Of the things we have learnt from the CHAT tradition:
* who we are as individuals is a product of activity,
* the "unit of analysis" needs to be "activity," rather than taking
the individual as unit of analysis and adding individuals together
to make social relations, etc.
* relations between "individuals" are only possible because
individuals are already material systems of activity, but if we
talk (as Anna does) about inter-subjective relations, i.e., direct
relations between two "psyches," then we can only be talking about
telepathy or some kind of mysticism, because one psyche can only
communicate with another by means of some kind of material
* the CHAT tradition is well placed in terms of its basic
theoretical resources, to overcome objectivism, better placed than
any of the individualist currents found in the capitalist world.
There is an important difference between conceiving social relations,
psychology, learning etc., as relations between psyches which happens
to be influenced by activity, culture, history, etc., and concepts of
subjectivity which include individuals, culture and practical
interaction within a single unit of analysis.
The idea as the psyche as an independent entity with a reality of its
own is an illusion. To recognise this does not necessarily entail
flopping over into an objectivist position which marginalises the
agency of individuals.
Anna is right in identifying a problem of objectivism in the CHAT
tradition, but this same objectivism is sound in structuralism,
poststructuralism and other non-Soviet currents of theory. To abandon
what is distinctive about the Soviet tradition in favour of the same
individualist foundation that is used by for example the
poststructuralists will only mean jumping out of the frying pan into
We do need to tackle the problem of the "death of the subject", but we
need to recognise that this phenomenon is not a product or exclusive
problem of CHAT theory. It has its root in social conditions, in
culture and history.
At 03:52 AM 1/11/2005 +0000, you wrote:
I don't quite follow you, but I respect your thoughts. Would you
expand on this when you have a moment?
> The problem is, IMHO, that once we define the relevant
> inter-individual and intra-individual, we have moved away
> insights which have given the CHAT tradition its great
> posing of the problem makes the individual the basic unit of
> and discounts the existence of mediation (i.e. the "CH" part
> at a fundamental level. Personally, I think this is the
wrong way to
> go to find a solution to the objectivist tendencies in CHAT.
Andy Blunden, on behalf of the Victorian Peace Network, Phone (+61)
Alexander Surmava's Tour - September/October 2006
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