Re: [xmca] Stetsenko paper -- questions

From: Vera P. John-Steiner (
Date: Mon Oct 31 2005 - 14:59:31 PST

I am still trying to catch up with the AS discussion which I consider a
very important contribution to our shared thinking. I think the article,
as so much of Anna's writing, reflects the work of a profound thinker.
The article can also be effectively linked to Mervi Hasu's piece in the
current MCA issue, addressing "sensitive ethnography."
The point I would like to make is relevant to "perezhivanie" that is
that we all bring to our joint discussion. Each of us is a changing,
functional subset of human possibilities at a particular historical
period. By bringing together our particular configuration--and thus our
subjectivities, we provide complimentarity to our joint activity and
discourse. Were that not the case, we would have no discourse, we would
be copies of each other, rather than contstantly interwoven and
transformed groups of beings. But of course, the meams that we use to
create this discourse are social: language, computer, e-mail list, etc.
So there is no seperation between the individual and the social, but
they are in productive, dialectical tension, as Wertsch and his
collaborators have written a few years ago.
(Sorry, my students are waiting.)
If anyone wants me to elaborate on this "inner speech writing" I will be
happy to do so,

Ana Marjanovic-Shane wrote:

> As I am reading Anna Stetsenko's paper, I have some questions. Since no
> one else made any comments yet, I feel a bit lost as to where to start,
> especially since it looks like not everyone had an opportunity to read it.
> The main issue that Stetsenko introduces is that CHAT has not placed
> sufficient emphasis (or almost any) to the third "link" in the
> Cultural-Historical model, namely the "human subjectivity" [the first
> and the second "links" being: collaborative practice of material
> production and collective exchanges]. And this is exactly what she is
> trying to stress and simultaneously to show what needs to be
> foregrounded and reconceptualized in order not to drop "human
> subjectivity" from the picture of human development and human existence.
> Without giving human subjectivity (question: why cannot we say "psyche"
> in English?? I am not quite sure why not) an equal role to the social
> exchanges (communication) and material production, one runs a risk of a
> distorted reductionist view.
> OK -- I agree. These "exaggerations" have not been so pronounced in
> Vygotsky, in my opinion, but in the overall development of CHAT, there
> is a general tendency to foreground the social aspect (both as
> activities of production and activities of communication), and a
> consequence of that is in keeping the dichotomy between individual and
> social dimensions.
> But there are some works today that continue in the "other" Vygotsky's
> tradition -- and those are the studies of creativity, where the CHAT
> model can be introduced, and was introduced in almost precisely the same
> way that Anna Stetsenko discusses it. (cycles between individual and the
> social). For instance in S. Moran and V. Steiner's article "Creativity
> in the Making" (Creativity and Development, Oxford University Press ,
> 2003), the individual and the social are seen as a continuum of
> practice, where processes of internalization of social practices are
> contributing to creating an individual, BUT also the processes of
> externalization, i.e. individual creativity are contributing to making
> of the social reality.
> One thing that I would like to discuss more is the difference between
> object relatedness when it is part of a subjective activity and when it
> is part of the social activity. How do we conceptualize this
> relationship and the "object" in two different ways? and how are these
> two object-relatedness-es mutually connected?
> Also what is the role of "experience" (perezhivanie) in this whole
> process -- i.e. -- I can conceptualize personal experience, and I can
> conceptualize shared experience, but I cannot conceptualize social
> experience and the relationships between them.
> Ana

Vera P. John-Steiner
Department of Linguistics
Humanities Bldg. 526
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM  87131
(505) 277-6353 or 277-4324

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