RE: [xmca] Boris assists Mike assists Eric

From: David H Kirshner <dkirsh who-is-at>
Date: Sat Nov 24 2007 - 20:26:21 PST

Sfard and Prusak, in their May 2005 Educational Researcher piece on identity as narrative note that Wenger (1998) (along with many others) ultimately essentializes identity as being the way we "really" are. Their complaint is that analytically this puts identity out of reach, in that it is causal to our manifest behavior, but not itself theorized:

"It is our vision of our own or other people's experiences, and not the experiences as such, that constitutes identities. Rather than viewing identities as entities residing in the world itself, our narrative definition presents them as discursive counterparts of one's lived experiences. ... Furthermore, while we readily admit that some very real experiences prompt people to say that they have a 'sense of identity,' we also wish to reverse the causal relation implied by such a saying" (p. 17).

I think they make a good case that identity as narrative becomes more tractable analytically through methods of discourse analysis.

David Kirshner

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Adam Mendelson
Sent: Saturday, November 24, 2007 7:24 PM
To: 'eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity'
Subject: RE: [xmca] Boris assists Mike assists Eric

 Hi Mike,

Identity is mentioned throughout L&W, but never really developed the way it
is in Wenger. I just pulled out my copy of L&W, and here are some relevant

"We conceive of identities as long-term, living relations between persons
and their place and participation in communities of practice" (53).

"By 'identity' I mean the way a person understands and views himself, and is
viewed by others, a perception of self which is fairly constant" (81 - This
comes from the multi-page quote from Cain in the section on A.A.).

In the section on motivation and identity (starts on 110) they claim that
motivation is linked to "an increasing sense of identity as a master
practitioner" (111). Later in that same section they adamantly argue against
a "view of 'self' as object" or schooling practices that view a learner's
identity as "an explicit object of change" (112).

"We have claimed that the development of identity is central to the careers
of newcomers in communities of practice, and thus fundamental to the concept
of legitimate peripheral participation. This is illustrated most vividly by
the experience of newcomers to A.A." (115).

So identity comes up frequently and is said to be central, but is never
really explained other than that it is viewed not as an object but as
long-term relations. I think this is where Wenger picks things up,
attempting to explain these relations that make up identity.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Mike Cole
Sent: Saturday, November 24, 2007 2:14 PM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Boris assists Mike assists Eric

Hi adam
You stimulated me to check out wikipedia on wenger identity. Worth checking
out at

I am guessing we need to distinguish lave/wenger from wenger at this point.
So far as I know,
Jean's focus on a social ontology would make her loath to make statements
about the subjective side of identity (yes, it is something done to us, but
yes it is something we do in transacting the world).
But Etienne does not seem to shy away from psychologizing.

Am I mis=remembering here?

On Nov 24, 2007 1:52 PM, Adam Mendelson <> wrote:

