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[Xmca-l] Re: RES: Re: Child Development: Understanding a Cultural Perpsective

I think context is at least half all, Martin. In context, LSV's text is
just as true as it is brave. But I also think it has a truth that can be
generalized to our own time, to wit:

a) Child development is sui generis, in that adult development does not (as
Mike's quote and Rod's example make all too clear) have a "complete form"
in the environment which guides it. Language is, as always, the central
example here: even from the crude, purely quantitative point of view of
word counting, we can see that language develops until roughly age
seventeen (vocabulary learning) but it is only learned, and at a rate that
is barely above attrition, after that. The only way to keep language
development going is to emigrate.

b) The social situation of development in childhood is BOTH constant AND
ever-changing, BOTH single and unbroken AND singular and sui generis.
So are the lines of development and the neoformations. But once again in
order to really see this you need to look at language. If we take the
social situation of development as the "relationship with the environment"
this is both constant (in the sense that the language system is constant)
and constantly changing (in the sense that discourse and text are
constantly changing). If we take the lines of development as diverse forms
of "communication" (in Russian, "sharing", "making common") on the one hand
and various forms of "generalization" on the other (but this is
intellectualistic, it's really "about-sharing", or "about-making-common")
we can see that the lines of development are unbroken too but they are
constantly shape shifting, and that in critical periods the
"generalization" is in the first plane and communication takes the second
plane, while in stable periods it's the other way around. The neoformations
are even more obviously like this: critical neoformations are always the
child's proto-version, and they persist only as subordinate moments of the
complete version provided in the environment (hence "pre-we", "grandwe",
"pre-will", "grandwill", "pre-me", "grandme", etc.)

c) The life of the adult is not at all stable. But the variation of adult
life is no part of ontogenesis. It is what forms the link between
ontogenesis and sociogenesis; that is, the point were we have to stop just
understanding the world and start to actually change it. That's the only
thing that can excuse my somewhat flowery language about senile children
and having futures in mind.

But look at the context. The year is 1930. Russia has begun to "realize the
first five year plan in four years". The famine is underway in the Ukraine,
and Vygotsky is writing, about children, that although their weight and
height doubles in the first year, it hardly changes throughout the whole of
school age (!).

Vygotsky, Blonsky, and Krupskaya are under siege (Vygotsky had dabbled in
artistic milieux sympathetic to Trotskyism, Blonsky had a past in the
ancient Greek classics, Krupskaya had been a member of the Leningrad
Opposition to Stalin). Bukharin was...and for all they know still is...the
major party theorist, and Bukharin's line is that there is absolutely no
need for "separate laws" to describe development at different levels:
everything is simply caused, reflexively, by adaptation to the environment.
Vygotsky dutifully refers to Bukharin in Pedology of the Adolescent,
Chapter One:

Упрощенное представление относительно более или менее самостоятельного
существования каждого из этих двух рядов фактов в организме человека
приводит, по выражению Бухарина, к «нелепому удвоению законов, которое
встречается на каждом шагу даже в самых лучших марксистских работах: с одной
стороны, законы биологии, физиологии и т. д., с другой стороны, законы
общественного развития. На самом деле, одно есть «инобытие» другого, одно и
то же явление рассматривается с разных точек зрения». 'The simplistic
representation of these two series of facts (biological and
sociological--dk) as existing more or less independently in the human
organism relative to each other leads, according to Bukharin, to an “absurd
redundancy of laws, which occurs at every step even in the best Marxist
works.” On the one hand, the laws of biology, physiology, and so on, and on
the other the laws of social development. In fact, one is the “alter ego”
of the other, one and the same phenomenon seen from different points of

What a perfect example of the thinking of the bureaucrat-philosopher! All
development is exactly the same--just put enough pressure on the developing
entity--and it will develop. Who needs genetic laws? There is only one law
for the whole of development: adapt to your environment or die. Or, like
Bukharin, do both.

