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[Xmca-l] Re: Agent, Range, and Beneficiary
- To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Agent, Range, and Beneficiary
- From: Martin John Packer <email@example.com>
- Date: Wed, 6 Apr 2016 21:28:57 +0000
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I don’t have to time to take on a serious editing role, but as you know I’ve made good use of your English version of Thinking & Speech, and even sent back to you some suggested edits. I’m not using it in class now, because for better or worse there are Spanish translations. But it continues to be very helpful to my ongoing efforts to surpass the jargon and better understand Vygotsky.
So if you might be willing to share your English intermediate drafts of this text, I would be very interested in reading them. My own understanding of children’s development has been much influenced by Vygotsky’s lectures, but as you note what’s available in English is very limited.
> On Apr 6, 2016, at 4:04 PM, David Kellogg <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> A couple of years ago I asked on the list if anybody would be willing to
> edit the English version, and the silence was deafening. So we've just been
> publishing them in Korean.
> I now have an undergraduate helping to edit them for free and he's pretty
> good. The real problem is the publisher. I've approached a few publishers
> but nobody is seriously interested yet.
> Interesting, no? Considering how often people mine poor Vygotsky for
> jargon, often jargon that isn't even his but only a little gold dust seeded
> by some previous miner in the hope of jacking up the price of his claim
> ("scaffolding", "microgenesis", "psychological tool", etc.).
> Take, for example, the ZPD. When you read Vygotsky, it's measured in years.
> When your read anybody else, it isn't. Doesn't anybody ever wonder why?
> Well, the answer is right here--in Korean. Today our seventh volume is
> coming out. Here's the cover!
> On Thu, Apr 7, 2016 at 1:19 AM, Martin John Packer <email@example.com>
>> Right, but my question was whether there is an English version of your
>>> On Apr 5, 2016, at 10:41 PM, David Kellogg <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>>> No, we use the Russian. There isn't a German text for these lectures:
>>> the 2001 "Lectures on Pedology" which has not been translated into any
>>> language. I think we're the first, and it's going to be into Korean. My
>>> Korean is still not publishable, so I use English, that's all. (My
>>> isn't really publishable either, but I found somebody who will edit it
>>> It's true that Vygotsky uses German words when he first introduces the
>>> concepts: "Eigensinn" for wilfulness and "Trotz alter" for obstinacy. But
>>> he switches into Russian right away, and a lot of his examples are pure
>>> Russian (e.g. "Hu da!" for the critical threenager).
>>> In the second (2001, Korotaeva) lecture, which he begins by referring
>>> to the unfinished work of the first (1984/1998 RCW/ECW) fragment,
>>> delivers the goods: he really does describe what is new, consider the
>>> central and peripheral lines of development that leads to it, and give
>>> "zone of its proximal development"--that is, its relation to the NEXT
>>> of development (measured in years and not in minutes as is the fashion
>>> amongst impatient Western scholars).
>>> This is the clearest example of critical periods as a "turning of the
>>> tables"--a moment when the child tries to become the SOURCE and not just
>>> the SITE of development, a moment when the child attempts to substitute
>>> own developing volition for the influence of the environment.
>>> Sorry--I got the title wrong last time. "Agent", "Range", and
>>> are part of Halliday's ergative model, a model which is becoming
>>> increasingly important in English (and is already very important in
>>> languages like Chinese). It's a model which gives the "Medium" of a
>>> process equal importance with the "Process" which unfolds through the
>>> medium, and in that sense it's quite different from, but complementary
>>> the kind of Subject-Verb-Object transitivity we see in most English
>>> "He shut the door." (Subject-Verb-Object)
>>> "The door shut". (Ergative)
>>> "She boiled the kettle." (Subject-Verb-Object)
>>> "The kettle boiled." (Ergative)
>>> Cooking verbs ("The stew boiled"), verbs for operating machinery ("The
>>> drives well"), and a wide range of scientific English ("Stalactites
>>> are better analysed ergatively, but pain and disease can be analysed
>>> "I am battling cancer." (SVO)
>>> "The cancer metastasized." (Ergative)
>>> "I am having a bad reaction to chemotherapy." (SVO)
>>> "Chemotherapy really sucks." (Ergative)
>>> You can see that there are different theories of experience at work: one
>>> structure is good for emphasizing the role of man acting on an object in
>>> his environment (the "tool" relation which is placed at the centre of
>>> activity theory), while the other tends to work through the subject (the
>>> "internalization" relationship which Vygotsky himself emphasizes). One
>>> corresponds to the environmentalist, "brainwashing and torture"
>>> of why 21 Americans didn't return home after the Korean war, while the
>>> other is much more internal and insidious.
>>> Both are wrong of course, but that's the way with all these
>>> explanations: the truth lies beyond both extremes, since neither nature
>>> nurture nor even the two put together can ever give us free will.
>>> David Kellogg
>>> Macquarie University