> I think identity is fairly central to Lave & Wenger's legitimate
> peripheral participation. I interpret their's as a model in which
> learning is a process of becoming a type of person (i.e. a full member
> in a particular community).
> Their work shares many of the same premises as language socialization
> which posits not only that we learn language through being socialized
> into particular speech communities, but also that we are socialized to
> the ideologies of those communities through language.
> Wenger's later "communities of practice" presents a much fuller
> discussion of identity than was initially developed by L&W. For one,
> he accounts for membership in multiple communities. Similarly, Eva Lam
> explores the impact on identity of being simultaneously socialized
> into multiple speech communities.
> Adam
> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> On Behalf Of
> Sent: Saturday, November 24, 2007 12:21 PM
> To:; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [xmca] Boris assists Mike assists Eric
> Wow, Boris & Mike:
> That is truely enlightening. I appreciate the formation of the ideal
> that has evolved from this discourse. I was floundering at first
> Mike, regarding your comment on superego, but having read and reread
> the post from Boris I now concur that personality research is not for
> the collective but rather for the understanding of cultural influences
> upon development.
> Mike, in your opinion does Lave and Wagner's research on legitimate
> peripheral participation assist in the research pertaining to identity?
> Thank you Andy for beginning this fabulous thread
> grateful for the discourse,
> not dead yet,
> eric
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
> cc: Boris Meshcheryakov <>
> bcc:
> Subject: Fwd: Fwd: [xmca] Vygotsky on Identity?
> "Mike Cole" <>
> Sent by:
> 11/23/2007 08:50 AM PST
> Please respond to mcole <font size=-1></font>
> In red below is my attempt at translation of a note from Boris
> Mescheryakov re identity and personality in LSV. Boris, whose work you
> can read in the Companion to Vygotsky and elsewhere was kind enough to
> look up relevant passages from LSV. I probably have not done the
> translation justice, but most all of this exists in English and others
> more knowledgeable of Russian can straighten things out.
> It appears were are dealing with issues that are not usefully reduced
> to either or....... again.
> mike
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Boris Meshcheryakov <>
> Date: Nov 23, 2007 12:01 AM
> Subject: Re: Fwd: [xmca] Vygotsky on Identity?
> To: Mike Cole <>
> Здравствуй, Mike.
> По-видимому, правы те, кто считает, что проблема идентичности,
> идентификации, самоопределения (самодетерминации) не были
> самостоятельным предметом размышлений и исследований Выготского. Могу
> лишь предложить некоторые его высказывания о развитии личности и
> самосознании (эту связь Выготский четко описывал):
> Apparently, those who believe that the problem of identity,
> identification, self determination were not independent subjects of
> thought and investigation by LSV are correct. I can only propos a few
> of his statements on the development of personality and self
> consciousness (this connection Vygotsky clearly did describe)
> ?...отличие ребенка от подростка может быть лучше всего выражено
> положением Гегеля, который различал вещи в себе и вещи для себя. Он
> говорил, что все вещи суть сначала в себе, но на этом дело не
> останавливается и в процессе развития вещь превращается в вещь для
> себя. Так, говорил он, человек в себе есть ребенок, задача которого
> состоит не в том, чтобы оставаться в этом абстрактном и неразвитом "в
> себе", а в том, чтобы стать также и для себя тем, чем он пока есть
> лишь в себе, именно стать свободным и разумным существом. Вот это
> превращение ребенка из человека в себе в подростка ?
> человека для себя ? и составляет главное содержание всего кризиса
> переходного возраста. Это есть эпоха созревания личности и
> мировоззрения...?
> (Педология подростка, Собр. соч., т. 4, с. 199).
> "the difference between child and adolescent may be best expressed by
> Hegel's position that distinguished things in themselves and things
> for oneself. He said that the all things are initially in themselves,
> but matters do not stop at this point and in the process of
> development the thing turns into a thing for onself. Thus, he said, a
> person (man) in himself is a child, whose task is to leave behind that
> abstract and undeveloped "in himself" and in so doing, in order to
> become for himself in a way that he is in the meantime only in
> himself, that is, to become a free and intelligent being. This very
> transformation of the child into an adult
> (man) in himself in the adolescent -- a person (man) for himself--
> constitutes the major content of the entire crisis of this
> transitional age.
> It is an epoch of the maturation of personality and world view
> (Pedology of the Adolescent, Comp Works, v4, p. 199)
> "Личность становится для себя тем, что она есть в себе, через то, что
> она предъявляет для других. Это и есть процесс становления личности"
> (История развития ВПФ, Собр. соч., т. 3, с. 144). (A) Personality
> becomes for itself, when it has previously been in itself, through
> what it manifests through others (History of Dev of HPF, Coll. Works,
> Vol 3, p. 144)
> Очень важное добавление из "Истории развития ВПФ": "The following
> addition from same work is very important:
> ?Дж. Болдуин справедливо отметил, что понятие о "я" развивается у
> ребенка из понятия о других. Понятие ?личность? есть, т.о.,
> социальное, отраженное понятие, строящееся на основе того, что ребенок
> применяет по отношению к самому себе те приемы приспособления, которые
> он применяет по отношению к другим. Вот почему можно сказать, что
> личность есть социальное в нас? (т.
> 3, с. 324/ жирн. шрифт мой ? Б.М.).
> James Baldwin correctly noted that the concept of "I" develops in a
> child from the concept of others. The concept, personality, that is,
> the social, reflected, concept, is built on the basis of the fact that
> the child uses in relationship to himself those means of adaptation
> which he uses in relationship to others. This is why it is possible to
> say that personality is the social in us. (vol 3, p. 324)
> Из "Психологического словаря" Варшавы и Выготского (1931) From
> Varshava and Vygotsky (1931) *Psychological Dictionary*:
> "Идентификация (Фрейд) - отождествление, уподобление себя другой
> личности, приписывание себе признаков определенного человека.
> Идентификация играет огромную роль в сновидениях, в творчестве, в
> мечтах. Психологический смысл И. сводится к расширению круга
> переживаний, к обогащению внутреннего опыта".
> Identification (Freud) - the equating, making similar, of oneself to
> another personality, the adoption by oneself of the characteristics of
> a specific person. Identification plays a huge role in reminisences,
> dreams and creativity. The psychological sense of identification comes
> down to the widening of one's circle of experiences (perezhivania), to
> the enrichment of innner life.
> "Личность - термин, означающий единство и индивидуальность всех
> жизненных и психологических проявлений человека; человек, сознающий
> сам себя как определенное индивидуальное единство и тождество во всех
> процессах изменения, происходящих в организме и психике, есть
> личность. Болезнь Л.
> выражается в распаде этого единства"
> Personality is a term indicating a unity in the indivualenss of all
> everyday life and psychological manifestation of persons; a person
> (man) accepting himself as a certain individual unity and entity in
> all processes of change that take place in the organism and the psyche
> - this is personality.
> Disease of personality is expressed in the disintegration of this unity.
> И еще: В "Психологии искусства" в главе о "Гамлете" Выготский
> акцентирует понятие "второго рождения" . В работах А.Н. Леонтьева тоже
> встречается этот термин в связи с развитием самосознания в
> подростковом возрасте. And
> also:
> In *Psychology of Art *in the chapter on Hamlet Vygotsky accentuates
> the concept, "second birth." In the works of AN Leontiev one also
> encounters this term in connection with the development of
> selfconsciousness during adolescence.
> --
> С уважением,
> Б.М.
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list
xmca mailing list
Received on Sun Nov 25 20:05 PST 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Dec 11 2007 - 10:18:42 PST