Re: [xmca] Luria & the USSR

From: Gordon Wells (
Date: Mon Mar 13 2006 - 14:25:29 PST

>David-- My guess is that Luria was writing his real conclusions about the
>Central Asian work. I am
>regularly taken to task by contemporary/immigrant Russians for being a mushy
>headed relativist
>and failing to understand that more advanced society means more advanced
>thinking. While still
>in the USSR this was the position taken by Peeter Tulviste as well in his
>fine book. But in more recent
>writing as an Estonian he makes activities the unit of analysis and arrives
>at a position very similar to mine. Others,
>however, continue to believe that non-literate/traditional people are
>incapable of thinking in true concepts,
>unable to evaluate themselves, etc.

Very relevant to this topic, I have just been reading a trenchant
discussion of the Luria-Vygotsky study in a paper by Ruqaiya Hasan. I
heartily recommend it to those who are interested in variation in the
appropriation of "higher mental functions" as a result of
differential modes of semiotic mediation that result from people's
different positions in the division of labor with respect to economic
production. You can find it at:


Gordon Wells
Dept of Education,
UC Santa Cruz.
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