development: loss, destruction, transformation

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Fri Mar 25 2005 - 12:17:14 PST

Hmmm, David.

Your note concerning whether the transformation of prior knowledge
systems a la Piaget or
Vygotsky as a "synonym" for "development as breaking away" (Yrjo
title) or loss, or
destruction of the old seems to have fallen on still waters that
remained unmoved.

I think you have a point. Developmental change in these approaches ( I
am not sure I would include Siegler here, although I find his work
very interesting, except his difficulty in acknowledging the source of
ideas about the use of microgenetic methods) does entail
transformation, as when LSV talks about scientific concepts
reorganizing everyday ones.
But I don't think that is what Yrjo and others have in mind. They are
talking about throwing out
prior cultural constraints on development which presumably means an
markedly new process of development.

I would lean toward Peg's idea of mutual appropriation in which both
the sociocultural enviroment of the child and the child are
co-participants actively seeking to change the other to their own
ends. This process can lead to marked discontinuities on both sides
and the system as a whole through inter-laced processes of

Another point. Old "stages" do not go away. Scientific concepts do not
entirely reorganize everyday ones, egocentricism is a life-long
issue, etc. I have one paper written with Eugene Subbotsky in a Swiss
journal where I give an example of kids and undergrads playing a game
where several kinds of activity usually thought of as following each
other in ontogeny all organize the children's behavior/thinking at
different moments in a single event at different moments in
unpredictable sequence. Eugene's example is from his work on moral

We some advocate of the strong "breaking awayt" tradition to get into
the discussion so we can all be pushed in our views.

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