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[Xmca-l] Re: Happy New Year and Perezhivanie!

Thanks Andy for your thoughts on this, very useful. Yes - this way I have
also understood functionalism (and your stance in this discussion), that
is, as a social/sociological theory. And I agree with your critique of
Leontiev's implicit social theory.

Good point about Vasilyuk. I read Kozulin's 1991 paper (Life as authoring:
The humanistic tradition in Russian psychology) which I first thought was
the same one to which you referred in the Academia paper you linked, but
then I noticed it was another one, although with quite similar content.
Kozulin speaks of "The Psychology of Perezhivanie" and also of Vygotsky,
when he uses their ideas to criticize Marxism. But indeed, maybe he was
referring to dogmatic interpretations of Marx, which Vygotsky indeed
criticized. Kozulin also linked Vygotsky and Kozulin to Bakhtin's
dialogism, which is another story.

Best, Antti

On Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 2:49 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Antti, firstly on "functionalism." There is an issue about conceiving of
> the mind as an aggregate of various psychological functions, as opposed to
> an integrated "system" in which every psychological function (e.g.
> perceiving, acting, cognising, reading, ...) entails a particular
> configuration of the entire system, and related issues. In this sense
> Vygotsky could be said to be a structuralist and definitely not a
> functionalist. Except of course, that as a Marxist he took the mind as the
> subjective aspect of a subject-object which includes social relations as
> its objective aspect. That is never what I have in mind when I talk about
> functionalism and structuralism however. By "functionalism" I am always
> referring to the sociological theory of Talcott Parsons and the tendency
> among Soviet Marxists to integrate this functionalist view into Marxist
> dogma. E.g., "the role of the petit bourgeoisie is to ..." By
> "structuralism" I mean the current of social theory growing out of
> Saussure's linguistics, Levy-Strauss's anthropology and Althusser's
> anti-Humanist Marxism. One must, of course, appreciate the insights which
> these currents of thinking bring to us, but when you get to the theories of
> social stasis of American Functionalism and the anti-Humanism of Louis
> Althusser, I confess it generates a visceral negative reaction from me.
> Like Anthony Giddens, I see functionalism and structuralism, together, as a
> bundle of theories of the world which pretends that there are "social
> forces" which act independently of the consciousness, intentions and
> understanding of the human actors through which they are active.
> Functionalism and structuralism are together one side of a polarity, the
> other of which is "hermeneutics" which lays all the emphasis on the
> interpretation of the world by individuals, whether by means of Freudian
> ideas, linguistic theories, literary criticism or "social psychology." Like
> Giddens I look for a third way, but unlike Giddens I look to a serious
> theory of cultural psychology, not a do-it-yourself psychology based on my
> own personal intuitions.
> I haven't followed the views of Alex Kozulin, Antti, so I will simply
> abstain on that question, but the Fedor Vasilyuk of today is emphatically
> not a Marxist. He emphasises the power of prayer, which is something quite
> foreign to the Marxist tradition. In 1984, when he wrote "The Psychology of
> Perezhivanie," however, his views reflected to an extent the view of
> Leontyev and his following, so in that sense and to that degree, he was a
> Marxist. But he did not interpret Marxism dogmatically in the way Vygotsky
> criticised in his day, and he was critical of Leontyev. BY turning to the
> tradition of Russian Orthodox Christianity, it does seem that Vasilyuk
> turned away from Marxism. Whether that is some kind of "humanism" I don't
> know. "Humanism" is a very polysemous word.
> Andy
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden
> On 19/01/2017 7:53 AM, Antti Rajala wrote:
>> ....
>> I wonder if there is some confusion regarding the notion of functionalism.
>> Andy seems to refer to functionalism in social theory whereas David refers
>> to functionalistic psychological theory. Maybe they do not speak of the
>> same functionalism. Kozulin, suggested by Andy, seems to draw upon yet
>> another tradition, Russian humanism, in which life is seen as literature
>> or
>> art. Perhaps, the preference for the notion of drama by Alfredo and
>> Nikolai, has some resonance with this tradition.
>> Andy, Kozulin depicts Vasilyuk's humanism in sharp contrast with Marxism.
>> Do you agree?