No to disrupt the present flow, but to supplement it, I pleasantly found out
that the archives of xlchc (pre-xmca) are conveniently in unix mailbox
format. Here's part one of an 18 year old exchange that could be refreshing.
---------- Forwarded Message ----------
Date: Tuesday 17 November 1987 11:14 am
From: Jon Tudge <PSYJRT who-is-at UTAHBUS>
To: XLCHC who-is-at sdcsvax
Trying to send a text file (comments on the seminars) and having many
difficulties. Is anything getting to you? No mail has arrived for three
days or more -- a record! I'll try different ways to send this message;
let me know what happens please. Jon
Greetings from Utah!
Barbara Rogoff, Cindy Berg and I have been following Engstrom's
seminars with a good deal of interest, and met last week to discuss the
summaries so far. Some things were not altogether clear, and we'd like to
run through our understanding of a part of Yrjo's position, as summarized,
and would be interested in some feedback.
We were most interested in the reformulated set of triangles.
Vygotsky's original triangle was the subject-object relation, mediated by
tools/signs. The unmediated subject-object relation has to do with lower
mental processes among humans, and animal relations. Engstrom has now
reformulated this relationship into a three-way relationship, incorporating
population/community. Where Vygotsky had one mediating link connecting his
single subject-object line, Engstrom has a mediating link for each of the
three sides of the triangle. So, "rules" mediate relations between
"subject" and "community/population", and the "division of labour" is the
mediating link between "community/population" and "objects". That's fairly
clear. We had more difficulty with the inner points of the triangles -- in
particular why they should be termed "subprocesses". "Sub" in what sense?
Wouldn't it make more sense to think of them as end-results of activity, or
the products of activity? In this sense, "consumption" would be the
product of the inner triangle (subject-object-community/population). In
terms of the animal world, it would be something like "animal survival".
Similarly, "production" would be the result of the subject-object relation,
as mediated by "tools/signs", and so on.
In keeping with Vygotsky's view of the unmediated relations as lower
mental processes, on a par with animal activity, perhaps it would make more
sense to consider the inner triangle merely as a triangle and the 3 outer
triangles as 3-dimensional, as pyramids. They do exemplify, after all,
higher mental processes. This model would have the advantage of allowing
us to refer to "consumption", the product of lower mental processes, in a
way fully in line with Vygotsky's thinking: "Consumption is the pits"
(Vygotsky, 11 June, 1934).
It is clearly important to take the passage of time into account, but
we were mystified as to why a "parallelogram of development" should be
invoked here. Keeping with the notion of pyramids for a while, over time
one would expect that relations between the base elements (for example,
between subject and community, as mediated by rules) would change, thereby
altering the shape and size of the pyramid. As the 3 pyramids would not
alter in identical fashion, we would also have to consider the plane
consisting of the set of relations between the 3 apexes (apices???), which
would clearly change with time.
We await any and all responses with bated breath.
Well, there's a surprise - I seem to have retrieved the text.
I wonder whether this will actually make it
All the best, Jon
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