RE: [xmca] neoformation / zpd

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Fri Feb 08 2008 - 23:15:51 PST

This has been a great thread and Michael's post about the 'whole child' movement connected dots for me., Thinking of the context of US industrialization and rural-urban migration in 1880s-1920s, the historical timing of the whole child movement makes a lot of sense, although the historical explanation may not help set up zopeds designed for personal, indivudal transformation.
  In rural economies, such as those that predominated in 19th century USA, most people participate in quite similar activity systems, not as in today's "developed" countries, But the stages of learning required to assume the myriad occupations in capitalist urban society aren’t the same stages that define a child’s development as a fully participating member in all the activity systems that his or her family and community expect at a given age.
  Pop culture regularly portrays the city kid who is totally shocked at the work expected of kids on the farms, rural kids (say rural Africa or Latin America) who are raised to fit into a narrow and rigid, pre-estabished life made up of participation in a relatively small and tightly bounded set of activity systems, a rigid habitus corresponding to the limited set of fields of peasant/farmer society.
  When people talk about whether someone has grown up, another common theme of books and movies, they are talking about a not-yet “adult” person’s emotional and ethical development in relation to social expectations. The expectation to “go out and get a job” is historically linked to capitalist societies. And the age at which someone is expected to “get a job” really depends on the position of their family in the socio-economic hierarchy. In farm families (campesinos) kids start working as soon as they are able to complete a given task. I suppose that’s where the more limited concept of learning comes in: the correlation between a child’s age and his or her ability to perform specific actions.
  The child’s socio-historical context, made up of the specific set of activity systems (fields) in which she or he will increasingly participate, determines which sets of emotional, social, cognitive, and motor competencies allow fuller, more central participation. The assumption of new roles and leaving behind the old ones certainly also requires all kinds of new emotional and social skills.

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Received on Fri Feb 8 23:18 PST 2008

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