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[Xmca-l] Re: Trump's speech and Perezhivanie


LSV talks about magic in a couple of places. First of all, in Chapter 5 of
HDHMF he sometimes refers to the naïve, folk stage of forming a complex
behaviour (such as mediated remembering or a mediated choice reaction) as
magical, because the child imagines that the mediational device by itself
brings about the change (e.g. cards will help you remember even when you
don't use them, and reciting directions will help you carry out an action
even if you don't understand them).

Secondly, in Chapter 15 he takes on Piaget's idea of "magical thinking" by
arguing that when a child talks to an object in order to get it to come
here the child is not thinking magically but rather asking somebody to come
and help. He produces the same anti-magical argument in his pedological
lecture on infancy.

Mike asked about the "perizhivanie" of the Cult Revolt. I looked at the
work he has in mind, and it doesn't seem much different from a lot of
material that was published in China even during the 1980s. The Great
Famine is a little different, and the "anti-Rightist" movement very
different, and the reason is simply that the current leaders were victims
of the Cult Revolt but perpetrators of the famine and the anti-Rightist

The liberal darling Zhao Ziyang, for example, earned his right to be purged
during the Cult Revolt by beating Guangdong peasants to death if they did
not submit to grain requisitions which later resulted in starvation. My
wife points out that Jang Chung's father, who is the persecuted hero of
"Wild Swans", got the position he lost by persecuting "Rightists" and
enforcing the grain requisitions of the "Great Leap" into famine.

In Beijing in 1984 I taught a group of doctors who had survived the Cult
Revolt: I had two students whose husbands had died--one had lost her
husband in the Tangshan Earthquake and one as a result of suicide. I never
saw the former smile--not once. I have no memory of the latter not smiling
or laughing at something or other, usually ending up with a sheepish grin
that made her rheumy eyes quite disappear in brown folds. When I mentioned
them to my wife, I got a long, long story about how wonderful the Tangshan
Earthquake had been for her, because the government distributed plastic
sheeting and the kids got to sleep outside and play for weeks on end.
Whatever "perizhivanie" is, it is a difference that makes a difference.

Here's another difference that makes a difference. Korotaeva is giving us a
stenograph of a lecture whose lecture notes appear, in edited form, in
Vygotsky's Collected Works (CW):

Stenogram:  Ребенок, который не знает, какие взять конфеты, которые
побольше или которые послаще, это ребенок, находящийся в состоянии
внутренней борьбы, он колеблется. Внутренняя борьба - противоречия
переживания и выбор своих собственных переживаний - становится возможной

("The child who does not know which candy to take, that which is more or
that which is sweeter, such a child finds himself in a state of inner
conflict; he hesitates. Inner conflicsts--contradictions between
perizhivaniya and choices amongst his own proper lived experiences--they
become possible here.")

CW: Ребенок, который не знает, какие взять конфеты — побольше или послаще,
не находится в состоянии внутренней борьбы, хотя он и колеблется.
Внутренняя борьба (противоречия переживаний и выбор собственных
переживаний) становится возможна только теперь.

("The child who does not know which candy to take--the sweeter or
the plentiful--does NOT (my emphasis: DK) find himself in a state of inner
conflict, even though he may be hesitating. Inner conflicts (contradictory
perizhivanii and choices of one's proper perizhivanii) become possible only

You can see the problem. The stenograph says that the child DOES find
himself in a state of inner conflict faced with a choice between a small
pile of chocolates and big heap of sourballs. The CW version says the child
does not. The stenograph version implies that the contradictions between
perizhivanie are of this fairly petty type. The CW version distinguishes
between this petty type and inner conflicts. Finally, the K version says
that all of these things become possible "here"--apparently referring to
the experiment. But the CW version says that all of these things become
possible "only now" with the Crisis at Seven.

To me, the K version sounds like a stenographer who is not quite following
what is being taken down, while the CW version sounds like a thoughtfully
edited version that makes sense. But someone who knows more Russian than I
do should look at this. Mike?

