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[Xmca-l] Re: My thoughts about ISCAR

Hi James-

Thanks for your take on ISCAR. Your note reminded me of earlier discussions
Peirce and Vygotsky on xlchc/xmca and I found this earlier exchange
involving the
ideas of Arne Raeithel and Alfred Lang.


Understanding the affinities and differences between LSV and Peirce seems
to be right up there with similar comparisons involving Spinoza,
Halliday/Hasan/Bernstein, Bakhtin, and many more.

Sure is more than enough to try to get one's mind around!!


On Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 11:05 PM, James Ma <jamesma320@gmail.com> wrote:

> The 5th ISCAR Congress was hailed as a great success in taking a 360-degree
> view of the landscape of cultural-historical activity research,
> accentuating the state of scholarship in practice.  The ontogenesis of
> Vygotsky alongside his cultural-historical school of thought was so well
> contextualised, illustrated and communicated that I felt I “knew” him.
> While travelling in Canada after the congregation, I was still preoccupied
> with thoughts about Vygotsky and how his theory had been approached or
> approximated and what might have been led to as a way of developing
> cultural-historical activity research.
> It might seem that an unquestioning assertion of Vygotskyan legacy would
> frame cultural-historical activity research not only as act of gaining
> proximity to Vygotsky but also as an attitude invested in *exhausting*,
> *exploiting* or even *worshiping* his work.  How can the ingenuity and
> inspiration of his insights nourish the landscape of cultural-historical
> activity research?  How might cultural-historical activity research be
> henceforth set to continue well into the future, thus informing many facets
> of our modern life?  These questions are of no easy matter, as Malcolm Reed
> points out in his prologue for the Congress:
> “Like any landscape we have cultivated, we need also to learn what and whom
> we have depleted and used to extinction, and count that cost and commit to
> reparation and rediscovery.”
> This reminds me of the opening remarks by Leslie Smith, Julie Dockrell and
> Peter Tomlinson (who edited “Piaget, Vygotsky and beyond” published after
> the Piaget-Vygotsky Centenary Conference held in Brighton, England, in
> April 1996):
> “There is sometimes a tendency to interpret the work of Piaget and Vygotsky
> in a polarised way, as if the work of one had nothing in common with that
> of the other.”
> Arguably, any theory has its limitations and shortcomings, and neither an
> unquestioning acceptance of new trends nor an unquestioning refusal of old
> traditions can succeed in the end in that it allows no room for evaluation.
> Vygotsky might well be seen as someone like C. S. Peirce whose philosophy
> was meant for those who want to explore and discover – as Peirce put it:
> “Those who want philosophy ladled out to them can go elsewhere. There are
> philosophical soup shops at every corner, thank God!”
> I’m a linguist by avocation.  I see Vygotsky within the linguistic turn in
> philosophy, which leads me to contemplate his ideas in the light of other
> thinkers.  When I first came across Vygotsky’s idea that the structure of
> speech is *not* the mirror image of the structure of thought, I wasn’t
> particularly impressed.  Vygotsky posited thought as undergoing
> reconstruction and reconfiguration before vocalisation, but this was
> already foreshadowed in Saussure’s work.  For Saussure, thought without
> language is a vague, uncharted nebula – there are no pre-existing ideas and
> nothing is distinct before the appearance of language.  Later I found
> Saussure and Vygotsky balancing each other with different focuses: Saussure
> on structure, Vygotsky on action, and Peirce on process and action.
> I’ve proposed a methodological approach that synergises different theories
> by placing otherwise disparate perspectives in dialogue.  Rather than
> simply contrasting different theoretical roots or orientations, a
> synergistic approach allows me to draw out the profound *sameness* of
> differences between theories.  I use “sameness” to refer to ontological and
> epistemological confluence or complementarity that provides a basis for
> mutual amelioration and consolidation.  This is exemplified in “The synergy
> of Peirce and Vygotsky as an analytical approach to the multimodality of
> semiotic mediation” *http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10749039.2014.913294
> <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10749039.2014.913294>*).  In synergising
> different theoretical positions, a *tour d’horizon* for cultural-historical
> activity research may be brought forth.  I feel this is to some extent
> alluded to in Jennifer Vadeboncoeur’s epilogue for the Congress in terms of
> “impeccable research”.
> Just to add that the term “synergy” first came to my attention through the
> work of Eve Gregory on children learning English as an additional language
> in the UK, referring to the reciprocity of learning between sisters and
> brothers as “a synergy whereby siblings act as adjuvants, stimulating and
> fostering each other’s development” (see “Sisters and brothers as language
> and literacy teachers: synergy between siblings playing and working
> together”, *Journal of Early Childhood Literacy*, 2001).  The use of
> “synergy” in my work was also inspired by Anne Edwards’ writing on the
> resemblance of Vygotsky, Mead and American pragmatism in *Cambridge
> Companion to Vygotsky* (edited by Harry Daniels, Michael Cole and James
> Wertsch in 2007).
> On account of “semiotic methodology in the making” as highlighted by
> Alberto Rosa and Jaan Valsiner (see *The Cambridge Handbook of
> Sociocultural Psychology*, 2007), I feel Peircean pragmatism and semiotics
> can render impetus to Vygotsky-inspired cultural-historical activity
> research, bringing to the fore the importance of evaluating and
> re-evaluating theory in the light of changing social, economic and
> political conditions in modern society.
> James
> *_____________________________________*
> *James Ma*  *https://oxford.academia.edu/JamesMa
> <https://oxford.academia.edu/JamesMa>   *
> Semiotising the student perception of learning outcomes in British higher
> education  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10350330.2016.1189234
> Lev Vygotsky and his theory in a nutshell
> http://www.scrss.org.uk/publications.htm#2016
> The synergy of Peirce and Vygotsky as an analytical approach to the
> multimodality of semiotic mediation
> http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10749039.2014.913294  (This article is in the
> Journal’s “Most Read Articles” 1st place
> http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showMostReadArticles?
> journalCode=hmca20#.Va9Q7tFRF9A
> and in the “Class of 2015 Educational Research”
> http://explore.tandfonline.com/content/ed/class-of-2015/
> educational-research-history-of-education-education-policy-leadership-2015
> )
> On 15 September 2017 at 21:53, Alfredo Jornet Gil <a.j.gil@iped.uio.no>
> wrote:
> > Dear all,
> >
> >
> > Issue 3 of Mind, Culture and Activity has been out for a while now and it
> > is time to have one of the articles discussed here at xmca. We have
> > selected one that deals with a topic that interests me a lot and I am
> > confident will be interesting to many: the role of play and performance
> in
> > personal development and social change.
> >
> >
> > Carrie's paper starts with a beautiful vignette from a workshop bringing
> > youth from poor communities together with business people to jointly play
> > and perform. The next section ?abruptly brings us back to Vygotsky's
> > writings about play, ?and these then serve as the backdrop to a revisit
> to
> > the opening workshop. The analyses and the discussion invite us to
> > understand development "not as a set of stages that a people pass through
> > on their way to adulthood, but as the collective creation of stages
> > (environments) where people can perform who they are becoming."
> >
> >
> > Carrie has been kind enough to accept joining us in the discussion, and
> > she will introduce her article much better in a few days, while we all
> get
> > the time to read and bring up any questions or comments we might have. I
> am
> > sending this early, though, ?to give people a few days in advance to be
> > able to start looking at the article, which I hope will catch the
> interest
> > of many. Good read! And good weekend,
> >
> >
> > Alfredo
> >