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[Xmca-l] Re: New Year's Perezhivanie



Dear Marc:

Perhaps I cast the net a little wide. I was trying to provide some
rationale for my critique by developing the argument that words (and
concepts) acquire their value in a text in relation to each other and not
in relation to any pre-existing concepts. If you get straight into this
argument, it sounds like I am arguing that words (and concepts) cannot be
applied to actual data, and I don't mean that at all.

So I started out by arguing against your assertion in the abstract that
perezhivanie is a "special" type of activity in Vasilyuk and a "special"
type of meaning in Vygotsky, and also your assertion on p. 4 that
perezhivanie is introduced as a pre-existing "special" term. on p. 4.

Then I tried to cast the net even wider by including not only your
discussion of translation difficulties but also some of the other work that
came in the special issue (e.g. two articles by Blunden and Veresov and
Fleer). I am a translator myself, and like most translators I have gone
through the phase of believing that words are essentially aliquot and
fungible, and can be exchanged like currencies in a bank. Like most
writers, I really believe that the root value of a word is its use value,
and the use value has to be found by comparing it to other words in the
text. This is why we have to keep reminding ourselves when the word is
being used by Vygotsky and when it is being used by someone else who wants
to cite Vygotsky's name without actually invoking his ideas
(e.g., Vasilyuk).

I think one of the undoubted merits of your work--and also Roth's work--is
that you make this very explicit: in your conclusion it becomes pretty
clear that what is really happening with Carla is that we are simply
learning new words with which to describe all too common experiences. I
think that the points you make about "the child's disruption (being) caused
by out of school conditions" are not new, but of course this doesn't make
them any more valid. It just means that we shouldn't try to use brand new
words to describe them.

Speaking of which, I really loved the example from MacBeth, not least as an
introduction to the idea of emotion as "sputnik" (that is, companion god,
but also as new moon) to development. The problem is that perezhivanie, and
also emotion, are always there; what we need to do when we study children
is discover what is not always there; what is specific to this zone of
development and what is a unique harbinger of the proximate zone of
development.

And--what I loved most--you have a very clear sense that it is precisely
the semiotic and not the activity interpretation of "perezhivanie" that
addresses this problem. Why so? Because, as we know from Vygotsky,
perezhivanie is constructed from two sides at once: the experienced and the
experiential.  That is, it is "constructed" on one side, but it is
"construed" on the other.

"The Thane of Fife
He had a Wife
Where is she now?"
That's all we know....

