Re: [xmca] neoformation / zpd

From: Lois Holzman <lholzman who-is-at>
Date: Mon Feb 18 2008 - 11:10:40 PST

Thanks, Paul, for expanding on what you were thinking.
How did we get to this moment in the conversation and what are we
doing in having it?
One place I'm coming from is that I do believe that the 30 years of
work I've been involved with with inner city US kids has had a
positive impact and that it is a variant of what Newman and I
developed therapeutically, which is itself a variant on Vygotsky. Some
people see it and agree and others don't. No problem. Maybe you are
saying that whatever I and others are doing i(for example, the All
Stars work with young people n the US that Dot mentioned I introduced
her to, or what Volker mentioned in Serbia) doesn't or cannot count
for you as transforming commodification or as development (because
that can't happen in a capitalist country/a country becoming
capitalist). Or maybe you're saying that it might, but it can't count
as within the CHAT tradition. Or maybe you're saying that whatever it
is, it's not something you are interested in talking about. Or maybe....
It seems like you have some outside criteria for what counts as
development and/or transformation and I don't. It's probably good to
agree to disagree about that!

On Feb 14, 2008, at 3:36 PM, Paul Dillon wrote:

> Lois,
> This response has been several days in gestation and since I
> started it other posts have been made on the thread that I have't
> read yet. But to finish . .
> Yes, you correctly identify the direction from which my comment
> was made The phrase I used , "commodification of cuture" cocould be
> simply reduced to "commodification" if we define culture as the
> totality of artefacts as has been suggested recently on the list. I
> agree with "most people" that the only the attempts to stop
> commodification involve the development of socialist institutions,
> but I disagree that socialism has failed. There are millions of
> people throughout the world who still actively pursue the
> construction of socialism, although not in the most privileged
> country of the global capitalist system. There are four countries
> in the Western Hemisphere whose governments (all democratically
> elected) are actively pursuing the construction of socialist
> societies. At the same time, the capitalist societies increasingly
> face crises whose resolution isn't clear to anyone. Socialism, far
> from having failed, is daily proving its viability: according to UN
> statistics, Venezuela has reduced the percentage of those living in
> poverty by 30% in the past 5 years. There is no other country in
> the world that has ever achieved such a drastic reduction and it is
> still in process.
> I think this is relevant to the discussion about "learning" and
> "structure" in two senses:
> (1) Commodification, turning all artefacts into commodities, that
> very special kind of artefact (a widget) whose goal is to generate
> the greatest profit when exchanged in the market), necessarily
> generates exploitation of humans and the natural environment,
> perhaps for the simple reason that nothing qualitative of the human
> or the environment remains reflected in the numbers on the stock
> exchange that guide the way the capitalist society's labor and
> resources are brought together in the day-to-day reproduction of the
> society as a whole. I think that the fetishization/alienation
> inherent in these social relations exists within every member of the
> society and if not confronted, subordinate all individual
> development within a logic of exploitation.
> (2) For me Vygotsky's concept of ZPD is related to Paolo
> Freire's (following Jaspers) notion of "situation limits"; those
> frontiers whose transcendence awakens the very person who learns,
> awakens the learner. For Freire these situation limits are
> precisely those in which the structures of exploitation are
> confronted. In the countries that have been subordinated and
> dominated to those countries in which capitalism emerged, the
> political dimension of leanring, e.g., becoming literate, and the
> social dimension of "development" are much closer to the surface
> than in the central countries of the global system, especially the
> USA. It's not comfortable to internalize that ones own entire
> world depends on systematic exploitationd
> Development necesarrily involves a moral dimension that is socially
> defined -- insofar as the morality (the norms) of the society
> presupposes exploitation -- well, what exactly is being develooped?
> For me the idea that individuals can be the authors of social
> transformation simply has no empirical or theoretical basis. Wind
> waves don't affect tides.
> AlthoughI am not really satisfied with this response to your post,
> I'm sending it off, hopefully it's not totally incoherent.
> Paul
> Lois Holzman <> wrote:
> I think we're talking about different things, Paul, but I'll try
> incorporating what I think is your topic into mine and see what gets
> created.
> The commodification of culture that is inherent in capitalism has been
> going on for some centuries. Attempt to transform it (most attempts
> people call socialism) failed, although some people think that it
> slowed it down some. So on that level I can't point to anyone(s).
> However, commodification is a process as well as a product, and from
> that perspective, I think masses of people are, in different ways,
> transforming the commodification of culture every day. I could give
> instances, as I'm sure others here could, but I rather wait to see if
> Im even coming close to addressing what you are raising.
> Lois
> Lois Holzman, Director
> East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy
> 920 Broadway, 14th floor
> New York NY 10010
> tel. 212.941.8906 ext. 324
> fax 212.941.0511
> On Feb 11, 2008, at 8:44 PM, Paul Dillon wrote:
>> Lois,
>> Please point out to me anyone who has transformed the
>> commodification of culture or even slowed it down.
>> Paul
>> Lois Holzman wrote:
>> Doesn't this "leave out" that determined as we are, we qualitatively
>> transform that which determines us? And that includes the
>> transformation of "the old" rather than a leaving behind?
>> Lois
>> On Feb 9, 2008, at 2:15 AM, Paul Dillon wrote:
>>> 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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