[xmca] neoformation

From: Dot Robbins <drobbins72000 who-is-at yahoo.com>
Date: Sun Feb 03 2008 - 14:05:08 PST

Thank many of you for your thoughts on neoformations, ZPD, social situation of development, leading activity……..it 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,
  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 Sun Feb 3 14:07 PST 2008

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