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[xmca] Vygotsky and Volosinov
The abstracts for each article are not correct; they are from last issue.
Once again, on Vygotsky and Volosinov. The textual evidence of a connection is very tempting, of course. But a lot of what the Russian editors of the Collected Works say is simply not true: the quotations from Fet used in Chapter 7 of Thinking and Speech are actually different from the ones in Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. As for the Dostoevsky quote (the six drunken workers) this was apparently making the rounds, because at least two other writers use it.
But the textual evidence is not as interesting to me as the IDEOLOGICAL evidence, which I points less definitively but more insistently to a connection. We know that Luria and Vygotsky did not exactly see eye to eye on Freudianism after about 1925 when the co-authored a preface to "Beyond the Pleasure Principle".
In 1927, Volosinov published "Freudianism: A critical sketch" which included a direct criticism of Luria in Chapter Ten. Volosinov writes: “One can concur with Luria’s criticism of empirical psychology (the indictment of mental atomism. But what are the elements Freud uses to construct his whole personality? Those selfsame ‘atoms’ of empirical psychology—notions, feelings, desires. The introduction of the unconscious has not changed a single thing. Broadly speaking, the concept of the unconscious is a great deal more subjectivist than the concept of ‘consciousness’ in empirical psychology.”
Volosinov, V.N. (1987) Freudianism: A critical sketch. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.(p. 125)
The criticisms here sound VERY much like the criticisms of Freud's construct of the unconscious that we find in section 2 of Chapter 6 of Thinking and Speech. There are at least THREE points in 6.2 where Vygotsky is clearly in agreement with Volosinov rather than Luria.
a) The unity of consciousness cannot be upheld by mixing Freud’s concept of the unconscious with the ideas of general empirical psychology.
b) The development of consciousness cannot be explained by doing so, because Freud insists that the unconscious is hewn out of consciousness through mutilation and repression, while for empirical general psychology consciousness emerges from unconsciousness through the heightening of awareness.
c) Freud’s construct of the unconscious muddles up the non-conscious and the preconscious with the nonverbalized motive.
Now, of course, it's true that TWO of these points are points that both VNV and LSV share with general psychology. But what about the THIRD?
On questions touching the origins of inner speech (a term that VNV also uses) in social speech, LSV and VNV are still in perfect accord, but they have definitively parted ways with general psychology.
Seoul National University of Education
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