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 11:47 AM, Marc Clarà <marc.clara@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi, David, and thank you for your comments, they certainly will help me to
> improve my approach -since, of course, my intention was not to distract.
> However, I don't completely understand your first two critiques. In the
> paper, I recognize the translation problems of the word perezhivanie, but I
> argue that it is even more problematic the distinction between the everyday
> sense of the term, the traditional use of the term in psychology, and the
> specific use that Vasilyuk tries to introduce. I don't say that
> perezhivanie is originally a special term in Russian; I just recognize that
> there is a terminological problem that have some influence on the vagueness
> of the concept, and that the different usages of the word should be
> distinguished to approach the scientific concept(s) of perezhivanie. I
> understand even less your second critique, since although recognizing in
> the beginning of my paper these terminological issues, I think that in the
> remaining of my paper I don't try to address the issue from a "my
> dictionary is bigger than yours" stance, but on the contrary, I think I
> rely heavily on the texts by both Vygotsky and Vasilyuk and try to built a
> comprehensive interpretation of the concepts, which I exemplify with
> empirical data (also to exemplify the usefulness of this interpretation). I
> understand better your third critique, and I agree. Of course, by using my
> interpretation of Vygotsky's perezhivanie to study experiencing-as-struggle
> in teachers, I am pushing the concept out of the terrain and the problem in
> which Vygotsky proposed the concept. Here, it's true, I assume that
> perezhivanie (as a type of mediator, in my interpretation) is crucial to
> understand many issues (of course, child development, but many other issues
> as well). In fact, I made this assumption explicit in the paper. I accept
> the critique that this assumption was not made by Vygotsky, so if I was a
> psychology historian, this would be a limitation. However, I also see some
> potentiality in this kind of approach (i.e., pushing forward the concepts
> proposed by others), since it may permit the concept gain new explanatory
> power.
> Best regards,
> Marc.
>
> 2017-01-03 23:08 GMT+01:00 David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>:
>
> > I agree that LSV's Spinozism (not any kind of supposed Buberism and not
> > Judaism in general)--is relevant to his monism. To that extent, it is
> > relevant to his holistic approach to what we are calling
> > "perezhivanie": perezhivanie is a holistic, monist unit which includes
> both
> > the experience and the experiencer. But there are a lot of things in
> Marc's
> > article that I think are essentially distractions--things which direct
> our
> > attention away from the system of concepts that LSV is trying to evoke
> with
> > his use of the term. Here are three.
> >
> > First of all, I don't think that "perezhivanie" is originally a "special
> > term" in Russian: there is nothing special about the prefix "pere~"
> > ("trans") or the root "zhivanie" ("life") and Vygotsky was hardly the
> first
> > to put them together, even in the context of psychology. When he
> introduce
> > the term, he introduces it as a term which is already widely used. As an
> > analogy, "experience" is not a special term in English, although if you
> are
> > a systemic-functional linguist, "experiential" takes on a special meaning
> > in relation to a system of other functions. So I think that the key to
> > understanding Vygotsky's "perezhivanie" is not in Vasilyuk (who appears
> to
> > be an adept of the anti-Semitic Russian Orthodox church). The key to
> > understanding Vygotsky's "perezhivanie" is in Vygotsky.
> >
> > Secondly, and accordingly,  I don't think that "perezhivanie" or any
> other
> > term in Vygotsky can be resolved by the kind of "my dictionary is bigger
> > than yours" arguments that we translators love so much. Just last week we
> > had a rumble in Seoul over whether the word usually translated as
> > "spontaneous" could be translated by a Korean word meaning "spontaneous",
> > or by another one meaning "volitional" or by a different one  meaning
> > roughly  "indigeneous". A big enough dictionary allows all three
> > translations. But when we look in Vygotsky (his report on the
> construction
> > of preschoools to the All Russian Working Group on the topic), we see
> that
> > the real meaning is none of these: "spontaneous" learning, driven by the
> > child's needs, is contrased with "spontaneous reactive" learning. At this
> > point it becomes possible to consult a HUGE dictionary and include a VAST
> > footnote on the various possible meanings of "reactive". But it is also
> > possible to stop blaming our tools and just return to Vygotsky's report,
> > where it becomes clear that what Vygotsky really means has nothing to do
> > with reactology or behaviorism: he is referring to learning that is a
> > reaction to and against and eventually with a teacher-parent-state
> > syllabus. So "spontaneous" doesn't mean spontaneous or volitional or
> > indigenous; it means non-reactive, and "reactive" doesn't mean
> reactionary
> > or reactological or radioactive but rather non-spontaneous: Vygotsky's
> > concepts are part of a system, and their meaning owes, just as Spinoza
> > would have it, to their position in the system and not to their position
> in
> > a dictionary or a thesaurus.
> >
> > Thirdly, and as a more or less final result, I don't see that the data
> that
> > Marc ends his article with is relevant to Vygotsky's perezhivanie at all,
> > because LSV's "perezhivanie" is designed as a unit for describing the
> > development of the child's personality in the child's environment. On the
> > one hand, that means it has to include both the feeling of what happens
> to
> > the infant as it happens (e.g. the use of "perezhivanie" to describe the
> > infant drinking milk in Vygotsky's lecture on infancy" and it has to
> > include the thougth of what has happened when we reflect on its
> > consequences *e.g. the use of "perezhivanie" to describe the three
> children
> > in the dysfunctional family of "Problem of the Environment"). On the
> other
> > hand, it does not have to include--and I think it cannot include--the
> > response of an adult teacher to an unruly classroom, as Marc would have
> it
> > do.
> >
> > David Kellogg
> > Macquarie University
> >
> > On Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 4:45 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:
> >
> > > The attached article is focused on Vygotsky's Jewish legacy, also by a
> > > Bella (in response to Larry's "Bella has written a book on the relation
> > of
> > > Judaic tradition and Vygotsky (which I have not read) but at the heart
> of
> > > the Judaic tradition is the human path and humanity existing here and
> now
> > > in our living relations.")
