Re: [xmca] neoformation

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Wed Feb 06 2008 - 20:36:35 PST

Michael. I think your note reinforces what Peter wrote in an odd way.
the zoped cannot be isolated easily, not measured (perhaps at all, and
certainly not by standardized techniques, and its contextual aspects are
enormous. BUT, if you reduce it to scaffolding, "amount of help needed",
ignore what is written beyond Thought and Language and the
chapter in mind in society -- in short, if you assimilate it, as I first
did, to mediated stimulus response learning theory circa 1962, THEN
it can be assimilated by Americans.

However, if you keep on reading......

On Mon, Feb 4, 2008 at 5:16 AM, Michael Glassman <>

> You know it also might be the other way around, that people in the U.S.
> are not really that taken with Vygotsky but with the zpd because it fits
> relatively well in to modern mainstream discourse in the United States in
> studying children (it can be isolated, it can be measured, it measures a
> particular aspect of the child - cognitive development, its contextual
> aspects are limited), and they are happy to associate Vygotsky with the ZPD.
> Michael
> ________________________________
> From: on behalf of Peter Smagorinsky
> Sent: Mon 2/4/2008 6:06 AM
> To: 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'
> Subject: RE: [xmca] neoformation
> I wonder if the idea that "Americans" are heavily focused on the zpd comes
> from the possibility that Mind in Society presented it early as a
> Vygotskian
> construct in translation, and it was converted to a new metaphor
> ("scaffolding") that people can grasp relatively easily (if not
> particularly
> deeply in many cases). But I think it's mostly something that's focused on
> by people who haven't read much LSV, which would be most people in the US
> who talk about LSV. The zpd is also something that an ed psych textbook
> can
> include that "explains" Vygotsky while covering many perspectives on human
> development or other ed psych topics.
> But I think that people who read a bit beyond a chapter excerpt from Mind
> in
> Society look at more than the ZPD. In my view, the problem is that in the
> US, there's a paucity of people who've read beyond the introductory
> readings, and thus the appearance of a national focus on what's most
> readily
> available. Those who've read more tend to put the zpd into the perspective
> of Vygotsky's larger project, I think.
> Peter Smagorinsky
> The University of Georgia
> 125 Aderhold Hall
> Athens, GA 30602
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of Dot Robbins
> Sent: Sunday, February 03, 2008 5:05 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [xmca] neoformation
> Thank many of you for your thoughts on neoformations, ZPD, social
> situation
> of development, leading is interesting to find articles
> that
> try to return to the unity of the genetic, structural, and functional
> analysis of consciousness and development. And, when in Moscow in the
> past,
> I was asked numerous times why there is such a focus on the ZPD in the
> West,
> as opposed to critical/non-critical times of development neoformations,
> etc.
> The only answer I had (and correct me if this is wrong) is that in the
> USA,
> to my understanding, there are certainly many clinical psychologists who
> use
> Luria's ideas, but fewer psychologists who use Vygotsky's ideas (assuming
> that the majority of Vygotskians [certainly not all] in the USA are in
> some
> form of education). So, I continually look for articles that try to
> refocus
> on basic issues through the lens that includes non-linear thinking,
> non-classical or organic psychology, historical method, "systemics,"
> dialectics, etc., a
> return to trying to understand what the "experimental-genetic method" is,
> and to develop my own Vygotskian heuristic that can be used for personal
> "transformation," which will also inspire/motivate others. It is a drive
> for
> constant change that leads to development in all ages, and this is where
> Vygotsky helps me. It is not so much striving to understand static
> definitions, but how to use a method for real change. How do we actually
> understand the process of development as "developing" and the potentiality
> involved? And, all of this leads to thoughts on causality, determinism, as
> well as internalization, etc.
> I believe the ideas of neoformation, social situation of development,
> leading activity, ZPD, critical periods (that need to be extended beyond
> 17years of age, in Moscow there have been discussions on the critical ages
> of 22 and 24) have not been viewed in a unified manner, which must also
> include word meaning, concept formation, operational-technical and
> emotional-motivational aspects of activity, etc. Returning to
> neoformations,
> I would like to understand that concept more, especially in relation to
> its
> transitional role, and the fact that neoformations can be brought to life
> or
> experimentally created. It also returns to the ideas of "engagement" and
> "separation" where non-linear paths cross and form connections, such as
> spontaneous/scientific concepts (and to be honest, I feel that our
> interpretations are sometimes limiting and rigid.for example, scientific
> concepts which are often viewed from the abstract to the concrete, or
> spontaneous concepts from the concrete to
> the abstract, something I find difficult to truly understand in some
> Western texts).
> Nik Veresov has written an article that views neoformations (and the
> social situation of development) that encourages me regarding a newer
> vision
> of integral unity, non-linear thinking, etc. "Leading Activity in
> Development Psychology." Journal of Russian and East European Psychology,
> 2006, 44/5, pp. 7-25. He returns to a position of Vygotskian ideas within
> a
> systemic, organic (living, dialectical) approach. He also enters the world
> of "between" and Vygotsky's interaction of the ideal and real forms...I
> hope
> we will see more articles on the concept of neoformations. Thanks to
> David,
> Elina, Mike, others for stimulating new thoughts on a subject rarely
> discussed.
> Warm regards,
> Dot
> P.S. Nik also mentions K. Polivanova, and the word Sasha spoke of earlier
> subjectivization. "In her splendid book she cogently demonstrates that the
> content of crises is the transformation of an age-related new formation
> into
> a subjective capability-subjectivization." (p. 22)
> Dorothy (Dot) Robbins
> Professor of German
> Russian Orphanage Vyschgorod
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Received on Wed Feb 6 20:38 PST 2008

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