RE: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's words?

From: eliza@pob.huji.ac.il
Date: Tue May 04 2004 - 04:19:13 PDT


Dear Eugene (Yevgenii),
My oppinion:
If an aggressor threatens the life of innocent people then he has to be
stopped i.e. killed, because if he gets away with it then the next potential
victims are in danger. Every aggressor automatically takes the risk of a
counter attack, so he deserves no compassion the innocent victims are the
only ones who deserve compassion. In the context of war every soldier
defending his country and people has one aim eliminate the enemy. BUT that
does not mean deriving sadistic gratification in TORTURING the enemy. As for
interrogating terrorists for vital information concerning security and
defense in my opinion the end justifies the means BUT again sadistic abuse
is not part of getting information. My brother-in-law was a POW in Egypt from
May 1970 to November 1973. There are no words to describe the atrocities done
to him (torture, rape etc.) the pictures from Iraq can give you some idea. His
mother tongue is Arabic but since his release 30 yrs. ago he refuses to use
the language like the survivors of Nazi-KZs refuse to use German. A good
illustration of this are those shocking pictures of the Tanzim abusing the
corpses of Palestinians accused of collaboration I know for a fact that in
many cases those accusations are false libels.
Concerning sadism in military context: I personally believe that there is a
connection between these high-ranking generals exploiting their power to
sexually harass women-soldiers (or young male ones) and sadistic behavior
towards the enemy. Of course there is a strong cultural element in this; for
example my husband who has been a combatant soldier since the 6-day-war has
seen a lot in his military-biography. He personally is a private from a less
privileged cultural background and he witnessed favoritism based on socio-
demographic factors. For example, his commander was a Kibbutznik of European
background and his behavior to the oriental-Jews from development towns was
outright racist. Sexual harassment was most common among the "upper-class"
rather than the "lower-class". When it came to it, those who did the real work
at the front were mostly privates for example during the Yom Kippur War my
husband fought at the Egyptian-front he was in the Chinese-Farm (a death-
trap that only very few survived) and afterwards crossed the Suez Canal the
only high ranking generals he saw out there in the fire were Ariel Sharon,
Abraham Bren, Dado Elazar and Gorodish the "Heros" Moshe Dayan, Hayim Bar-
Lev kept a very safe distance from where the simple guys where sacrificing
their lives.

Alisa

> Dear Alisa-
>
> I think your posting raises important issues such is whether military is
> inherently evil and whether "creative cruelty" like we see in Iraq is
> (in)avoidable (there are other issues, of course).
>
> In my view, military, as legitimized murder, is inherently evil but,
> sometimes, it is unavoidable evil - meaning not having military can be even
> more evil. A good example is Tutsi army that stopped genocide in Rwanda.
>
> I think that cruelties like those exposed in Iraq have to be expected from
> any army and then to think how to counteract it and minimize it. I remember
> reading in Sartre that if revolution can't win quickly, it will socialize in
> methods of its enemy. I think he made this observation based on his
> participation in French resistance. Recent revelations by McNamara about his
> participation in WWII also (about allies' deliberate and large scale efforts
> to terrorize and kill civilians of Germany and Japan to win the war) support
> this interactive socialization in the methods of enemy. I think this
> phenomena of military "crueltization" has to be study to learn how to
> minimize it (again I do not think it is possible to completely eliminate it
> from military practice).
>
> Also, it is important to study this phenomenon of military crueltization
> contextually and historically. How many political, military, and social
> "mistakes" can be done in Iraq before US military institution can be
> completely demoralized and crueltized and the public can say it's enough?
> What is alternative now?
>
> What do you think?
>
> Eugene
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: eliza@pob.huji.ac.il [mailto:eliza@pob.huji.ac.il]
> > Sent: Monday, May 03, 2004 8:10 AM
> > To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > Subject: Re: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's words?
> >
> > Concerning cruelty and motivation: My daughter, aged 17, is in a religious
> > high-school. Since the outbreak of violence in Oct. 2000 where children
> and
> > their mothers have been murdered like yesterday, or the case of Revital
> > Ochayon and her infants from Kibbutz Metzer etc. etc., my daughter and her
> > friends have been motivated to serve in the army because they feel that
> only a
> > military training can improve their ability for self defense. In religious
> > schools the whole issue of women serving in the army is taboo. But seeing
> > these cases have outweighed the social taboo. As a parent I feel
> uncomfortable
> > that my child should be exposed to 2-3 yrs of military life but on the
> other
> > hand I feel that part of her general education should involve also
> learning to
> > survive in situations like we face here today. In our day and age violence
> and
> > terror have unfortunatly become a fact of life. I can't help thinking that
> the
> > only Jews (including members of my family) who had the chance of defending
> > themselves during the holocaust where those who joined the partisans and
> got a
> > military training like for example those teenagers from the Vilna Ghetto.
> >
> > Alisa L.
> >
> > > David,
> > > Your most welcome.
> > > I agree that the practical issue is really the objective social
> processes
> > > that engender these systematic cruelties. Duhring regarded the
> struggle
> > > for political power over others as the motivating factor. Engel's
> argued
> > > that Duhring had it all backwards and that politcal economy set the
> basic
> > > conditions for systematic exploitation and oppression of men by other
> men.
> > > While I prefer Engel's - and Marx's - reasoning to that of Duhring, it's
> > > obvious that the argument from political economic conditions is hardly
> > > concrete enough to account for events that are currently producing
> > > expressions of outrage in the xmca forum.
> > >
> > > We have here a chain of violence, terror and war comprised of a complex
> > > collection of interwoven histories of religious, communal, and political
> > > conflicts going back 500 to 1000 years and going forward from almost 100
> > > years of frustrated struggle to fully participate in the developments of
> the
> > > modern industrial world and the expression of this frustration by
> > > unimaginable internal violence and the much more publicized violence of
> the
> > > most disappointed (mostly the better educated and more aware groups)
> towards
> > > the 'complacent innocents' of Europe and North America. Surely the
> issue of
> > > cheap energy and the vast fortunes made from it plays a central role
> here,
> > > but I find it hard to account for the casual cruelty of a unit of
> Marines by
> > > so abstract a concept as oil imperialism. Especially since the exercise
> of
> > > callous and murderous practices is not exclusive to them alone (I hope I
> > > don't have to elaborate here).
> > >
> > > If political economic conditions are too remote from the actual practice
> of
> > > systematic cruelty to effectively explain it fully, Milgrim's researches
> are
> > > too general. Milgrim's experiments demonstrated the obvious, that the
> > > activity of individuals is almost entirely the function of objective
> social
> > > conditions; whatever the practices considered. A more fruitful avenue
> of
> > > research could be based on researching the development of a society of
> > > mutual violence. Conditions in which the most casual aggression and
> > > suspicion of aggression instigates a cycle of escalating violence and
> > > distrust that generates mutual demonization; demonization producing in
> its
> > > turn extreme forms of negative discrimination up to and including
> genocide.
> > > Add to that formula political and economic interests that can see the
> > > possibilities of profiting from this kind of cycle and have the
> resources to
> > > feed it and you have a sure formula for the kinds of extreme violence we
> are
> > > witnessing in Iraq today.