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

On Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 7:52 AM, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co
> wrote:

> Hi Alfredo,
> I’m not familiar with a specific developmental stage that LSV describes in
> terms of ‘magic.’ Perhaps  David can help us here. I think it would
> somewhat problematic to characterize people pro and contra Trump as being
> at different stages of psychological development, but I doubt that this is
> what you have in mind.  :)
> Martin
> > On Jan 23, 2017, at 12:08 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
> wrote:
> >
> > Dear Martin,
> >
> > thanks for the nuances you introduce. Yes, I agree with you, it is
> totally sensible to hear Trump's words with hope and actually experience
> (perezhivat) them in such a way as to become moving force towards
> transformation. I was only approaching the speech from a developmental
> stages perspective, where, to hear the speech with contempt  given the
> speech's formal structure as a type of generalisation, would mean to hear
> them within that stage that Andy very appropriately (in my view) called as
> "magic". Vygotsky (I think) also used this term to refer to a stage in
> child development.
> >
> > But I do not wish to say that contempt is the only possible quality, and
> so, as you very nicely remark, hope, enthusiasm, empowerment, all these and
> their developmental and historical conditions should be considered as
> possibilities of hearing Trump's speech.
> >
> > Thanks a lot for the resources/links, I am incorporating them to our
> joint document.
> > Alfredo
> >
> > ________________________________________
> > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> on behalf of Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
> > Sent: 22 January 2017 16:08
> > To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Trump's speech and Perezhivanie
> >
> > Hi Alfredo.
> >
> > I think your proposal is very interesting; that we could explore two
> different ways of hearing and understanding Trump’s words. But if I
> understand you correctly, I don’t agree that “in the first case, there is
> no hope for change, there is contempt.”  I have lived in Michigan and
> Pennsylvania, and in both states industries that were central to the
> economic rise of the working class, auto manufacturing and steel foundries,
> collapsed as a result of globalization. I have seen first hand some of the
> communities that were almost completely destroyed. I believe that people
> who experienced these changes do hear Trump’s words with hope for change,
> and if they have contempt it is for professional politicians who they feel
> speak but do not act.
> >
> > But perhaps you mean it was a lack of hope that *led* people to Trump:
> >
> > <http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/08/
> donald-trump-manufacturing-jobs-hope/496541/>
> >
> > The New Yorker has published several articles by George Packer (no
> relation) on the appeal that Trump has to the white working class. For
> example:
> >
> > <http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/05/16/how-
> donald-trump-appeals-to-the-white-working-class>
> >
> > Martin
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Jan 21, 2017, at 3:44 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no
> <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>> wrote:
> >
> > Dear Helena, Andy, all,
> >
> >
> > Unfortunately, I have not been able to find the time to watch the movie
> Fate of a Man, but I have followed the very interesting analyses and
> conversations about it. I am opening this thread as connexions between
> those analyses, perezhivanie, and current tragic social and political
> situation in the US and elsewhere. This also connects with the article that
> Mike shared on the position of the Learning Sciences with regard to this
> situation (how happy I was to see this initiative!).
> >
> >
> > In particular, I wanted to pick up on Helena's very true comment that
> "the US is going to have to produce some works of scholarship or art, or
> both, that attempt to explain what is happening now here in the US -- for
> example, this afternoon, under President Trump."
> >
> >
> > Yesterday, we saw at home Trump's speech. Although we had followed
> Trump's campaign and its denigrating tenor, it was yesterday, for the first
> time, that my wife and me got this gut feeling of true tragedy, of a real
> *drama* as we heard those empty, but to recover the prior article for
> discussion, hollowed and hollowing words coming out of that mouth. It came
> upon us that there may be lots of people for whom those words are not
> hollowed, but actually encouraging, rich, beautiful. How can you hear that
> as beauty?
> >
> >
> > So, I was wondering, and in following up with our 2016 MCA Issue 4
> discussion,  whether we could not actually conduct an analysis of the sort
> Marc offers in his article of the perezhivanie. Just as Vygotsky explains
> how 3 different children experience the situation of an alcoholic mother
> differently, could not we perform an analysis ?of that perezhivanie in
> which a person experiences yesterday's situation as one of encouragement,
> of freedom and hope. Would that not be a way to try to understand what is
> going on? This would not be a piece of art, but could be something we could
> do to try to understand and change this situation.
> >
> > We could then contrast that perezhivanie with the one many of as have,
> in which the situation is experience as a real TRAGEDY. I think in the
> first case, there is no hope for change, there is contempt; in the second,
> hearing those words as hollowed and hollowing require that you live the
> situation as a doubled situation in which you experienced it from a very
> different developmental stage. One in which the speech sounds as a case of
> involution.
> >
> > Should we find the transcribed speech and perform such analysis?
> >
> >
> > Going now to support the Woman's march here in Victoria BC.
> >
> > Alfredo
> >
> >
> >