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
> > > mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of lpscholar2@gmail.com
> > > Sent: Tuesday, January 03, 2017 2:25 PM
> > > To: Christopher Schuck <schuckcschuck@gmail.com>; eXtended Mind,
> > Culture,
> > > Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: New Year's Perezhivanie
> > >
> > > Christopher, your way of reading (entering into) and responding that
> > > offers examples and then alternatives (the otherwise) i believe
> captures
> > > the flow of perezhivanie.
> > > If the struggle between meaningfulness-meaninglessness is at the heart
> of
> > > this month’s article as the heart of crisis, I believe this is also the
> > > deep question that most often brings persons to Western forms of
> > > psycho-therapy -in   our particular localized  time and place.
> > > Your 2nd question of the relation between perezhivanie and (force)
> seems
> > > to be relevant. The relation of perezhivanie with less forceful, WEAKER
> > > notions of (entering into) such as enduring, revisiting, working
> > through. I
> > > would add (going out on a limb) that we may also want to explore the
> > notion
> > > of the Judaic tradition that runs through what Zukerman calls (the
> human
> > > path) of humanity. I lack background to be specific but do notice the
> > > number of Judaic scholars who have been and are engaged with
> > psychotherapy
> > > as expressing the character of human salvation and redemption.
> > > Martin Buber’s name is often mentioned in this regard.
> > > Bella has written a book on the relation of Judaic tradition and
> Vygotsky
> > > (which I have not read) but at the heart of the Judaic tradition is the
> > > human path and humanity existing here and now in our living relations.
> > > If this is going a  step too far, just ignore, and return to the
> question
> > > of less forceful (weaker) human paths of enduring and working through
> by
> > > (entering into) the meaningfulness-meaninglessness (crisis) as both
> > > existential and cultural-historical.
> > > An alternative image to forcefully hammering and smashing the bricks in
> > > the hope of clearing a space for something new to emerge or be created
> as
> > > the bricks scatter and we begin to (de-sign) something brand new from
> the
> > > rubble.
> > > The back and forth that feels like repetition and sameness and being
> > stuck
> > > may be actually a mood and an (entering into) and (living through) and
> > > (working through) the crisis.
> > > I would add and highlight this movement is not an interior journey of
> > > mastery towards (independence) but is,  using Zukerman’s words, an
> > > inter/mental back and forth generating a meaningful way forward from
> > within
> > > the tension of the crisis of perezhivanie.
> > >
> > > My belief is when moving through the crisis we do not travel alone but
> > > travel with others expressing care and concern for us. The time for
> > heroic
> > > journeys is now in question?
> > >
> > > Sent from my Windows 10 phone
> > >
> > > From: Christopher Schuck
> > > Sent: January 3, 2017 9:39 AM
> > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > Subject: [Xmca-l] New Year's Perezhivanie
> > >
> > > It's an interesting question (about the brick and perezhivanie), partly
> > > because that extended, "living-through", repeated doubling-back process
> > > evoked by the Vygotskian sense of the concept would seem to be at odds
> > with
> > > a single, discrete act of "smashing" that is immediate, forceful and
> even
> > > violent. It would suggest that part of what perezhivanie means is
> wrapped
> > > up in the symbolic marking of its end - and that this end, when it
> comes,
> > > can be forceful. Certainly, the image could not be more unified and
> > > embodying of a particular set of meaningful experiences. But is that
> how
> > > perezhivanie works? This leads me to ask:
> > >
> > > 1) what are the problems and contradictions encountered in using
> > > particular metaphors to depict perezhivanie, where perezhivanie is
> itself
> > > so defined by imagination and narrativity? Part of this might also be a
> > > question of what it means to describe and represent one's own
> > perezhivanie
> > > figuratively/narratively (whether to others, or to oneself), as opposed
> > to
> > > living that perezhivanie. Especially if the attempt to
> capture/represent
> > > one's own perezhivanie is, perhaps, also central to the living of it?
> > >
> > >  2) What is the nature of the relationship between perezhivanie and
> > force,
> > > either in terms of the internal process or in terms of how it finally
> > > "ends"?  (Not to mention, how it begins). It would seem that in both
> > > conceptions discussed in the article there is a certain intensity
> > required.
> > > But does this in some cases require something more explosive - and does
> > > Vasilyuk's conception of perezhivanie as activity speak more to this
> > > possibility? And how do we reconcile this with the less "forceful"
> notion
> > > of enduring, revisiting, and working through?
> > >
> > > On Monday, January 2, 2017, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:
> > >
> > > > The pieces of brick thrown up by this political hammering have not
> yet
> > > > fallen and made the devastation personally experienced by the
> > > nation/world.
> > > >
> > > > Still, genuinely, we can wish all of us 7.3 billion well in the new
> > year.
> > > >
> > > > So what do you think chuck, is this a good representation of
> > > perezhivanie?
> > > > :-)
> > > > Mike
> > > >
> > > > On Mon, Jan 2, 2017 at 11:24 AM Charles Bazerman <
> > > > bazerman@education.ucsb.edu> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > > So you think 2017 has any hope of being any better?
> > > > >
> > > > > Chuck
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > ----- Original Message -----
> > > > >
> > > > > From: mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu>
> > > > >
> > > > > Date: Monday, January 2, 2017 11:01 am
> > > > >
> > > > > Subject: [Xmca-l]  New Year's Perezhivanie
> > > > >
> > > > > To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > With the New Year, as our Russian colleagues put it!
> > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > This image forwarded from a friend more or less sums up my
> > > > > > experience
> > > > >
> > > > > > of
> > > > >
> > > > > > the past year. Thought you might find it interesting too.
> > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > Vis a vis the discussion of perezhivanie: Does this image provide
> > > > > > us
> > > > with
> > > > >
> > > > > > used (re-presented) behavioral evidence of a person undergoing
> > > > > perezhivanie?
> > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > Looking forward to the discussion.
> > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > Feliz año nuevo!
> > > > >
> > > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > > > Mike
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> >
>