> > >
> > > Military units and militant groups in general are extremely susceptible
> to
> > > cycles of escalating violence. They are extremely socialized (check
> Paul
> > > Adler's paper on this definition of socialization of labour), are
> prepared
> > > and poised to participate in encounters of the violent kind, and are
> often
> > > quite isolated from the non-military social relations that might
> moderate
> > > their relations with those outside their unit. Think of it: a platoon
> of
> > > Marines, none of whom speak Arabic or have any but the most remote
> relations
> > > with the civilian population and who have just experienced a frightening
> > > week of incessant guerilla warfare in the streets of Fallujah. Now,
> let's
> > > imagine (we have no hard data - only those pictures) that one of the
> > > soldiers in this unit read or heard that one of the ways in which the
> Iraqi
> > > security service imposed control over their prisoners was to have them
> strip
> > > in the presence of female officers (actually, this has been reported -
> > > though, peace, Mike - I've seen no verification)... etc. etc. All
> militant
> > > and military organizations may suffer from seemingly aimless collective
> > > criminal activity of this sort from - though it is most characteristic
> of
> > > small units under stress. Since the emergence of this cycle of violence
> and
> > > dehumanization is usually accompanied by increasing isolation of the
> group
> > > from contacts with any information that might moderate it and since the
> very
> > > isolation of the group enhances the grip of objective internal social
> > > conditions on the activity of group members, the group's behavior
> becomes
> > > positively strange to any but its members. In a sense the group's
> members
> > > become victims of the internal dynamics of the group and do things that
> they
> > > would not concieve of doing under virtually any other circumstance.
> > >
> > > Well, what do you think?
> > > Victor
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > From: <david.preiss@yale.edu>
> > > To: <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> > > Sent: Sunday, May 02, 2004 5:27 AM
> > > Subject: Re: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's words?
> > >
> > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Dear Victor,
> > > >
> > > > Thanks for the references. Your question phrased in a different way,
> > > > it is one of the big pending questions for cultural psychology. CHAT
> > > > has ussually focused more on the positive side of cultural
> > > > amplification and has left to historians and social psychologists in
> > > > the Milgram's tradition to elucidate how a totalitarian society/mind
> > > > are built. Yet I think that CHAT has advanced a theorethical framework
> > > > rich enough to provide an alternative explanation of the banality of
> > > > evil. I don't think it should drive us to forgive or to condemn. Let
> > > > us give that work to the courts. But, at least, it can provide us an
> > > > account of what are the cultural processes involved in the
> > > > construction of a totalitarian mind that goes beyond pseudo-
> > > > evolutionary speculations.
> > > >
> > > > David
> > > >
> > > > Quoting Oudeyis <victor@kfar-hanassi.org.il>:
> > > >
> > > > > Gene and Dave:
> > > > > Since Hanna Arendt wrote The Banality of Evil a considerable number
> > > > > of
> > > > > studies have been published concerning the willingness of ordinary
> > > > > men to
> > > > > participate in terrific crimes in the name of the state, the party
> > > > > and
> > > > > people. Some of the most interesting of these deal with the with
> > > > > the
> > > > > participation of the most anonymous of men - most of us - in high
> > > > > crimes
> > > > > against humanity. Not surprisingly much of this literature deals
> > > > > with the
> > > > > inconcievable practice of systematic murder on the part of many
> > > > > very
> > > > > ordinary German soldiers during WW II. Here are a few such works
> > > > > (including
> > > > > the blurbs of the publisher in parentheses:
> > > > >
> > > > > 1.Browning, Christopher R., *Ordinary Men: Reserve Police Battalion
> > > > > 101 and
> > > > > the Final Solution in Poland* (From 1942 to 1944, a unit of 500
> > > > > German
> > > > > family men too old for army service was responsible for the deaths
> of
> > > > > 83,000
> > > > > Polish Jews. Drawing on postwar interrogations of 210 former members
> > > > > of the
> > > > > battalion, Browning suggests that they were acting less out of
> > > > > deference to
> > > > > authority or fear of punishment than from the insidious motives of
> > > > > careerism
> > > > > and peer pressure. 8 pages of photographs. 2 maps)
> > > > >
> > > > > 2.Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah, *Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary
> > > > > Germans
> > > > > and the Holocaust* (In this extraordinarily controversial
> > > > > interpretation of
> > > > > the Holocaust, Goldhagen proposes that virulent anti-Semitism was
> > > > > so
> > > > > ingrained in German culture that the stage was set for the mass
> > > > > slaughter of
> > > > > the Jews long before Adolf Hitler rose to power.)
> > > > >
> > > > > I found Browning's book especially interesting since it concerns a
> > > > > military
> > > > > unit very similar to the one (not a police battalion thank god) I
> > > > > served in
> > > > > for many years. Among the most surprising of Browning's finding was,
> > > > > how few
> > > > > of these ordinary men actually refused to participate in these
> > > > > crimes
> > > > > despite the virtual absence of all official pressure for active
> > > > > participation. In the case of Reserve Police Battalion 101 a
> > > > > miniscule
> > > > > proportion of officers and men explicitly refused to take part in
> > > > > the
> > > > > genocidal mission assigned to the battalion, and these were released
> > > > > from
> > > > > that duty and transferred - without exception - to other units, and
> > > > > more
> > > > > often than not to positions of higher authority and responsibility!
> > > > >
> > > > > For those of us who are actively committed to humane practices it's
> > > > > difficult to regard wanton cruelty without immediate condemnation,
> > > > > but how
> > > > > can we relate to the findings of researchers such as Browning and
> > > > > Goldhagen?
> > > > > We should by now be aware of the fact that the activities of the
> > > > > overwhelming majority of the ordinary Germans in Reserve Police
> > > > > Battalion
> > > > > 101are not specially German, no more than the cruelties of the
> > > > > Cossack
> > > > > troopers described by I. Babel in *Red Cavalry* are particularly
> > > > > Russian or
> > > > > the war-crimes perpetrated by US soldiers in Vietnam are
> > > > > particularly
> > > > > American. The issue of collaboration in creative acts of adding
> > > > > misery to
> > > > > others is complex and not easily resolved. Can we condemn men for
> > > > > the very
> > > > > human motives of careerism and peer pressure in situations were
> these
> > > > > lead
> > > > > to collective acts of inhuman treatment of others? I really don't
> > > > > know.
> > > > >
> > > > > There's an old Jewish adge that might be relevant here. It goes
> > > > > something
> > > > > like this: "In the place where there are no men, try to be a man."
> > > > >
> > > > > Highest regards,
> > > > > Victor
> > > > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > > > From: "Eugene Matusov" <ematusov@UDel.Edu>
> > > > > To: <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> > > > > Sent: Friday, April 30, 2004 2:15 AM
> > > > > Subject: RE: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's words?
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > Dear Victor-
> > > > > >
> > > > > > I also think we are probably in agreement but let me clarify one
> > > > > important
> > > > > > (for me) thing.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > You wrote,
> > > > > > > it's neither useful or even interesting to criticize the
> morality
> > > > > of
> > > > > > > those who have neither the intellectual integrity nor the
> > > > > self-respect
> > > > > to
> > > > > > > challenge or at least to abstain from participation in the
> > > > > excessive
> > > > > > > exercise of power to enforce public conformity.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > When I lived in the Soviet Union, my friends and I (what can be
> > > > > loosely
> > > > > > called a "dissident circle") did not judge people who were forced
> > > > > to do
> > > > > bad
> > > > > > things but we did judge (and ostracized) those who used their
> > > > > "creativity"
> > > > > > in adding misery to others. I still think that it was a fair
> > > > > judgment.
> > > > > >
> > > > > > What do you think?
