Re: [xmca] ZPD/Personality

From: Lois Holzman <lholzman who-is-at>
Date: Mon Feb 11 2008 - 08:44:23 PST

I find what Dot says helpful and thought provoking.
I wonder about how it is that there is such strong resistance to the
Also, could we (as Vygotsky did) think of the unity of cognition and
affect? If os, there is always a "zone of fusion."

On Feb 9, 2008, at 9:34 AM, Dot Robbins wrote:

> Dear Friends,
> Thank you for your thoughts on the ZPD and the aspect of the
> “whole,” Michael. Often, we try so hard to dissect meanings in terms
> of stratified definitions, which is certainly necessary. But, the
> concept of the ZPD for me is more of a construct of “magical
> activity.” If it is not headed towards creating new spaces of
> potential transformation (beyond what the individual could obtain),
> then it remains somewhat reified. It is exactly the understanding of
> the “personality” (whole) in Russian cultural-historical, non-
> classical psychology that has offered me that spark of inside magic,
> and somehow this can only be achieved when the cognitive meets the
> affective. Andy put all of this understanding into one term long
> ago, which really changed me totally…he called it the “zone of
> fusion.”
> At a conference in 2006, people were asked their opinions about
> things, and Volker stood up and asked all of us to “perform.” It was
> magic, and after that experience, we really saw each other (we
> normally have to see (or feel in case of blindness) each other in
> order to listen to each other), and the further discussions at that
> conference were automatically deeper. For me, entering the zones of
> the “living” ZPD means taking a risk, letting our humanness/
> vulnerability be shown. At Moscow State University, they have a
> department of the psychology of personality, with A. Asmolov as the
> head. I have never heard of anything like this before, and am
> fascinated by it. Alexei Alexeevitch Leontiev stated it best for me:
> “Unfortunately, contemporary psychology has to a large extent
> transformed itself from a science of the infinitely developing human
> being in an infinitely changing world, from a science of the action
> of the free and creative personality, into a science of the
> activity of a limited and rigid consciousness…Is there a psychology
> of activity? There is no such thing! And there never was such a
> thing either for Vygotsky or for Leontyev! There was a “psychology
> of activity, of consciousness, and of personality.”
> Asmolov, A. (1998). On the Verge of Non-Classical Psychology.
> Commack, New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. (Chapter 6:
> Personality Self-Fulfillment as a Condition and Purpose of the
> Historical-Evolutionary Development of Society)
> Bozhovich, L. I. (2004). “L. I. Bozhovich and the Psychology of
> Personality.” Journal of Russian & East European Psychology. Vol.
> 42/4.
> Leontyev, A. A. (1992). “Ecce Homo. Methodological Problems of the
> Activity Theoretical Approach.” Multidisciplinary Newsletter for
> Activity Theory. Vol. 11/12, pp.41-45.
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Received on Mon Feb 11 10:16 PST 2008

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