RE: new article for discussion

From: Steve Gabosch (
Date: Sat May 22 2004 - 12:55:40 PDT

I see the polls are now open. Go to the URL below and click on "polls are
OPEN". Further below are the abstracts Peggy posted the other day.
- Steve

At 09:41 AM 5/19/2004 -0700, Mike Cole wrote:
>I am afraid that the voting machine at
>has not been put up yet, and that is th eplace to vote. I have asked that
>it be posted asap. Sorry for the delay.

Greetings everyone.

Below are abstracts for the articles appearing in MCA 10 (3).
Please read them and make your selection as to which you would like posted
as the next article for discussion on xmca. The voting poll should be open
later today or tomorrow.


A Potential for an Integrated View of Development and Learning:
Gal’perin’s Contribution to Sociocultural Psychology

Igor M. Arievitch
The City University of New York


Piotr Gal’perin was a contemporary of Vygotsky, Luria, and Leont’ev and
shared with them many basic assumptions of cultural-historical psychology.
However, unlike his colleagues, Gal’perin’s work received much less
attention in Western psychology and is often inadequately perceived as an
elaboration of concrete instructional techniques, although in fact it
encompasses original contributions to fundamental problems of psychology.
Gal’perin’s ideas about learning and development resonate with some recent
trends in cognitive psychology, in particular, with a significant shift in
cognitive psychology from machinelike models to the study of contextualized
cognitive strategies. Unlike other theories though, Gal’perin’s approach
contains a unique core component­a conceptualization of psychological
aspects of human activity, distinct from its physiological, logical, or
sociological aspects, as well as an elaborate concept of internalization.
This unifying conceptual basis, combined with recent findings in
sociocultural research and cognitive science, creates a promise for a
much-desired progress towards an integrated psychological view of mental

Shoptalk: Teaching and Learning in an African American Hair Salon1

Yolanda J. Majors
The University of Georgia


This study examines ways of speaking, performing and reasoning within an
urban, African American hair salon. I argue here that participants within
the salon, through participation, collaboration and negotiation, construct
and transmit their understandings of the world within systems of activity.
By identifying how members of the community hair salon use cultural
resources and institutional technologies, co-construct knowledge, and
change and develop through their participation in activity, my aim is to
draw a better understanding of how learning takes place outside of the
classroom. By identifying the labor related activities within the hair
salon, the participation structures which support these activities, and the
socially shared, cultural funds of knowledge, I hope to make visible
certain mediating structures that support culturally relevant learning and
teaching in the African American community.

Learning of Disabled Children in Japan: Simultaneous Participation in
Different Activity Systems

Noboru Takahashi
Osaka University of Education


The learning activity systems of disabled children attending local public
school in Japan were analyzed within the framework of activity theory. The
children participated in several different activity systems at the same
time, all of which have certain structural features in common. These
include the Subject child, the presence of adults who guide the child’s
learning, the goals of those adults, and the ontogenetic history that
constrains the goals. In this study, two systems­the family and the special
education classroom­and their relationship were analyzed. The data were
derived from the author’s experience as an advisor of parents and teachers
of disabled children in special education classes in Japanese local public
elementary and junior high schools. When the same Subject child mediated
both systems, two kinds of contradictions became visible, both of which
were the possible moments of the development of each system: intra-systemic
and inter-systemic contradictions. The latter occurs because the adults in
each system envision the future of the same Subject child based on the
different ontogenetic history of the system, and the former occurs because
the possible future of the child has to be envisioned based on the existing
past. The possibility of the resolution of the contradictions and the
development of the systems with a shared ontogenetic history is discussed.

Objective Subjectification: The Anti-Method of Social Work

Morten Nissen, Ph.D.
University of Copenhagen


The paper sets out to understand an important paradox in the author’s
action research cooperation with a social work development project called
“Wild Learning”: the fact that the methods which are developed in the
project mostly consist in anti-method. A sketch of the theoretical concepts
in the dialectical tradition of method, objectification, subjectification,
and participation is presented to explain the idea that social work itself
represents a paradoxical form of knowledge which can be only inadequately
and temporarily objectified as method by way of what is introduced as a
“boundary objectivity.” Current “postmodern” forms of this paradox are
briefly considered. As a conclusion, an overall understanding of social
work as “critique” is suggested, in which both “method” and “anti-method”
are necessary moments in a continuous transformation.

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