> > > > > >
> > > > > > Eugene
> > > > > >
> > > > > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > > > From: Oudeyis [mailto:victor@kfar-hanassi.org.il]
> > > > > > > Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2004 5:29 AM
> > > > > > > To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > Subject: Re: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's words?
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > Gene,
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > I don't think we really differ here much. I grew up in period
> > > > > of
> > > > > > hysterical
> > > > > > > Anti-Communism, virulent Anti-Unionism, and what can only be
> > > > > called the
> > > > > > most
> > > > > > > fanatical Americanism. The experience of living in a
> > > > > totalitarian
> > > > > > > environment; tapped phones, police surveillance, veiled and not
> > > > > so
> > > > > veiled
> > > > > > > threats to loyal friends etc., is an extremely frightening one
> > > > > and for
> > > > > > very
> > > > > > > good reasons.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > I certainly share your evaluation of those who are too
> > > > > "pig-headed"
> > > > > > (stupid)
> > > > > > > to acquiesce to overwhelming authority and of those who, though
> > > > > refraining
> > > > > > > from direct opposition to authoritarianism, support and protect
> > > > > those
> > > > > that
> > > > > > > do so. Sadly, experience shows that the heroism of such people
> is
> > > > > only
> > > > > > > recognized after the event, and it makes all the sense in the
> > > > > world to
> > > > > > > "knuckle under" and keep a "low profile" if you hope to achieve
> > > > > something
> > > > > > > you can enjoy in this life-time or sometimes just to physically
> > > > > survive.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > The heoism of the Vygotsky's, Ilyenkov's, and Vavilov's (as
> well
> > > > > as
> > > > > their
> > > > > > > simple intellectual integrity) should be regarded with the
> > > > > highest
> > > > > > respect,
> > > > > > > but it's neither useful or even interesting to criticize the
> > > > > morality of
> > > > > > > those who have neither the intellectual integrity nor the
> > > > > self-respect
> > > > > to
> > > > > > > challenge or at least to abstain from participation in the
> > > > > excessive
> > > > > > > exercise of power to enforce public conformity.
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > With highest regards
> > > > > > > Victor
> > > > > > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > > > > > From: "Eugene Matusov" <ematusov@UDel.Edu>
> > > > > > > To: <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> > > > > > > Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 10:31 PM
> > > > > > > Subject: RE: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's words?
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > Dear Vic-
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > You wrote,
> > > > > > > > > I have some reservations regarding Valsiner's description of
> > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > "insensitivity" of Leontiev and Luria. It requires much
> more
> > > > > than
> > > > > > > normal
> > > > > > > > > courage to oppose an oppressive regime. Let he who is
> > > > > innocent etc.
> > > > > > > etc.
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > I do not want to trivialize the issue of historical
> > > > > responsibility but
> > > > > > > > Vygotsky (and many others) never did "weird" and "politically
> > > > > > insensitive"
> > > > > > > > things like what Luria and Leontiev (L&L) did. Mike made a
> good
> > > > > point
> > > > > > that
> > > > > > > > L&L started working on their "lie/loyalty detector" before
> > > > > Stalin came
> > > > > > to
> > > > > > > > power (in the second part of 1929) - which is true (although
> > > > > they
> > > > > > > continued
> > > > > > > > working on long after - through the 1970s, as I've heard).
> > > > > However,
> > > > > the
> > > > > > > > "red" terror was going on throughout the 1920s in the USSR
> > > > > although,
> > > > > of
> > > > > > > > course, with less vigilance than later. Remember that Bakhtin
> > > > > and his
> > > > > > > > friends were arrested before Stalin's consolidation of power
> in
> > > > > fall
> > > > > of
> > > > > > > > 1929. People were arrested and "disappeared" throughout
> > > > > 1920s.
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > By the way, some of Vygotsky's students and colleagues (e.g.,
> > > > > > Kolbanovsky)
> > > > > > > > publicly tried to protect him and his name (after Vygotsky's
> > > > > death)
> > > > > and
> > > > > > > did
> > > > > > > > not turn away (against) him (unlike L&L).
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > I do not know what I would do if I live then and there but I
> > > > > want to
> > > > > > > > recognize people like Vygotsky and Kolbanovsky. I admire them
> > > > > for
> > > > > their
> > > > > > > > bravery, civil responsibility, political-moral intelligence,
> > > > > and
> > > > > > honesty.
> > > > > > > > Sometimes I thought that Vygotsky was pretty stupid if not
> > > > > suicidal
> > > > > but
> > > > > > > not
> > > > > > > > attending to the political situation. Vygotsky made many
> > > > > political
> > > > > > > > "mistakes" (including his move from Moscow to Kharkov in the
> > > > > early
> > > > > 1930s
> > > > > > > > that was literally "clean up" by NKVD in 1937) that would be
> > > > > fatal in
> > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > coming Stalinist purges if he didn't die so early. Vygotsky
> > > > > was
> > > > > "stupid"
> > > > > > > if
> > > > > > > > the highest value of his life was his survival but probably it
> > > > > was
> > > > > > not...
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > What do you think?
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > Eugene
> > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > > > > > From: Oudeyis [mailto:victor@kfar-hanassi.org.il]
> > > > > > > > > Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 2:44 PM
> > > > > > > > > To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > > > Subject: Re: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's words?
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > Gene,
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > This comes as no great surprise. This was the very same
> > > > > regime that
> > > > > > > > > persecuted Vavilov and made Lysenko a Soviet hero.
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > In my view Vygotsky was as thoroughly a Marxist as Ilyenkov
> > > > > and a
> > > > > far
> > > > > > > more
> > > > > > > > > consistent Historical Materialist than his students;
> > > > > Leontiev,
> > > > > Luria,
> > > > > > > > > Davydov etc. In fact, his theoretical and practical
> > > > > accomplishments
> > > > > > are
> > > > > > > > > among the best examples of creative scientific work
> > > > > explicitly
> > > > > linked
> > > > > > to
> > > > > > > > > materialist dialectics.
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > By the way, some recent conversations with an agricultural
> > > > > advisor
> > > > > > late
> > > > > > > of
> > > > > > > > > the Ukraine suggests that most kolkhoz presidents were
> > > > > strictly
> > > > > > > political
> > > > > > > > > appointees who were especially proficient at making out
> > > > > false
> > > > > reports,
> > > > > > > > > giving special favors to their superiors and getting drunk
> > > > > for most
> > > > > of
> > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > day! I suspect that V&L were particularly circumspect in
> > > > > their
> > > > > > > > description
> > > > > > > > > of the kolkhoz president as "having difficulties with
> > > > > abstract
> > > > > > > thinking!"
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > I have some reservations regarding Valsiner's description of
> > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > "insensitivity" of Leontiev and Luria. It requires much
> more
> > > > > than
> > > > > > > normal
> > > > > > > > > courage to oppose an oppressive regime. Let he who is
> > > > > innocent etc.
> > > > > > > etc.
> > > > > > > > > ....
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > Regards,
> > > > > > > > > Victor
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > > > > > > > From: "Eugene Matusov" <ematusov@UDel.Edu>
> > > > > > > > > To: <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
> > > > > > > > > Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 7:07 PM
> > > > > > > > > Subject: RE: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's words?
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > Dear Ana-
> > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > Sorry for the delay - I was swamped with work when I cam
> > > > > back from
> > > > > > San
> > > > > > > > > Diego
> > > > > > > > > > (AERA).
> > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > You asked,
> > > > > > > > > > > > I think a discussion between psychological tools
> > > > > mediating
> > > > > > higher
> > > > > > > > > > psychological functions
> > > > > > > > > > > and material tools meditating subject-object relations
> > > > > can
> > > > > > > > > interesting...
> > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > My study of this question led me to the following summary
> > > > > of
> > > > > > Stalinist
> > > > > > > > > > critique of Vygotsky-Luria:
> > > > > > > > > > 1) Lack of VL's focus on class struggle as the explanation
> > > > > of
> > > > > > diverse
> > > > > > > > > > psychological phenomena.
> > > > > > > > > > 2) Lack of VL's focus on the Marxist notion of labor.
> > > > > Specifically
> > > > > > > > > Vygotsky
> > > > > > > > > > was accused for replacing the Marxist notion of labor with
> > > > > his
> > > > > > notion
> > > > > > > of
> > > > > > > > > > tools.
> > > > > > > > > > 3) Not appreciation of "upraising new Soviet man" in their
> > > > > Central
> > > > > > > Asia
> > > > > > > > > > studies: how come the kolkhoz president - a good example
> of
> > > > > "new
> > > > > > > Soviet
> > > > > > > > > man"
> > > > > > > > > > - did not have abstract thinking?!
> > > > > > > > > > 4) VL's insensitivities of calling formerly oppressed
> > > > > national
> > > > > > > > minorities
> > > > > > > > > > "primitives".
> > > > > > > > > > 5) VL's non-Marxist understanding of the notion of
> > > > > "culture" based
> > > > > > on
> > > > > > > > > > Durkheim and Levy-Bruhl's sociological and anthropological
> > > > > ideas
> > > > > > like
> > > > > > > > > tools,
> > > > > > > > > > practices, rituals, collectives rather on labor, surplus,
> > > > > means of
> > > > > > > > > > productions, productive relations, class, and so on.
> > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > Read for more in (maybe they have more)
> > > > > > > > > > Veer, R. v. d., & Valsiner, J. (1991). Understanding
> > > > > Vygotsky: A
> > > > > > quest
> > > > > > > > for
> > > > > > > > > > synthesis. Oxford, UK: Blackwell (pp. 253- 255; 374-389)
> > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > By the way, on pages 245-246, Veer and Valsiner discussed
> > > > > how
> > > > > Luria
> > > > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > > Leotniev were politically "insensitive" praising
> > > > > Stalinist
> > > > > > > > > collectivization
> > > > > > > > > > (about 30 millions were killed) and developing
> > > > > "lie/loyalty
> > > > > > detectors"
> > > > > > > > for
> > > > > > > > > > Soviet secret police in the late 20s and 30s. Also, VV
> > > > > report
> > > > > about
> > > > > > > > Luria
> > > > > > > > > > weird behavior of keeping his close friend's brain in an
> > > > > alcohol
> > > > > jar
> > > > > > > for
> > > > > > > > > > further study in his office (I've hear about that in
> Russia
> > > > > but I
> > > > > > > never
> > > > > > > > > read
> > > > > > > > > > about that). Br-r-r-r! Weird times produce weird people!
> > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > What do you think?
> > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > Eugene
> > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > > > > > > > From: ana@zmajcenter.org [mailto:ana@zmajcenter.org]
> > > > > > > > > > > Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 11:54 AM
> > > > > > > > > > > To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > > > > > Subject: Re: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's
> > > > > words?
> > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > Dear Eugene and Steve,
> > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > I also see now far better what went on. I was reacting
> > > > > mostly to
> > > > > > > what
> > > > > > > > I
> > > > > > > > > > perceived a negative
> > > > > > > > > > > tone, primarily set by the article's title.
> > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > The substance of their article is far more complex and
> > > > > choke
> > > > > > filled
> > > > > > > > with
> > > > > > > > > > points that need to
> > > > > > > > > > > be carefully examined.
> > > > > > > > > > > Steve, thank's for clearing that up so carefully.
> > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > Eugene, I know that Vygotsky and Luria were criticized
> by
> > > > > the
> > > > > > > > Stalinist
> > > > > > > > > > regime, but I don't
> > > > > > > > > > > know exactly what was the critique aimed at preciselly.
> > > > > Can you
> > > > > > tell
> > > > > > > > > us??
> > > > > > > > > > What did the
> > > > > > > > > > > Stalinist regime "find wrong" with Vygotsky/Luria's
> > > > > work?
> > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > Ana
> > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > > > > > > > > From: Eugene Matusov [mailto:ematusov@udel.edu]
> > > > > > > > > > > > Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 01:06 PM
> > > > > > > > > > > > To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > > > > > > Subject: Re: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's
> > > > > words?
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Dear Ana--
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Now, after reading Steve's analysis, I see where you
> > > > > might
> > > > > come
> > > > > > > > from.
> > > > > > > > > I
> > > > > > > > > > agree with Steve
> > > > > > > > > > > and you that the title of the critque is unnecessary
> > > > > sarcastic
> > > > > > that
> > > > > > > > > indeed
> > > > > > > > > > communicates
> > > > > > > > > > > negativity and agressivity.
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > As to to the issue of "upbrining new Soveit men", I'm
> > > > > not sure
> > > > > > how
> > > > > > > > > much
> > > > > > > > > > Vygotsky and
> > > > > > > > > > > Luria committed to this political agenda if at all (I'd
> > > > > like to
> > > > > > hear
> > > > > > > > > from
> > > > > > > > > > Mike what was cut
> > > > > > > > > > > from Luria's book). I could not find any place in
> > > > > Vygotsky-Luria
> > > > > > > work
> > > > > > > > > > suggesting this
> > > > > > > > > > > political agenda. It is important to remember, that
> > > > > Stalinist
> > > > > > > > propaganda
> > > > > > > > > > machine severely
> > > > > > > > > > > criticized Luria-Vygotsky study. Someone could use their
> > > > > study
> > > > > for
> > > > > > > > this
> > > > > > > > > > politcal purpose,
> > > > > > > > > > > but nobody seemed to do.
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > I think a discussion between psychological tools
> > > > > mediating
> > > > > > higher
> > > > > > > > > > psychological functions
> > > > > > > > > > > and material tools meditating subject-object relations
> > > > > can
> > > > > > > > > interesting...
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Eugene
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > > > > > > > > > > From: Ana
> > > > > > > > > > > > To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > > > > > > Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 12:34 AM
> > > > > > > > > > > > Subject: Re: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's
> > > > > words?
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Dear Eugene,
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Thank you a lot for the careful reading. I must
> admit
> > > > > that I
> > > > > > did
> > > > > > > > not
> > > > > > > > > > read their text so
> > > > > > > > > > > carefully and that I reacted more to what seemed to me a
> > > > > s a
> > > > > very
> > > > > > > > > negative
> > > > > > > > > > tone. The reason
> > > > > > > > > > > I "heard" their tone as negative was maybe subjective,
> or
> > > > > maybe
> > > > > I
> > > > > > > was
> > > > > > > > > very
> > > > > > > > > > tired from the
> > > > > > > > > > > trip to the conference... I also brought only one point
> > > > > into the
> > > > > > > > picture
> > > > > > > > > > -- and that was the way
> > > > > > > > > > > how to characterize Vygotky/Luria's research in
> > > > > Uzbekistan and
> > > > > > > > > Khirgizia.