David Kellogg
Macquarie University

"The Great Globe and All Who It Inherit:
Narrative and Dialogue in Story-telling with
Vygotsky, Halliday, and Shakespeare"

Free Chapters Downloadable at:


Recent Article: Thinking of feeling: Hasan, Vygotsky, and Some Ruminations
on the Development of Narrative in Korean Children

Free E-print Downloadable at:


On Sun, May 21, 2017 at 8:55 AM, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co
> wrote:

> Interesting, David. I’m not sure that I agree with LSV’s answer, here, or
> in the passage you cite in your message to Andy. At least, if we are to
> equate pedology with developmental psychology, or with developmental
> science. For one thing, the situation of adulthood is certainly not always
> stable. For another, the ‘line’ of an adult's development may be different
> from that of a child, but I would have thought that Vygotsky himself would
> have agreed that there is no single line to the development of a child, or
> of children. The line of development, I think, varies from stage to stage,
> and from one developmental context to another.
> Martin
> On May 20, 2017, at 4:51 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com<mailto:d
> kellogg60@gmail.com>> wrote:
> Martin:
> This is from the Q&A at the Psychotechnic Conference in November 1930.
> Mikhaillov and Spielrein (Isaac, not Sabine) have just asked questions
> about the relationship of pedology to other sciences (especially lifelong
> education).
> Jerusalimcik: How does Comrade Vygotsky conceive of pedology: only as a
> science of the child or as a science of the development of the human being
> right to the end of his life?
> Vygotsky: Concerning the question of Comrade Jerusalimcik, is pedology the
> science of the child or of the development of the person right to the end
> of his life? I think--and, again, it seems to me that there is an objective
> basis for this idea--that pedology is the science of the child in
> development and not that of the person in development right to the end of
> his life. I think that those who wish to extend pedology from the cradle to
> the grave, those who want to put on the same plane the development of the
> child and the development which occurs with a child, without realizing it
> are making the same mistake that the old authors made when they said that
> the child is a small adult: that is, they deny the qualitative specificity
> of the process of development in the child compared to that processes and
> the changes that are produced in a situation that is relatively stable.
> On Sat, May 20, 2017 at 9:18 AM, Martin John Packer <
> mpacker@uniandes.edu.co<mailto:mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
> wrote:
> Hi Alfredo,
> I completely agree with you. If you’ll allow me to cite myself again…
> Martin
> A strong case could be made that this book should have considered the
> entire human lifespan. Developmental researchers have tended to assume that
> the endpoint of development is the start of adulthood, and that development
> is the process of the child achieving adult status. However, it should now
> be clear to the reader that human psychological development involves the
> entire span of human life, the cycle of ontogenesis from birth to death.
> This cycle should be understood not solely in terms of the individual who
> lives and dies, but also in terms of the social relations of reproduction
> in a community.
> There has been an unprecedented increase in life expectancy (see figure
> below), and this book has told only part of the story of the human life
> cycle. As young people become parents and then grandparents, or as they
> become teachers, coaches, or recognized community figures, their lives
> intersect and interact with those of children, both their own and those of
> other people. The stages from infant to adolescent are not separate and
> distinct from later stages of the lifecycle. We have seen that parents and
> caregivers play a crucial role in a young child’s development. Even death
> has an intimate connection to birth: human life truly is a cycle, albeit
> one that extends as a helix through time.
> Viewed this way, the human life cycle is a process in which:
> persons are formed and dissolved, move between dependent impotence and
> independent authority, divide and multiply their being through relations
> with others, know more and less about the world, and acquire and lose the
> capacity to change it. (Robertson 1996, p. 591)
> It is worth emphasizing one more time that nature and culture are not
> opposed but operate together, and we can see this in the fact that the
> human lifespan is longer today than at many times in the past, and in many
> parts of the world it is growing even longer, probably because nutrition
> and healthcare are postponing the senescence programmed into our genes. As
> a result, many infants will interact not only with parents but grandparents
> and even great-grandparents, as never before in human existence. This
> intergenerational contact and interaction creates opportunities for a
> variety of influences on the child, including mentorship, advice,
> alliances, and a richer density of social relations.
> On May 19, 2017, at 5:32 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no
> <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
> <mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>> wrote:
> These seem very interesting contributions in that they bring forth
> structural aspects necessary for a *developmental* explanation. But, as
> someone educated in general psychology and the learning sciences, but who
