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[Xmca-l] Re: Vygotsky,Marx, & summer reading

Greg, I apologise if I express irritation rather than joy in responding to your questions. I must be fulfilling my destiny to be a grumpy old man. But I think a good scholar is often well advised to ignore what comes into their peripheral vision and keep focused on their task ... especially if they are struggling to complete their PhD.

But as to your questions. "Child development" I take to be the passage through that series of culturally-specific identities (or roles) through which a new born child makes its way to becoming an adult citizen of the community in the given cultural formation. Vygotsky deals with it in the articles collected in v. 5 of his CW like "The Problem of Age." Vygotsky's work on "Personality development" is known to English speakers through the lecture "The problem of the Environment" and is concerned with the unique way in which an individual person deals with the world around them. Actually, Chapter 5 of A N Leontyev's "Activity, Consciousness and Personality" rather imperfectly continues this work. It is self-evident that these two domains of research overlap and the two units mentioned are likewise closely interlocked. The concepts dealt with in "child development" cease to be relevant as the person reaches adulthood, whereas personality development (thank goodness) goes on throughout life. There is no requirement that different "germ cells" mark out mutually exclusive domains of research.

As to your second message, on list, The "germ" in "germ cell" seems to have entered discourse with the Activity Theorists; I'm not sure whether it was Davydov or Engestrom, maybe someone else can tell us. But it is "germ" as in "germinate", simply emphasising the biological origins of this concept, anticipated by Goethe prior to the "cell" being discovered by the use of powerful microscopes in 1839 - that simple piece from which the whole organism can re-grow itself. Marx used the expression: "economic cell-form" for example.


Andy Blunden
On 20/08/2017 5:31 AM, Greg Thompson wrote:

I know my questions tend to irritate you more than accomplishing much, but might you be willing to expand on what is meant by "personality development"? "Child development" is something I can understand, but I'm not quite sure what "personality development" means.

Yes, I apologize that I am being such a bear, but this isn't on my agenda right now and so I don't have time to dig through what you and others have written on it to figure out what parts I might find most useful (and yes, I know that as a good scholar and intellectual I should recognize that everything on this listserve is useful - its just don't have time for everything - I barely have time for my wife and (4!) kids...).

Feel free to respond on or off list.


On Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 7:37 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    Word meanings for the study of (verbal) intellect
    Artefact-mediated actions for the more general study
    of the development of activity
    Perezhivaniya for the study of personality development
    (Defect-Compensation) for the study of disability or
    Social Situations of Development for the study of
    child development

    See page 9 on https://www.academia.edu/11387923/

    Andy Blunden
    http://home.mira.net/~andy <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy>

    On 19/08/2017 10:47 PM, Martin John Packer wrote:

        What are the five, Andy?


            On Aug 18, 2017, at 9:07 PM, Andy Blunden
            <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>>

            Amazon have it for $38.21:
            which is not too bad.

            My chapter is available at
            <https://www.academia.edu/11387923/> but so
            far as I can see other authors have not posted
            theirs on academia.edu <http://academia.edu> -
            maybe elsewhere?

            Thank you, Alfredo, for highlighting how I
            have pointed to 5 different domains in which
            Vygotsky demonstrated the "method of analysis
            by units." To me, it seems useless to identify
            a writer's methodological innovations unless
            you can transport that methodology to a
            different context, and pointing to five
            applications by Vygotsky himself seemed a good
            way of showing how portable the method is.
            More recently, I used this method in an
            approach to political science, taking a group
            of people in the room trying to decide on what
            they are going to do together as a unit of
            analysis. Personally, I think this method has
            proved very fruitful and original. How lucky
            we are to be inheritors of Vygotsky's
            brilliant insights, still generally so unknown
            to the general scientific audience. What a
            gift LSV has given us!

            But legacies are always problematic. Alfredo,
            I think you would be a very good candidate to
            review this book. Beth?


            Andy Blunden
            On 18/08/2017 10:16 PM, mike cole wrote:

                Peter, Alfredo Et al -

                It seems that the readers of MCA would
                appreciate a good overview review of
                the LSV and Marx book, but so far as I
                know, no one has proposed the idea
                to Beth, the book review editor. (You seem
                to have a jump on the task,

                Also, given the cost of the book, it would
                be nice if authors could follow
                Andy's lead and make a draft available.
                Andy's article on units of analysis
                is on Academia, a click away. That way the
                many readers of XMCA around the
                world would not be excluded from the

                Happy travels summer readers.  :-)

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
WEBSITE: greg.a.thompson.byu.edu <http://greg.a.thompson.byu.edu>