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[Xmca-l] The Diagnostic Zoped
I've been comparing the 2001 Korotaeva manuscript of Vygotsky's final
pedological lectures with the version published in Volume Four of the
Russian Collected Works (Volume Five of the English). This kind of
textological comparison is fairly grueling work, and yields few dramatic
moments. But the section which is called "The Problem of Age and the
Dynamics of Development" (pp. 199-205) is an exception.
First of all, the TITLE'S different! The CW has "dynamics", which makes no
sense, because the previous section was about dynamics. The Korotaeva
manuscript makes it clear that this is about diagnostics. Secondly, there
are two paras in the CW that don't appear in Korotaeva, and thirteen
paragraphs (!!) in Korotaeva that do not appear in the CW. Thirdly, the
word "pedology", which occurs 32 times in Korotaeva, does not appear once
in the CW.
I've always thought of the Soviet and the Western distortions of the Zoped
as being symmetrical: the Soviets pretended that it was all development and
no learning, dissolving it into the notion of leading activity, while the
Americans pretended that it was all learning and no development, dissolving
it into the notion of scaffolding.
But the Korotaeva manuscript really makes it clear that the Soviets and the
Americans really misconceived the Zoped in exactly the same way: both
ignored the pedological nature of the Zoped--that it wasn't a description
of dynamics at all but rather a diagnostic tool to be linked to very
precise ideas about how and above all when neoformations arise, through
lines of development, from the social situation. The Zoped wasn't a fever,
or even a temperature; it was a thermometer.