Re: [xmca] Topics for December

From: Ana Marjanovic-Shane (
Date: Wed Nov 23 2005 - 16:21:49 PST

Hi Lois and all,
It would be interesting to talk about the "concept of development that
each organization works with and what the work looks like" -- especially
because each has developed practices that they claim are based on
Vygotsky's theories.
It would be really interesting if we could begin to understand how a
theory gets translated into a practice, what particular aspects or
implications of the theory are especially used or stressed
(foregrounded), and how is that connected to the cultural and historical
conditions of the organizers. Also, what other ideas and theoretical
assumptions are important for these practices. And there may be other
projects, in other countries, that could be brought in for the
comparison, too. This could be a more general discussion where the "All
Stars" and "Zdravo da ste" are just examples. We could include the Play
project from San Diego, Finland and Japan, too. (Sonja? Penti? are you
on line?)

It would be really good to have people who are involved in these
projects to come on line on the XMCA -- They could do the basic
presentation of the work they do or did within these projects.
I also think that it would be good to connect this kind of discussion
with the one before -- on subjectivity -- because it looks like a
lingering theme this fall. So maybe the questions and answers could also
touch upon the meaning of "individual development" -- both in order to
explore "individual" and to explore "development" as they look in these

What does everyone else think?

Lois Holzman wrote:

>Dear XMCA-ers,
>I've been talking with Mike about what topic to invite you all to play with
>for December. Mike suggested I ask you < a great idea! So I'm pasting below
>my messages to him about some ideas I had and ask you for some
>What do you think?
>First Message
>I'd like folks to learn about some Vygotskian-influenced programs I
>>collaborate with the All Stars' youth programs in the US and programs of
>>an organization in the former Yugoslavia called Zdravo da Ste (Hi Neighbor).
>>(They are connected through me.) I can tell you more if you like but here's
>>my question. Although the founders and their colleagues speak about their
>>work (in fact, I met the Zdravo da Ste folks at the Vygotsky-Piaget
>>conference in Generva in the 90s) they do not write academically (again, the
>>Yugos write but not in English). So the materials I have to present to XMCA
>>are not academic but more popular and/or my writing on their work. On the
>>one hand, I think this focus on practice might be refreshingly interesting
>>and challenging for the list; on the other hand, people might feel they do
>>not have enough "meat" to work with.
>>Any thoughts?
>>Oh, I also have videos...
>Second Message
>>Yes, it is all about the design of environments for development. What is
>>interesting to grapple with, perhaps, is the concept of development that each
>>organization works with and what the work looks like. I say this because each
>>has, independently, developed practices that they call activity theory based
>>or influenced but their understandings of activity theory are, excuse my
>>language here, radically dialectical and goal-less. Each also links
>>development with performance in everyday life. And, each is successful to the
>>extent that they are by virtue of being part of larger community-building
>>projects. For example, the former Yugoslavian organization works with
>>thousands of refugees and displaced persons of all ages. The youth work is
>>part of that. Ana is very familiar with the work by the way and her project
>>shares some of the features.
>>However, I guess you could be right in seeing this kind of topic as more a
>>show and tell, which I too would love to see people taking on for a period of
>>time. Maybe I should postpone this until I invite the specific people in
>>Serbia, Bosnia and Macedonia to come on to the list and participate. And maybe
>>I should ask the list if a show and tell is of any interest.
>>On the other hand, I did think of suggesting people read an article of mine on
>>performative psychology and education (it raises some of the same issues as
>>the practical work above) but that seemed self-promoting! What do you think?
>>My article is theoretical. Maybe pairing it with an article by my colleague
>>Carrie Lobman from Rutgers on improvisation in early childhood (a qualitative
>>study) would work.
>xmca mailing list

Ana Marjanovic-Shane

151 W. Tulpehocken St.

Philadelphia, PA 19144

Home office: (215) 843-2909

Mobile: (267) 334-2905

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