Re: [xmca] LCA: AA Leontiev and Landolf/Thorne question

From: Wolff-Michael Roth (
Date: Tue Jul 05 2005 - 07:48:17 PDT

> At the basis of man's intellectual activity, at the basis of his
> thought, there lies the exploitation of material 'supports' and
> thought procedures elaborated by society and appropriated by the given
> individual. Of course, thought can be of varying degrees of
> complexity. It is obvious that in theoretical thought the basic means
> mediating intellectual activity is language. For this reason 'language
> and thought' is a problem of deep psychological significance.
> Not sure if there is a well-worked out answer, but how might we use
> the construct of "intellectual activity" or "theoretical thought" as
> candidates for activity?

HI Phil, Mike, and others:

I can't find the place right now in ACTIVITY, CONSCIOUSNESS. . . but
Leont'ev says something about schooling and the role of the object, and
the difference in what we observe when the goal of actions is given
from the outside versus when it is set by the acting individual.

The big problem with schooling, and here we need concrete analyses, may
be that the students find themselves in different activity systems.
What are the object/motives that they realize in their actions? How do
these relate to those that the school system attempts to implement. My
hunch is--which we described in our MCA piece on identity--that there
are two relevant activity systems overlapping and students do a form of
knot-working between the two: A student might sass a teacher in one,
but simultaneously gain symbolic capital in the system that really
matters to them, constituted by their peer community. . .

It doesn't even matter what students produce, they exchange it for
grades; and these grades are what matters, the grade report. Not
knowledge. STudents buy into participating only in so far as to avoid
punishment, a decrease in their room to maneuver and action
possibilities, rather than to engage in expansive learning, an
expansion of their action possibilities.

This expansion they achieve, for example, in inner-city schools, by
sassing the teacher. This increases their symbolic capital in their
peer group, and therefore what they can do and how they can do it.

and so on.


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