> > > > > > > > > > I absolutely
> > > > > > > > > > > agree with Margaret and Carol that the
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > the study was a golden opportunity
> > > > > > > > > > > > to test the long-standing and widespread debate
> > > > > among
> > > > > > > > > > > > ethnopsychologists, sociologists, and others as to
> > > > > whether
> > > > > > > > > categories
> > > > > > > > > > > > of thinking are universal (the Gestalt view) or
> > > > > whether
> > > > > > > > > > > > primitive and advanced technological cultures
> > > > > produced
> > > > > > different
> > > > > > > > > > > > levels of intellectual development (see Luria, 1979;
> > > > > van
> > > > > > > > > > > > der Veer & Valsiner, 1991).
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > But at the time -- I thought that although this
> > > > > indeed was a
> > > > > > > > golden
> > > > > > > > > > opportunity to study
> > > > > > > > > > > the change in the intellectual development, it still was
> > > > > a part
> > > > > of
> > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > Soviet plan to create a
> > > > > > > > > > > "new citizen".
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Anyway, I am very glad that when you found out that
> I
> > > > > was
> > > > > not
> > > > > > > > right,
> > > > > > > > > > you also explicitly
> > > > > > > > > > > said that you still love me. It makes it so much easier
> > > > > to
> > > > > > > reexamine
> > > > > > > > my
> > > > > > > > > > thoughts and say --
> > > > > > > > > > > oops!! I was wrong.
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > In fact -- Margaret's and Carol's article have some
> > > > > very
> > > > > > > > interesting
> > > > > > > > > > points. One of them
> > > > > > > > > > > the "fact" that it was not Vygotsky who introduced
> > > > > "activity
> > > > > > > theory",
> > > > > > > > > but
> > > > > > > > > > it were
> > > > > > > > > > > > "Vygotsky's disciples [who]
> > > > > > > > > > > > turned his theory into an activity theory after his
> > > > > death,
> > > > > > > > replacing
> > > > > > > > > > > > the psychological tool as a mediator between objects
> > > > > of
> > > > > > > > > > > > action and mental functions with material activity
> as
> > > > > the
> > > > > > > > mediator,
> > > > > > > > > > > > and careless scholars attribute activity theory to
> > > > > Vygotsky."
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > To me it would be interesting to discuss whether
> > > > > people (on
> > > > > > this
> > > > > > > > > list)
> > > > > > > > > > today see
> > > > > > > > > > > "activity" as a mediator between "subject" and
> "object".
> > > > > Or is
> > > > > > > > > "activity"
> > > > > > > > > > something else?
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > What do you think??
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Ana
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Eugene Matusov wrote:
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Dear Ana and everybody-
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > I read/reread both articles and found that I agree
> with
> > > > > much
> > > > > of
> > > > > > > > > Margaret
> > > > > > > > > > > > Gredler and Carol Shields' criticism of Michael
> > > > > Glassman. Here
> > > > > > are
> > > > > > > > > > points of
> > > > > > > > > > > > my agreement with Margaret Gredler and Carol Shields
> > > > > (just
> > > > > from
> > > > > > > > their
> > > > > > > > > > first
> > > > > > > > > > > > page):
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > 1. Michael Glassman wrote, "Dewey would applaud
> > > > > Vygotsky's
> > > > > > > emphasis
> > > > > > > > on
> > > > > > > > > > > > everyday culture
> > > > > > > > > > > > as the lynchpin of the educational process." (p.4)
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Margaret Gredler and Carol Shields disagreed, "...
> > > > > contrary to
> > > > > > > > > > Glassman's
> > > > > > > > > > > > (2001, p. 3) statements, Vygotsky did not advocate
> > > > > bringing
> > > > > > > everyday
> > > > > > > > > > > > activities into the classroom or the ways that human
> > > > > activity
> > > > > > > serves
> > > > > > > > > as
> > > > > > > > > > an
> > > > > > > > > > > > impetus to learning." (p.21)
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > I agree with Margaret Gredler and Carol Shields.
> Unlike
> > > > > Dewey,
> > > > > > > > > Vygotsky
> > > > > > > > > > was
> > > > > > > > > > > > rather critical about everyday
> > > > > culture/activities/concepts. I
> > > > > do
> > > > > > > not
> > > > > > > > > > know
> > > > > > > > > > > > any place in his writings where Vygotsky argued that
> > > > > "everyday
> > > > > > > > > culture"
> > > > > > > > > > (I'm
> > > > > > > > > > > > not sure I know what Michael Glassman meant by this
> > > > > term - I
> > > > > > never
> > > > > > > > > read
> > > > > > > > > > > > about it before, not in Vygotsky definitely) is the
> > > > > lynchpin
> > > > > of
> > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > > > educational process. Did I miss something in
> > > > > Vygotsky?
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > 2. Michael Glassman wrote, "Vygotsky suggests that it
> > > > > is the
> > > > > > > ability
> > > > > > > > > to
> > > > > > > > > > > > develop cooperative activity through complex social
> > > > > > relationships
> > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > that
> > > > > > > > > > > > separates mature humans from all other animals
> > > > > (Vygotsky &
> > > > > > Luria,
> > > > > > > > > > 1993)."
> > > > > > > > > > > > (p.5)
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Margaret Gredler and Carol Shields disagreed, "...
> > > > > neither
> > > > > > > Vygotsky
> > > > > > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > > > > Luria (1930/1993) nor Vygotsky's other writings state
> > > > > that
> > > > > > > > cooperative
> > > > > > > > > > > > activity separates humans from all other animals as
> > > > > Glassman
> > > > > > > (2001,
> > > > > > > > p.
> > > > > > > > > > 5)
> > > > > > > > > > > > asserts. Instead, "the absence of at least the
> > > > > beginnings of
> > > > > > > speech
> > > > > > > > .
> > > > > > > > > .
> > > > > > > > > > .
> > > > > > > > > > > > the lack of ability to make a sign or to introduce
> > > > > some
> > > > > > auxiliary
> > > > > > > > > > > > psychological means [in problem solving] . . . draws
> > > > > the line
> > > > > > > > between
> > > > > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > > > ape and the most primitive human being" (Vygotsky &
> > > > > Luria,
> > > > > > > > 1930/1993,
> > > > > > > > > p.
> > > > > > > > > > > > 73). In another work, Vygotsky (1931/1997f)
> > > > > identifies
> > > > > > > > "signification,
> > > > > > > > > > that
> > > > > > > > > > > > is, the creation and use of signs" as the unique
> > > > > human
> > > > > behavior
> > > > > > > that
> > > > > > > > > > > > differentiates humans from animals (p. 55)." (p. 21)
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Further in his article, Michael Glassman talked about
> > > > > "tools
> > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > > symbols" as
> > > > > > > > > > > > being very important for Vygotsky but I agree with
> > > > > Margaret
> > > > > > > Gredler
> > > > > > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > > > > Carol Shields that Michael Glassman's writing is very
> > > > > confusing
> > > > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > even
> > > > > > > > > > > > misleading at times on this issue.
