Re: LSV-& Dialogical Self

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Sun Feb 13 2005 - 03:53:52 PST

Mike and Ini and the silent voices of All,

Coincidentally I was reading Davydov's essay on his 8 unsolved problems
of activity theory (from a book you didn't edit, Mike ;-) Two questions
he poses on the problem of collective and individual activity are:

1. What are the particular characteristics of the individual subject,
and in what what ways does it differ from personality?
2. What can be defined as the personal level of realizing individual

Going out on a limb here, I thought that Bhatia and Ram's application
of ventriloquation goes some way to answer these questions. Davydov
asks, "In what sense does the collective subject exist outside the
individuals who form a group?" I would tentatively answer: In the sense
of the three voices of the mind, evoking Jay Lemke's ecosocial systems
approach to sociocultural contexts. This paper has been for me a very
real reminder of the usefulness of maintaining a solid theoretical

Just a tad of a thought, and I wish some others would add a tad!


Davydov's essay: Davydov, V.V. (1999) The content and unsolved problems
of activity theory, in Engestrom, Y, Miettinen, R and Punamaki, R-L
"Perspectives on Activity Theory" Cambridge University Press

On 13/02/2005, at 8:02 AM, Mike Cole wrote:

> I have been reading Mihail Yaroshevsky's book on Vygotsky (Progress).
> He has a very
> interesting of "Psychology in terms of drama" which I had previously
> overlooked. There he focuses on an article by Vygotsky that appeared
> in the Russian version of Collected Works
> that is not in the English version. - That table of contents came in
> handy right away!
> Here LSV has a long discussion of the relation of his ideas to those
> of Politzer, who is
> refenced in the English language edition, but not as fully. This
> appears to be the source of
> ideas about personality as a "special organization, the primary
> concept of higher psychology."
> "The specificity of this category lies in that, being different from
> two other universal concepts, organism and society, it canonly be
> understood in terms of these concepts. The individual
> is "a SOCIAL UNIT." This unit does not exist outside a system of links
> with other individuals. Vygotsky often quoted Marx's dictum: "Peter
> only establishes his own identity as a man by first comparing himself
> with Paul."
> And later: "The individual is the highest form of sociality." (pp
> 218-291 in Yaroshevski)
> Aside from identifying a unit of analysis for the study of the entire
> individual/person-ality, this
> discussion helps me understand for the first time why Luria, in his
> x-cultural studies, had a chapter where he asked questions about
> knowledge of the self in relation to culture.And, it
> clearly links to the current almost-discussion of the dialogical
> creation of the self.
> But, is there no version of this in English? If so, I will ask the
> editor of J of Russian and
> East European psych to get it translated. Seems well worth while
> knowing better.
> Translation anyone?
> mike

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