> still has much to learn from developmental psychology, I always wonder why
> these characterisations often refer to characteristics of the child and
> tend to end in *adulthood*, as in Martin's sequence, but tend to say
> nothing about adult change in that relation. (By the way, David, can you
> clarify or refer us where we could get a better grasp of why "pre-life"
> would be an adequate label for a reformation???)
> I can understand that there are different disciplines within developmental
> psychology, one of which is concerned with child (and not adult)
> development, just as other disciplines may deal with adult development,
> professional development, etc. But we read in Martin's own quotations that,
> " transitions [across periods] are truly changes not only in the child but
> in the whole child-caregiver-niche system of which she is a component"
> If these transitions truly are transitions for the child-caregiver-niche
> system, then the issue of age periods also and at the same time brings with
> it not only the issue of niche periods (which I see can be addressed with
> the notion of Social Situation of Development and ZPD), but also the issue
> of adult development as part of that system. Does not it? But then, is it
> about "age"? I certainly feel and can recognise that I am deeply changed in
> and through educating. I am not the same person I was before I begun my
> participant ethnography as an assistant teacher at an arts-based elementary
> school. Certainly with regard to how I organise my praxis in a classroom,
> it could be said that many of the primary functions that characterise my
> behavior have been re-organised leading to new formations (e.g., of
> listening, caring, orienting, responding).
> If the "primitive" but also adult "Kaffir" about which Vygotsky speaks in
> his writings may possibly shift from "dreaming" to "thinking" as a means to
> achieve the same higher psychological function, namely decision making, is
> it "age" periods what should be the focus?
> These are not rhetorical but genuine questions from someone hoping to
> learn from/with you all.
> Alfredo
> ________________________________________
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu<mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
> mailman.ucsd.edu><mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
> mailman.ucsd.edu<http://mailman.ucsd.edu/>> <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.
> edu<mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu><mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
> mailman.ucsd.edu<http://mailman.ucsd.edu/>>> on behalf of Andy Blunden <
> ablunden@mira.net<mailto:ablunden@mira.net><mailto:
> ablunden@mira.net<mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>>
> Sent: 19 May 2017 18:02
> To: xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu<mailto:xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu><mailto:
> xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: RES: Re: Child Development: Understanding a Cultural
> Perpsective
> Like
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> Andy Blunden
> http://home.mira.net/~andy
> http://www.brill.com/products/book/origins-collective-decision-making
> On 20/05/2017 1:45 AM, Martin John Packer wrote:
> Hi David,
> Here’s how I handled the matter of the age periods: the stages and crises;
> tell me what you think.
> Infancy - A Practical Understanding of the World
> Infancy - Towards Biological Differentiation
> Toddlerhood - A World of Irresistible Invitations
> Toddlerhood - Towards Psychological Differentiation
> Early Childhood  - How Things Appear, And How They Are
> Early Childhood  - Towards Inner and Outer
> Middle Childhood - Understanding Institutional Reality
> Middle Childhood - Towards the Actual and the Possible
> The Teenage Years - Adolescent, or Adult?
> The Teenage Years - Towards Adulthood
> The “Towards” in these chapter titles reflects the fact that I needed to
> treat each stage in two chapters, and there was usually less to say about
> each crisis than about each stage, so I couldn’t dedicate a whole chapter
> to each crisis. Here’s how I described the notions of ‘stage’ and
> ‘transition’:
> "Stages are qualitatively distinct from one another, not only in the form
> of intelligence that the child employs (as Piaget noted), but also in the
> child’s way of being in the world. Each stage involves a specific way of
> relating to the world and relating to self, and as a result of this a new
> way of experiencing and understanding.
> "Transitions are those times when new properties rapidly emerge. A
> transition is a point of inflection, a crisis. In a transition there is a
> dramatic change in the child’s way of being in the world, so that she
> discovers new possibilities in that world and gains a new sense of herself:
> of her abilities, her capacities. During the stage that follows, the child
> progressively masters this new way of living in the world. These
> transitions are truly changes not only in the child but in the whole
> child-caregiver-niche system of which she is a component.”
> And the diagram below (if it comes through) illustrates the sequence (I
> think the third should read Appearance & Reality).
> Martin
> [cid:FAACC3A0-B984-4539-B8E7-05391373CD7F]
> On May 18, 2017, at 7:27 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com<mailto:d
> kellogg60@gmail.com>> wrote:
> Martin, I think if I'd written something like that I'd be pretty shameless
> too. (A propos--or by the bye--do you have a publisher for the Shpet
> schtick you are up to...?)
> Here's something for the revised edition. The way Vygotsky explains "Great