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > 3. Margaret Gredler and Carol Shields wrote, "In
> > > > > addition,
> > > > > > > > Glassman's
> > > > > > > > > > (2001)
> > > > > > > > > > > > assertions that Vygotsky considered tools as "the
> means
> > > > > for
> > > > > > > > specific,
> > > > > > > > > > > > culturally approved consequences" (p. 5), believing
> > > > > that
> > > > > "tools
> > > > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > > symbols
> > > > > > > > > > > > are used in the service of culturally defined goals"
> > > > > (p. 6),3
> > > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > "free
> > > > > > > > > > > > inquiry is . . . eclipsed by culturally significant
> > > > > and
> > > > > > > appropriate
> > > > > > > > > > inquiry"
> > > > > > > > > > > > (p. 6) are inaccurate. Vygotsky did not discuss
> > > > > inquiry, and
> > > > > he
> > > > > > > > > > described
> > > > > > > > > > > > psychological tools as "the means of which we direct
> > > > > and
> > > > > realize
> > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > > > psychological operations (e.g., memorizing,
> > > > > comparing,
> > > > > > selecting)
> > > > > > > > > > necessary
> > > > > > > > > > > > for the solution of the problem" (Vygotsky, 1997i, p.
> > > > > 86)."
> > > > > (p.
> > > > > > > 21)
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Again, in my view, Margaret and Carol are right.
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > I can go on and on and on... Actually, I could not
> find
> > > > > place
> > > > > in
> > > > > > > > > > Margaret
> > > > > > > > > > > > Gredler and Carol Shields' critique of Michael
> Glassman
> > > > > that I
> > > > > > did
> > > > > > > > not
> > > > > > > > > > > > agree... Did you? Did I miss something?
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > I did not find Margaret Gredler and Carol Shields'
> tone
> > > > > angry
> > > > > or
> > > > > > > > > > aggressive
> > > > > > > > > > > > or negative. They disagreed with Michael Glassman
> about
> > > > > almost
> > > > > > > > > > everything (I
> > > > > > > > > > > > actually can add more disagreements with Michael). So
> > > > > what? I
> > > > > > did
> > > > > > > > not
> > > > > > > > > > find
> > > > > > > > > > > > anything disrespectful in their tone. Did I miss
> > > > > something in
> > > > > > > their
> > > > > > > > > > tone? (I
> > > > > > > > > > > > like to disagree with people, maybe this is why I do
> > > > > not see
> > > > > > > > anything
> > > > > > > > > > > > offensive in their critical article). Does
> disagreement
> > > > > mean
> > > > > > > > > "negative"?
> > > > > > > > > > For
> > > > > > > > > > > > me, "negative" means not constructive but I found
> > > > > Margaret
> > > > > > Gredler
> > > > > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > > Carol
> > > > > > > > > > > > Shields being very constructive. I feel that Margaret
> > > > > Gredler
> > > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > Carol
> > > > > > > > > > > > Shields are respectful to all community, including
> > > > > Michael
> > > > > > > Glassman,
> > > > > > > > > by
> > > > > > > > > > > > bringing supports for their claims and grounding their
> > > > > claims
> > > > > in
> > > > > > > > > > Michael's
> > > > > > > > > > > > text. What else are they supposed to write? In this
> > > > > message,
> > > > > for
> > > > > > > > > > example, I
> > > > > > > > > > > > disagree with Ana, but I do not feel to be negative to
> > > > > her,
> > > > > > angry
> > > > > > > > with
> > > > > > > > > > her,
> > > > > > > > > > > > or aggressive to her. I love Ana and respect her a lot
> > > > > and I'd
> > > > > > > love
> > > > > > > > to
> > > > > > > > > > hear
> > > > > > > > > > > > what she and the others may say in response even if
> she
> > > > > and
> > > > > the
> > > > > > > > other
> > > > > > > > > > people
> > > > > > > > > > > > completely disagree with me. I know that I can be
> > > > > wrong, she
> > > > > can
> > > > > > > we
> > > > > > > > > > wrong,
> > > > > > > > > > > > we both can wrong, and so on... But, we work together.
> > > > > I think
> > > > > > > that
> > > > > > > > > > Michael
> > > > > > > > > > > > made an interesting attempt to bring Vygotsky and
> > > > > Dewey
> > > > > > together.
> > > > > > > He
> > > > > > > > > > made
> > > > > > > > > > > > his shot but Margaret and Carol (and I) rejected it
> > > > > by
> > > > > providing
> > > > > > > > their
> > > > > > > > > > > > critique. He may choose to rebuff us and show us wrong
> > > > > - I do
> > > > > > not
> > > > > > > > know
> > > > > > > > > > as
> > > > > > > > > > > > Margaret and Carol, but I'll be happy to admit that
> I'm
> > > > > wrong
> > > > > if
> > > > > > > > > Michael
> > > > > > > > > > > > brings his convincing counter-arguments. It is not
> > > > > necessarily
> > > > > > > > > pleasant
> > > > > > > > > > to
> > > > > > > > > > > > read a critical review, in which the authors
> > > > > completely
> > > > > disagree
> > > > > > > > with
> > > > > > > > > > you.
> > > > > > > > > > > > But, hey, this is part of our profession: other
> > > > > colleagues can
> > > > > > > judge
> > > > > > > > > our
> > > > > > > > > > > > work as completely right, partially right, or
> > > > > completely
> > > > > wrong.
> > > > > > If
> > > > > > > > it
> > > > > > > > > is
> > > > > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > > > latter, although it is unpleasant, I do not find
> > > > > anything
> > > > > > > negative,
> > > > > > > > > > angry,
> > > > > > > > > > > > or aggressive in it per se. Again, I may miss
> something
> > > > > and
> > > > > I'd
> > > > > > > like
> > > > > > > > > > what
> > > > > > > > > > > > other people see that makes Margaret Gredler and
> > > > > Carol
> > > > > Shields'
> > > > > > > (and
> > > > > > > > > > maybe
> > > > > > > > > > > > even my?) tone objectable.
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > What do you think?
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Eugene
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > > > > > > > > From: ana@zmajcenter.org [mailto:ana@zmajcenter.org]
> > > > > > > > > > > > Sent: Friday, April 16, 2004 8:43 AM
> > > > > > > > > > > > To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > > > > > > Subject: Re: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's
> > > > > words?
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Dear Eugene,
> > > > > > > > > > > > I absolutely agree with you. It is dangerous to make
> > > > > conclusions
> > > > > > > > based
> > > > > > > > > > on
> > > > > > > > > > > > little evidence
> > > > > > > > > > > > and several quotes. I am not sure what was
> Glassman's
> > > > > point,
> > > > > > but
> > > > > > > > to
> > > > > > > > > me
> > > > > > > > > > it
> > > > > > > > > > > > did not seem
> > > > > > > > > > > > contradictory to Luria and Vygotsky's research in
> the
> > > > > the
> > > > > ways
> > > > > > > > that
> > > > > > > > > a
> > > > > > > > > > > > cultural historical
> > > > > > > > > > > > change produce changes in psychological processes.
> > > > > The
> > > > > "golden
> > > > > > > > > > > > opportunity" to study
> > > > > > > > > > > > these processes in a "natural experiment" was, at
> the
> > > > > same
> > > > > > time,
> > > > > > > > > > enabled
> > > > > > > > > > > > in part by the
> > > > > > > > > > > > Stalinist politics of forcefull collectivisation
> > > > > terror.
> > > > > Does
> > > > > > > that
> > > > > > > > > > mean
> > > > > > > > > > > > that you can
> > > > > > > > > > > > automatically align the researchers with the
> > > > > Stalinist
> > > > > > political
> > > > > > > > > > agenda?
> > > > > > > > > > > > No.
