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[Xmca-l] Re: Objective and Subjective ZPDs

Of course we must distinguish, David, between between the environment and the neoformations (which are the opposites here) and the social situation of development to boot. Distinctions are necessary wherever there is a word. But the point is whether you have a concept of the unity, and if so whether you can make a beginning from that unity and proceed by means of differentiation. This is I believe, Vygotsky's method, which is in contrast to the approach which takes two concepts, each of them understood and defined independently of one another, and then *glues* them together. Vygotsky is very good at giving us concepts which are subject-objects; when we grasp these concepts, then we can grasp subjective and objective aspects of the whole. The whole is the social situation of development; the child's environment is just one aspect of the SSD cannot be meaningfully and completely described if it is taken as a starting point. The same goes for the psychological neoformation. An action is a unity of consciousness and behaviour, for example, and that is a starting point for us.

Ad. units of analysis. There is no implication that every unit is the same. Every molecule of H2O is identical but that is a peculiarity of the quantum world. A house is built of many different kinds of component, many of them bricks, and an organism is made up of many different kinds of cell, even though all these cells appeared by differentiation from originally a very simple organism.


*Andy Blunden*
On 7/09/2015 3:37 PM, David Kellogg wrote:


Surely, Andy, Vygotsky wishes us to distinguish between the social situation of development and the neoformations--as he points out, the creation of the neoformation is what liquidates the social situation of development (you yourself made the crucial point that the 'social situation' includes both the child and the environment, and for precisely this reason it involves a tension between individual and social, between external and internal, and--dare I say it--between objective and subjective. Just as surely, he would like to provide some link between the two, and it's for that reason he has lines of development. To tell you the truth, that's what I got out of your critique of Engestrom--without MISconceptions, concepts simply cannot develop, and with only non-fuzzy categories, we can have a perfectly good systems analysis, but no analysis into units.

The one part of your Engestrom paper I really disagreed with was where you say that the object of analysis can be rendered as nothing but millions of units of analysis. Buildings are not just billions of bricks; humans are not just trillions of cells, and language is not made up of hextillions of words. In between the brick and the building, there are human shaped units like rooms and there are environment shaped units like floors and ceilings, in between the cell and the human there are organs and systems, whose respiration and excretion is not like a cell but not exactly like a whole human being either, and in between the word and the clause there are lots of intermediate units like groups, phrases, and so on. So I think there must be units that are more clause like and units that are more text lke too. There always has to be some qualitative difference as well as quantitative differences between the Ur-phenomenon (the unit of analysis, word meaning, perizhivanie, etc.) and the macro phenomenon. So for analysis into units to work at all, we need fuzzy thinking.

David Kellogg

On Mon, Sep 7, 2015 at 1:19 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    Great article by Seth, David. So thoroughly researched
    and clearly explained.
    I think the problem with the notion of subjective and
    objective ZPDs is that like many others before him
    Seth has mixed up the subjective/objective distinction
    with the categories of universal, individual and
    particular, which is also why we get the "more or
    less" entering into what is supposed to be objective.
    A N Leontyev does the same thing with meanings which
    are "more or less objective".
    The culturally and historically normative is
    universal; that is what "universal" means. Like
    "normative" it does not mean "objective", as if every
    individual had the same one. They don't.
    What Seth calls the "subjective" ZPD should be called
    "individual." It is no more subjective than the
    so-called "objective ZPD.
    What is missing is that the universal it only
    manifested in the "particular" conditions of each
    family, school, etc., and it is this particular which
    is actual (=acting) for the given child, and not "more
    or less" active.
    ZPD is best retained, I think, as the concept which is
    both subjective and objective and inseparably so.
    Talking about subjective *and* objective ZPDs may have
    heuristic and pedagogical value, but I think it can,
    in the end, also contribute to confusion.

    On 6/09/2015 6:26 PM, David Kellogg wrote:

                Martin, Andy, Mike...and Others:

                I've been trying to make sense out of Seth
                Chaiklin's distinction between
                the "objective" ZPD and the subjective
        one. He's
                obviously got in mind
                exactly the material we are now translating:
                Vygotsky's attempt to render
                the ZPD as a "next zone of development",
        where the
                next zone of development
                is either

                a) given by the social situation of
                (and therefore more or less
                the same for a whole age group of children).

                b) given by the "ripening functions" in
        the lines
                of development (and
                therefore different for every individual

                So here's what I've got in chart form. As
                see, it's very different
                from the chart that Andy had in his 2009
                and also somewhat
                different from the very elegant
        formulations that
                Martin had (which to my
                chagrin I can't remember very well).

                I've added a column of linguistic
        indicators taken
                from Halliday's 2002
                volume on early childhood language,
        because I have
                to be able to apply all
                this to data some day very soon.....

                This is a very sketchy schematicky sort of
                preliminary draft, and
                criticisms, objections, imprecations, and even
                just gutteral mutterings
                would be most welcome.

                David Kellogg