to sustain the staus quo. Glassman makes
> inferences, agreed, that are not as close to the words of Vygotsky as Gredler
> & Shields would like. Glassman's work seems to be more abductive -- looking
> at the comparison and contrasts in a plausible manner between Vygosky and
> Dewey. It is a form of constructive integration, an attempt to form a "third
> space" between Deweyan and Vygotskian scholars.
> Victor has posted on the Glassman-Gredler & Shields debate as a dialectical
> process, and at one level I can agree. Yet, there has to be something of
> finer texture in social change than just the synthesis of opposing poles.
> bb

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