> > > > > > > > > > > > However, I was reactineg more to the tone of their
> > > > > debate
> > > > > than
> > > > > > > to
> > > > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > fine
> > > > > > > > > > > > points they were
> > > > > > > > > > > > making. On the whole, they did not like Glassman's
> > > > > hypothesis
> > > > > > > that
> > > > > > > > > > > > Vygotsky's ideas can be
> > > > > > > > > > > > related to Dewey's in the way that Glassman did. And
> > > > > they
> > > > > > > > criticised
> > > > > > > > > > > > different aspects of
> > > > > > > > > > > > that comparison in Glassman's work in very forceful
> > > > > language.
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Ana
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > > > > > > > > From: Eugene Matusov [mailto:ematusov@udel.edu]
> > > > > > > > > > > > Sent: Friday, April 16, 2004 06:06 AM
> > > > > > > > > > > > To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > > > > > > Subject: RE: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's
> > > > > words?
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Dear Ana-
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > I did not have time to read Gredler and Shields'
> > > > > article (I'm
> > > > > > > still
> > > > > > > > in
> > > > > > > > > > > > San
> > > > > > > > > > > > Diego) but the quotes that you nicely put together
> > > > > make me
> > > > > > agree
> > > > > > > > > with
> > > > > > > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > > > authors. It seems to me (and I can be wrong) that
> one
> > > > > of the
> > > > > > > > issues
> > > > > > > > > is
> > > > > > > > > > a
> > > > > > > > > > > > POLITICAL Soviet context. The rhetoric about
> > > > > "upbringing the
> > > > > New
> > > > > > > > > Soviet
> > > > > > > > > > > > person" (ridiculed later by dissidents as "homo
> > > > > Soveticus")
> > > > > was
> > > > > > > used
> > > > > > > > > in
> > > > > > > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > > > early 1930s by Stalinist propaganda. It seems to me
> > > > > that
> > > > > > > Glassman
> > > > > > > > > > > > dangerously aligned Vygotsky and Luria with the
> > > > > Stalinist
> > > > > > > propaganda
> > > > > > > > > > > > machine. I'm personally much more comfortable with
> > > > > Gredler and
> > > > > > > > > Shields'
> > > > > > > > > > > > formulation (as presented in your quote) than with
> > > > > Glassman's
> > > > > > one.
> > > > > > > > > > > > Although
> > > > > > > > > > > > it is well-documented (see Rogoff, 1990) that Luria
> > > > > overlooked
> > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > > > political
> > > > > > > > > > > > context of his Uzbekistan experiments (i.e.,
> > > > > Stalinist
> > > > > > > > > > collectivization
> > > > > > > > > > > > terror), there is no evidence that Vygotsky and Luria
> > > > > accepted
> > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > > > Stalinist
> > > > > > > > > > > > call for "upbringing the New Soviet person" as
> > > > > Glassman
> > > > > seems
> > > > > > to
> > > > > > > > > > > > suggest.
> > > > > > > > > > > > Knowing Soviet history, Glassman's statements cited
> > > > > below
> > > > > > about
> > > > > > > > > > Vygotsky
> > > > > > > > > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > > > > Luria make me VERY uncomfortable. In contrast, I'm
> > > > > very
> > > > > > > > comfortable
> > > > > > > > > > with
> > > > > > > > > > > > Gredler and Shields' statement that
> > > > > > > > > > > > Particularly important is that the study was a
> > > > > golden
> > > > > > > > > opportunity
> > > > > > > > > > > > to test the long-standing and widespread debate among
> > > > > > > > > > > > ethnopsychologists, sociologists, and others as to
> > > > > whether
> > > > > > > > categories
> > > > > > > > > > > > of thinking are universal (the Gestalt view) or
> > > > > whether
> > > > > > > > > > > > primitive and advanced technological cultures
> > > > > produced
> > > > > different
> > > > > > > > > > > > levels of intellectual development (see Luria, 1979;
> > > > > van
> > > > > > > > > > > > der Veer & Valsiner, 1991).
> > > > > > > > > > > > Sorry if my comments do not make sense because
> > > > > I did
> > > > > not
> > > > > > > > read
> > > > > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > > > articles
> > > > > > > > > > > > but react only to the short quotes.
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > What do you think?
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Eugene
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > -----Original Message-----
> > > > > > > > > > > > From: Ana [mailto:ana@zmajcenter.org]
> > > > > > > > > > > > Sent: Thursday, April 15, 2004 3:54 PM
> > > > > > > > > > > > To: xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
> > > > > > > > > > > > Subject: Re: Does no one read [between] Vygotsky's
> > > > > words?
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Peter, Bill
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > I went and read the article. One thing is that it is
> > > > > > definitively
> > > > > > > > > > > > writen
> > > > > > > > > > > > in a very negative tone, almost angry and very
> > > > > agressive.
> > > > > > > > > > > > The other thing is that they give a lot of referrences
> > > > > one
> > > > > would
> > > > > > > > have
> > > > > > > > > > > > to
> > > > > > > > > > > > check in order to figure out if they have a point
> > > > > they claim
> > > > > > to
> > > > > > > > > have.
> > > > > > > > > > > > However, in one instance at least, I could see that
> > > > > they don't
> > > > > > > seem
> > > > > > > > to
> > > > > > > > > > > > understand exactly what they are criticizing. This is
> > > > > the case
> > > > > > of
> > > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > > > famous Luria/Vygtsky research on changes introduced by
> > > > > soviet
> > > > > > > > literacy
> > > > > > > > > > > > programs. Here is a quote from their article
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > ****
> > > > > > > > > > > > Glassman (2001, p. 6) cites Vygotsky and Luria
> > > > > (1930/1993) as
> > > > > > > > > > > > the source for his statements that (a) Vygotsky would
> > > > > agree
> > > > > with
> > > > > > > > > > > > Dewey that society has "a vested interest in the
> > > > > development
> > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > > > > maintenance of these [psychological] tools" and (b)
> > > > > Vygotsky
> > > > > > > > > > > > wanted "to use the educational process to teach new
> > > > > members
> > > > > > > > > > > > of the social community how to 'use' important,
> > > > > culturally
> > > > > > > developed
> > > > > > > > > > > > tools in an effective manner (a top-down/determinate
> > > > > > > > > > > > approach)." In contrast, Vygotsky and Luria
> > > > > (1930/1993)
> > > > > neither
> > > > > > > > > > > > stated nor alluded to such an agenda. The text, which
> > > > > addresses
> > > > > > > > > > > > cognitive development, discusses important landmarks
> > > > > > > > > > > > in the three different paths that account for human
> > > > > behavior-
> > > > > > > > > > > > evolutionary (phylogenetic), historical, and
> > > > > ontogenetic (p.
> > > > > > 36).
> > > > > > > > > > > > For example, numeric operations and other early
> > > > > psychological
> > > > > > > > > > > > tools transformed the memory and thinking of
> > > > > primitive
> > > > > peoples.
> > > > > > > > > > > > Also discussed were the authors' experiments on the
> > > > > development
> > > > > > > > > > > > of children's cognitive processes and the cognitive
> > > > > development
> > > > > > > > > > > > of mentally retarded, physically impaired, and gifted
> > > > > > > > > > > > children.
> > > > > > > > > > > > Glassman (2001) then states that the cross-cultural
> > > > > research
> > > > > of
> > > > > > > > > > > > Luria and Vygotsky "hypothesized that the introduction
> > > > > of new
> > > > > > > > > > > > tools by a strong social organization (i.e., the
> Soviet
> > > > > Union)
> > > > > > > > > > > > would lead to the development of a 'new' type of
> > > > > citizen" (p.
