Re: [xmca] déjatel’nost

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Wed Sep 03 2008 - 20:27:59 PDT

The polling booth is not working Mike. You can read the
abstracts, but I think there's a bug in the javascript or

... and "Right on!" with what you said. The quote from
Davydov (interdisciplinary) was excelelent.


Mike Cole wrote:
> I am unable to keep up with all of these very interesting and educational
> commentaries, but I think that the notion of interdisciplinarity as
> central to the
> sociao-cultural-historical-activity enterprise is extraordinarily
> important to keep in
> mind.
> In trying to reconcile his views with those of Eugene Matusov, Toomela
> says that the cultural historical and sociocultural views are
> complementary by virtue of their different levels of analysis/associated
> disciplines: psychology and sociology.
> I take this to be fundamental, serious, error. If the followers of
> vygotsky, luria, and
> leontiev want to separate the social, the historical, the cultural and
> the individual
> by discplines, their enterprise is dead in the water. What does societal
> mean if not
> a combination of "levels."? What does cultural HISTORICAL mean if not a
> mixture
> of syncronic and diachronic, macro and micro?
> Answer, "nothing" if it is suits you. But then jump out of the frying pan.
> Me? I am trying to survive and development in the frying pan. Maybe it
> will be the
> fire next time for some. But this is my one and only time, so far as I know.
> (In my bumb shelter, preparing for iscar)
> mike
> PS. There has been no commentary on Allan Lukes' interesting paper which is
> presumably of great relevance to ISCAR. There have been no additional
> votes on
> a paper for discussion (following ISCAR). Is this fatigue, vacation,
> overwork, indifference, or a technical glitch? I really do not know.
> Could someone go and
> vote for any old paper for discussion that they want and send me a note
> saying they did so in order for me, and bruce jones, our trusty tech
> helper, to figure out
> if we have another bug in our buggy system??
> On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 5:17 PM, Andy Blunden <
> <>> wrote:
> Thanks for that Dot.
> The article you provided us with from AA Leontyev really settled the
> matter, didn't it? But AAL also clearly showed how open is the whole
> science. In general, once a great founder has determined a unit of
> analysis - which is not *just* some thing known to everyone, which
> it is as well, but a clear *conception* of it, then, as you beg for,
> everyone else can just get on with doing the empirical and
> theoretical leg work without arguing about methodology all the time.
> But this is not the case (according to AAL, and I agree) with
> Activity Theory.
> You said, and I see that you are right, that ANL generally used the
> word "unit" in inverted commas, I think, (1) because he had not yet
> been able to form that *clear conception* of the thing, which
> dialectical science demands, and (2) because he worked with an
> interdisciplinary science which had three units: operation, action
> and activity. He explained what they are but IMHO, so far as I have
> read, which is not very far, being a slow reader, he never
> determined a clear Begriff of any of the three. But I think it can
> be done. Hegel gave us (I think) a good lead for "activity" and I
> think we go to other sources, and so some work, and maybe, hopefully
> find a way forward with "operation" and "action," but for now ...
> Andy
> Dot Robbins wrote:
> Dear Friends,
> I am writing without having thought through the implications, so
> in advance, I hope you will forgive me if this does not make sense.
> For me personally, I view Vygotsky's thoughts within a
> metacognitive framework… that is simply an intense awareness of
> the environment/situation in trying to solve a task/problem….the
> attempt is to stand aside and let intuition play a role, within
> a non-linear, asymmetrical framework that is not
> two-dimensional. Units of analysis for me are not basically
> concrete, but have a concrete universality. First, Vygotsky: If
> we look at his explanatory principle, we are viewing an attempt
> to understand consciousness – personality through the modus of
> thought and speech….word meaning. Within this approach, for me
> at least, it is so interesting to see components that have
> different origins (thought is pre-linguistic, speech is
> pre-intellectual), and with "engagements" and "separations,"
> they intertwine developmentally. Thought focuses on the whole,
> and speech on the part. There are many concepts of this nature,
> when viewing phenomena from this
> perspective…..spontaneous concepts (whole) and scientific
> concepts (part). It is a fluid dance of developmental movement
> that we will never be able to understand. Activity Theory takes
> a different mindset, for me, because it does not have an
> explanatory principle that I know of….please help me here.
> Therefore, speaking of "units of analysis" within this
> understanding does not have the same application. AT goes
> directly into various levels: activity, actions, operations,
> etc. A. A. Leontiev stated that his father never defined
> "units" and always had parentheses around the word. A. A. wrote:
> "…the concept of unit has little applicability to activity,
> action, or operation, since it presumes their discrete
> nature….In A. N. Leontiev's conception, the only thing that can
> be called a "unit" in the strict sense is activity (in an
> activity act)…" Now, A. N. Leontiev was most interested in
> "consciousness" and
> "personality." Again, A. A. Leontiev: "So it is not the
> element-by-element connections of "units" of consciousness with
> "units of activity" that is most important, but first, the
> system-forming role of consciousness in relation to the entirety
> of activities." So, there is a reverse formulation with activity
> theory itself being understood as a system of units of activity.
> For me, within the Vygotskian framework, units are a
> metatheoretical prism to help focus our attention on a
> particular object of study, and they cannot be viewed
> independently…..they remain within a sea of flux – process. I
> believe it might be good for a few moments to loosen the grip on
> trying to offer a precision definition of units, apart from the
> fact that when they capture our awareness, as a guiding star or
> a firm anchor, we need to see how we can translate that theory
> (whatever it means to each of us) into
> action/methodology/praxis, etc., and not try to pin
> down the exactness of this wonderful creative concept. The key
> understanding of units for me is simple: I don't think of a unit
> of analysis as a static term, but a moving
> dialectic/triadic…..within a developing relationship. Units are
> helpful, in my opinion, to grasp the genetic-development focus
> that is so difficult to comprehend and apply. Units of analysis
> are extremely important as an answer to associationism, just as
> the concept of "functional organs" is an answer to innatist
> thinking. And, it is very important to include another unit of
> analysis for Vygotsky, "experience" (see Peter Langford, 2005,
> p. 108). Thanks for listening……just thoughts that will change,
> for sure.
> Dot
> P.S. "A 'unit' (edinica), can also be referred to as a 'cell'
> (lketockaor jaceika) or arch (nacalo). It also bears an
> interesting relation to the idea of the 'concrete universal'
> (konkretnoe vseobšcee) as developed by Soviet philosopher such
> as IL'enkov who have attempted to develop Marx's method in a way
> influenced by Vygotsky, see Dialektika abstraktnogo I
> konkretnogo v 'Kapitale' Marksa, (Moscow, 1960). (Translated as
> The Dialectics of the Abstract and the Concrete in Marx's
> Capital (Moscow, Progress, 1982)" (Bakhurst, 1986, p.127).
> "Thought, speech and the genesis of meaning: on the 50th
> anniversary of Vygotsky's Myšlenie I Rec." Studies in Soviet
> Thought 31: 103-129.
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Received on Wed Sep 3 20:29 PDT 2008

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