RE: [xmca] Leont'ev responds (in abstentia) totheSocio-CulturalTheory Interest Group Seminar Series

From: White, Phillip (
Date: Sat Oct 07 2006 - 08:44:07 PDT

good morning, David - i rarely respond to messages on xmca - in this case two comments of yours caught my attention:

you wrote:
But empathy is not the way education systems work; rules and roles are more like it. So instead, the children call the teacher, "Teacher", which is, of course, rather infantile in Western culture. But it is reducible to a fixed discourse role, and therefore it is considered more "teachable". (And it IS more teachable than the fixed rules cited above!)

            actually, in my experience students i work with whose cultural origins are Mexican, often refer to me as "Teacher" - as do their parents. This is a literal translation from the usage of "Maestro" o "Maestra" ,,, and i've always understood it as an honorific.

you also wrote:
Under our system there is an irreconcilable conflict (emotional and even intellectual) between self-regulation and other regulation. In this sense, the child at play is a harbinger of socialism; The child is both self-regulating and other-regulating, and there is no contradiction, because the rule that governs the child's play is the same that obtains for the other children at play (a situation manifestly not the case in our own society).

          i can't think of any social system is which there is not an irreconcilable conflict between self-regulation and other regulation. the work of any infant born into any social system (culture) is to figure out the rules and structures - all social relationships are guided by implicit and explicit restraints - to describe child's play as a harbinger of socialism is a bit 19th century romantic is it not? not too far removed from earlier notions of the innocent child as the noble savage...?

perhaps i've misunderstood.


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