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[Xmca-l] Resending LSV/ANL on crisis in ontogengy
Thanks for pointing out my error in using color to code the part of the
text I was trying to draw attention to, Andy. I will repeat here using
You ask in a follow up note why I suggest that perhaps a return to LSV's
theory of alternating crises and lithic (relatively stable) periods of
development might be worth returning to investigate again after a few years
of the topic having been subsumed or scattered among
other topics: Because last time around we foundered for lack of clarity and
several issues and because my focal long term interest in the role of
culture in human development has not abated in the interim.
No problem if its not interesting or potentially useful for xmca members.
Picking on just one thread from your multiplex comments in the context of
the discussion on printing presses and digital computer
technologies, i would like to thank you for juxtaposing these two
paragraphs, one from LSV on crises in development, the other
from Leontiev. I have made a separate header because I am not agile or
learned enough to keep track of both at the same time,
the ontogenetic level of analysis is plenty enough for me to try to think
systematically about in a single message..
\Vygotsky, (could you give pages in current English version so we enter the
relevant portion of the text?):
These ages (i.e. stable ages--DK) and this type of child development have
been studied more completely than ages characterized by a different course
of child development (i.e.the crisis--DK). These latter were discovered by
empirical paths, one by one, in a haphazard manner, and many have still not
been shown by the majority of investigators in systems and are not included
in the general periodization of child development. Many authors have even
doubted the evidence of the inner necessity of their existence. Many are
inclined to take them more as “maladies” of development, as deviations of
the process fromthe normal path, than as internally necessary periods of
child development. Almost none of the bourgeois investigators have realized
their theoretical signfiicance, and the attempt in our book at their
systematization, at their theoretical interpretation, and at their
inclusion in the general scheme of child development for this reason should
be seen as perhaps the first attempt of this kind."
“These crises—the three year old crisis, the seven year old crisis, the
adolescent crisis, the youth crisis—are always associated with a change of
stage. They indicate in clear, obvious form that these changes, these
transitions from one stage to another have an inner necessity of their
own. The existence of development of crises has long been known and their
‘classic’ interpretation is that they are caused by the child’s maturing
inner characteristics and the contradictions that arise on that soil
between it andthe environment. From the standpoint of that interpretation
the crises are, of course, inevitable, because these contradictions are
inevitable in any conditions. There is nothing more false, however, in the
theory of the development of the child’s psyche than this idea. In fact,
crises are not at all inevitable accomplishments of psychic development. It
is not the crises which are inevitable, but the turning points or breaks,
the qualitative shifts in development. T*he crisis, on the contrary, is*
*evidence that a turning point or shift has not been made in time.
Thereneed by no crises at all if the child’s psychic development does not
takeshape spontaneously but in a rationally controlled process,
controlledupbringing.” (pp. 398-399)*
Leontiev, A.N. (1981). Problems of the Development of the Mind. Progress:
I take the *marked* text to be the crux of the argument, and the kind of
difference we see in the two men's articles about the "problem of the
In American developmental psychology the issue of continuities and
discontinuities in ontogenetic development
continues today the discussion taking place in the 1920's and 1930's. But I
have never seen anyone argue that (say) the syndrome
of behaviors identified as "the terrible twos" occurs because a turning
point has not happened in time, nor that ontogeny is rendered continuous by
rational control of parents/society. That, it seems, is the red thread of
Stalinism that is so offputting in ANL.
I do not love LSV's characterization of non-Soviet psychologists treating
such periods "as deviations of the process from the normal path." I am not
sure who he is referring to, and perhaps he is right and I just need to dig
deeper into the history of European and American developmental psychology.
Piaget and Erikson, two Europeans whose work was influential from the
1950/60's don't, at least on the surface, fit this discussion. Maybe they
do below the surface, or there are other, allied issue to raised.
It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an object
that creates history. Ernst Boesch.