> We" in the Pedological Lectures is a little different and a lot wittier. He
> says it is a "Grandwe" in the sense of your Grandpa--that is, the "we" was
> there before you were even a gleam in your Daddy's eye. (Vygotsky likes to
> address the students with "You and we").
> I have been thinking how to "popularize" the age periods without
> vulgarizing them (you know, what Bruner says about being able to teach
> anything to anybody in some honest way).
> You and we (our little Grandwe) know perfectly well that Vygotsky measured
> that zone of proximal development in years (it's a "next" zone of
> development, so it doesn't make any sense to talk about it unless:
> a) you have the age periods and
> b) you have some set of problems--not the Binet problems!--that will
> correlate in some non-arbitrary way to the next age period.
> That means that the "next zone of development" for Vygotsky studies is not
> to try to turn him into a failed Gestaltist (pace Yasnitsky and van der
> Veer) but rather to try to figure out some way to get people to take the
> age periods seriously no matter how busy and how impatient with Vygotsky's
> discursive and apparently indecisive formulations they are.
> What do you think of this?
> Birth--Social Situation of Development: Instinct confronted by
> intersubjectivity. Central Neoformation: "Pre-we"
> Infancy--SSD: Physiologically independent but biologically dependent:
> CNF: "Grandwe"
> One--SSD: Proto-speech confronted by proper speech. CNF: "Pre-speech"
> Early Childhood--SSD: Biologically independent but interpersonally
> (interactionally) dependent. CNF: "Grandspeech"
> Three--SSD: Affect confronted by the 'antipode' of will.  CNF: "Pre-will"
> Preschool--SSD: Interpersonally independent but psychologically dependent
> ('reactive' learning). CNF: "Grandwill"
> Seven--SSD: Inner personality confronted by outer persona. CNF: "Pre-me"
> School Age: Psychologically independent but intellectually
> (academically) dependent. CNF: "Grandme"
> Thirteen: Original thinking confronted by imitation. CNF: "Pre-concepts"
> Adolescence: Intellectually independent but socioeconomically dependent.
> CNF: "Grandconcepts" (nontheoretical concepts, tinged with concrete
> thinking)
> Seventeen SSD: In the USSR, school leaving. CNF: "Pre-Life"
> You could write the Crises on your palm and the Stable Periods along each
> finger. (Hard to read it, though....)
> --
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University
> "The Great Globe and All Who It Inherit:
> Narrative and Dialogue in Story-telling with
> Vygotsky, Halliday, and Shakespeare"
> Free Chapters Downloadable at:
> https://www.sensepublishers.com/media/2096-the-great-
> globe-and-all-who-it-inherit.pdf
> Recent Article: Thinking of feeling: Hasan, Vygotsky, and Some Ruminations
> on the Development of Narrative in Korean Children
> Free E-print Downloadable at:
> http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/8Vaq4HpJMi55DzsAyFCf/full
> On Thu, May 18, 2017 at 9:10 AM, Maria Judith Sucupira Costa Lins <
> mariasucupiralins@terra.com.br> wrote:
> Martin
> Thank you for the chapter. Maria
> -----Mensagem original-----
> De: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
> mailman.ucsd.edu]
> Em nome de Martin John Packer
> Enviada em: quarta-feira, 17 de maio de 2017 20:05
> Para: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> Assunto: [Xmca-l] Re: Child Development: Understanding a Cultural
> Perpsective
> Thanks Alfredo. It was fun to write, and it would not have been possible
> except for what I have learned over the years from some very smart people,
> a
> number of whom hang out on this very discussion group.
> Martin
> On May 17, 2017, at 5:48 PM, Alfredo Jornet Gil
> <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no<mailto:a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>> wrote:
> Thanks for shamelessly sharing your work, Martin. The chapter looks great.
> I
> like the way it draws connections throughout diverse theories, emphasising
> common ground across dual systems theory, dynamic field theory, and
> cultural
> psychology.
> Alfredo
> ________________________________________
> From:
> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu<mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>
> <xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu<mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu>>
> on
> behalf of Martin John Packer
> <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co<mailto:mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>>
> Sent: 18 May 2017 00:10
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l]  Child Development: Understanding a Cultural Perpsective
> A few months ago I shamelessly promoted my new textbook, Child Development:
> Understanding a Cultural Perspective, published by Sage at only $46 for the
> paperback edition, $33 or less for the various electronic editions.
> There is now a sample chapter available online: Chapter 5, one of the two
> chapters on infancy:
> <https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/child-development/book253543%20#preview>
> Martin
> --
> David Kellogg
> Macquarie University
> "The Great Globe and All Who It Inherit:
> Narrative and Dialogue in Story-telling with
> Vygotsky, Halliday, and Shakespeare"
> Free Chapters Downloadable at:
> https://www.sensepublishers.com/media/2096-the-great-
> globe-and-all-who-it-inherit.pdf
> Recent Article: Thinking of feeling: Hasan, Vygotsky, and Some Ruminations
> on the Development of Narrative in Korean Children
> Free E-print Downloadable at:
> http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/8Vaq4HpJMi55DzsAyFCf/full