Re: [xmca] Vygotsky, Lukacs and Lenin - another try

From: Steve Gabosch <sgabosch who-is-at comcast.net>
Date: Sun Apr 20 2008 - 17:35:57 PDT

Vygotsky and Lenin on Learning: The Parallel Structures of Individual
and Social Development
by Wayne Au
Science & Society, Vol. 71, No. 3, July 2007, 273298

Here is a .pdf file of Wayne Au's article, which Wayne was kind enough
to recently send me, and just gave me permission to send on to xmca.
This article was discussed in some depth by Zeus Leonardo, a presenter
in the AERA session on Vygotsky and Freire. Anna Stetsenko and Martin
Packer, Tamara Ball and others also presented. I thought it was a
great session. I was intrigued by this article, which I hadn't known
about. Wayne says he had trouble getting it published in the regular
academic journals, so he sent it to Science and Society, an
intellectual leftist journal.

Bruce, I'd like to discuss this article, and maybe some others would,
too, now that it is accessible. Would you be willing to write up some
introductory comments to kick off a little impromptu mini-
discussion? You have already gotten us started nicely. Your comment
about Trotsky and transitional politics might be helpful to explain,
for example. Perhaps Lenin's theory of the revolutionary proletarian
party fits in, too. The question of whether Vygotsky specifically
adapted some of his ideas from Lenin's WITBD is academically
interesting, but my take on the more fundamental level is that it was
the Russian Revolution itself, and the way class society and class
politics in Russia actually developed in the decades leading up to
1917, the connections this revolution had with the rest of the world,
and the lessons that Lenin, Trotsky, Lukacs, Vygotsky, Luria, Leontiev
and many, many all over the world more drew from that remarkable
experience, that creates the most important synchronicity between
Lenin and Vygotsky. Both were very much products, participants, and
leaders in that revolution. The question I find myself asking is what
did Vygotsky, Lenin and others specifically learn from those years
that can inform us today - in class politics, in cultural psychology,
in .... ?

- Steve

On Apr 20, 2008, at 4:45 PM, Andy Blunden wrote:

> I think you are right Bruce that these writers are all moving in the
> same space so to speak. The stuff in WITBD about scientific
> consciousness, which BTW, utilises a famous quote from Kautsky is
> very relevant and connects up with Lukacs' famous contribution:
> basically, working class people cannot learn about the dynamics of
> society as a whole, knowledge which they need if they are to become
> the ruling class and be responsible for managing social life as a
> whole, out of the conditions of everyday life in the factory. They
> have to become intellectuals, sort of, and acquire the knowledge of
> their age, and they have to get involved in the struggles and
> problems of the students, the intellecuals, the small business
> people, peassants and so on, in order to develop a universal
> consciousness, and they need a party organisation to achieve all
> that learning.
>
> http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1901/witbd/ii.htm
>
> A lot of this has been attacked for being elitist - why can't
> workers know and do everything? why is their experience in factory
> work so inferior - and such rhetoric, but it is really just very
> basic marxism, which is why Lenin used the quote from Kautsky in his
> polemic against the Mensheviks, to set it all off.
>
> Andy
>
> Bruce Robinson wrote:
>>
>> Perhaps a link here is the relation of both to Lenin's ideas. In
>> his article in
>> Science and SOCIETY July 2007 on Vygotsky and Lenin, Wayne Au draws
>> a very direct
>> link between Lenin's 'What is to be done?' and LSV on two issues
>> related to
>> learning: the difference between everyday and scientific
>> consciousness and the
>> ZPD. Au concludes LSV might have been directly aware of WITBD in
>> his writing or
>> it might also have been that they approached related problems from
>> the same
>> dialectical materialist framework, thus reaching similar
>> conclusions. The former
>> seems possible to me.
>> Lukacs of course took up these ideas of Lenin's in 'history and Class
>> Consciousness', in my view in a rather fetishised way, making the
>> revolution the
>> point at which the proletariat leapt to a realisation of its
>> historic class
>> consciousness. I'm not sure if this is what you're referring to
>> Joao, but I feel
>> that much closer relationship to the ZPD can be found in Lenin and
>> also
>> particularly in Trotsky with his conception of transitional
>> politics and demands.
>> I'm afraid I don't have the exact reference for the Au article with
>> me but it
>> should be easy to find as the title starts with 'Vygotsky and
>> Lenin'. I would be
>> interested to hear what xmca'ers think of it.
>> BTW, I think there is a lot in Lukacs' last unfinished text 'The
>> Ontology of
>> Social Being' that is of interest from a CHAT perspective.
>> Bruce Robinson
>>
>> _______________________________________________
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>> xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
>> http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
>
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435 Skype
> andy.blunden
>
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Received on Sun Apr 20 17:37 PDT 2008

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