> > > > > > 6).
> > > > > > > > > > > > Instead, the hypothesis the researchers actually
> tested
> > > > > was
> > > > > that
> > > > > > > > > > > > "the structure of psychological processes changes as
> > > > > a
> > > > > function
> > > > > > of
> > > > > > > > > > > > history; consciousness does not have a constant,
> > > > > unchanging
> > > > > > > > > > > > structure" [italics added] (Luria, 1971, p. 160).
> > > > > More
> > > > > specifi-
> > > > > > > > > > > > cally, Luria (1976) clearly stated,
> > > > > > > > > > > > We hypothesized that people with a primarily
> > > > > graphic/functional
> > > > > > > > > > > > reflection of reality would show a different mental
> > > > > process
> > > > > from
> > > > > > > > > > > > people with a system of predominantly abstract,
> verbal,
> > > > > and
> > > > > > > logical
> > > > > > > > > > > > approach to reality. (p. 18)
> > > > > > > > > > > > Particularly important is that the study was a golden
> > > > > > opportunity
> > > > > > > > > > > > to test the long-standing and widespread debate among
> > > > > > > > > > > > ethnopsychologists, sociologists, and others as to
> > > > > whether
> > > > > > > > categories
> > > > > > > > > > > > of thinking are universal (the Gestalt view) or
> > > > > whether
> > > > > > > > > > > > primitive and advanced technological cultures
> > > > > produced
> > > > > different
> > > > > > > > > > > > levels of intellectual development (see Luria, 1979;
> > > > > van
> > > > > > > > > > > > der Veer & Valsiner, 1991).5 Conducted in the remote
> > > > > parts of
> > > > > > > > > > > > the Soviet Union (villages in Uzbekistan and
> Kirghizia)
> > > > > that
> > > > > > > > > > > > were undergoing rapid socioeconomic change, the study
> > > > > included
> > > > > > > > > > > > two isolated and illiterate groups and three groups
> > > > > with
> > > > > > > > > > > > varying literacy levels and some exposure to
> > > > > technological
> > > > > > > > > > > > change. The 600 interview protocols (van der Veer &
> > > > > Valsiner,
> > > > > > > > > > > > 1991, p. 248) indicated that practical activity and
> > > > > concrete
> > > > > > > > > > > > situations
> > > > > > > > > > > > dominated the perception, classification, and
> > > > > reasoning
> > > > > > > > > > > > skills of the nonliterate subjects whereas the others
> > > > > engaged
> > > > > > > > > > > > in categorical, abstract thinking (Luria, 1976, pp.
> > > > > 117-134;
> > > > > > > > > > > > ***
> > > > > > > > > > > > It seems to me that what they criticize is something
> > > > > that is
> > > > > not
> > > > > > > at
> > > > > > > > > > > > all
> > > > > > > > > > > > opposed to what they say "researchers actually
> > > > > tested
> > > > > [...]".
> > > > > > > And,
> > > > > > > > > > > > that
> > > > > > > > > > > > was their hypothesis that:
> > > > > > > > > > > > "the structure of psychological processes changes as
> > > > > a
> > > > > function
> > > > > > of
> > > > > > > > > > > > history; consciousness does not have a constant,
> > > > > unchanging
> > > > > > > > > > > > structure" .
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Either they don't understand that the Soviet Imposed
> > > > > literacy
> > > > > > > > program
> > > > > > > > > > > > is
> > > > > > > > > > > > at the same time a historical, social process" or I
> > > > > don't
> > > > > know
> > > > > > > > what
> > > > > > > > > > > > they
> > > > > > > > > > > > want to say.
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > That is my first impression. No doubt that the article
> > > > > was
> > > > > > written
> > > > > > > > in
> > > > > > > > > > > > a
> > > > > > > > > > > > hostile tone, and I am surprised that it was
> > > > > published as
> > > > > such
> > > > > > > in
> > > > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > > > educatinal researcher. Good game is a game where we
> all
> > > > > build
> > > > > > upon
> > > > > > > > > > > > each
> > > > > > > > > > > > other's thinking and research instead of bashing
> each
> > > > > other.
> > > > > > If
> > > > > > > > they
> > > > > > > > > > > > had
> > > > > > > > > > > > very important fine points about the differences
> > > > > between
> > > > > Dewey
> > > > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > > > > Vygotsky, why not just point that out in a friendly
> > > > > manner??
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > And of course, I agree with Bill: No one's thinking
> > > > > ought to
> > > > > > > become
> > > > > > > > a
> > > > > > > > > > > > dogma - Einsten's, Vygotsky's or anyone elses. The
> > > > > point is to
> > > > > > > keep
> > > > > > > > > > > > moving ahead.
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Ana
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Bill Barowy wrote:
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > Wow. Thanks Peter for provoking my interest
> in
> > > > > this
> > > > > > > > article.
> > > > > > > > > I
> > > > > > > > > > had
> > > > > > > > > > > > noted it
> > > > > > > > > > > > when it arrived, but I'll make sure to read it
> > > > > asap.
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > I have to say that i am uncomfortable with the kind
> > > > > of
> > > > > thinking
> > > > > > > and
> > > > > > > > > > > > writing
> > > > > > > > > > > > that you described. For example, while Vygotsky
> > > > > could
> > > > > be
> > > > > > > held
> > > > > > > > > as
> > > > > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > > > kind of
> > > > > > > > > > > > genius Einstein was, one does not find folks
> > > > > saying so
> > > > > > much
> > > > > > > > they
> > > > > > > > > > know
> > > > > > > > > > > > what
> > > > > > > > > > > > Einstein "said and believed" to the
> condescension
> > > > > of
> > > > > > others.
> > > > > > > > > > Quite
> > > > > > > > > > > > to
> > > > > > > > > > > > the
> > > > > > > > > > > > contrary, it is expected to go beyond Einstein
> in
> > > > > our
> > > > > > > > > > understanding
> > > > > > > > > > > > -- he
> > > > > > > > > > > > may
> > > > > > > > > > > > have been a genius, but he was still only a
> > > > > human. And
> > > > > > > there
> > > > > > > > > are
> > > > > > > > > > now
> > > > > > > > > > > > better
> > > > > > > > > > > > reformulations of Einstein's core ideas than
> > > > > what
> > > > > Einstein
> > > > > > > > > > developed.
> > > > > > > > > > > > We
> > > > > > > > > > > > can
> > > > > > > > > > > > and do still admire Einstein for his
> > > > > contributions.
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > But so, is this kind of publication the result of
> > > > > making
> > > > > > Vygotsky
> > > > > > > > > > > > into
> > > > > > > > > > > > such an
> > > > > > > > > > > > untouchable icon? Are we suffering the slings
> > > > > and
> > > > > arrows
> > > > > > of
> > > > > > > a
> > > > > > > > > > > > codeveloping
> > > > > > > > > > > > hegemonic discourse that attribute legitimacy
> > > > > more to
> > > > > > > > > replicating
> > > > > > > > > > > > exactly
> > > > > > > > > > > > an
> > > > > > > > > > > > individual's ideas than to the problems and the
> > > > > work?
> > > > > If
> > > > > > > so,
> > > > > > > > it
> > > > > > > > > > is
> > > > > > > > > > > > such
> > > > > > > > > > > > a
> > > > > > > > > > > > strange and ironic twist for activity theory
> > > > > research.
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > > bb
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > > > >
> > > > > > > > > >
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Nov 09 2004 - 12:05:48 PST