Re: [xmca] Marx and Engels works quoted by LSV

From: David Kellogg <vaughndogblack who-is-at>
Date: Wed Dec 03 2008 - 16:44:17 PST

LSV grew up bilingual (mother speaking Yiddish and German) and he certainly read tomes of German psychology. Wouldn't he have read the German Ideology in German? He CERTAINLY knew the line from the German Ideology about language being practical conciousness that exists also for others.
To try to relate this to the discussion on Stetsenko and Sawchuk. In the early part of their article, they use what seems to me to be a very early version of LSV, the psychology LSV himself called "instrumental", which emphasizes tool use and active transformation of the environment at the expense of language and self-regulation through inter-functional systems.
I think that the LSV of the 1930s, the LSV of play, the interfunctional system, the line of development, and the zoped, pretty much rejected this whole approach. The use of signs in self-regulation and inner speech simply can't be reduced to strings tied around fingers and knots in handkerchiefs, although they may have had their origins there.
For example, in Thinking and Speech, only Chapter Four, written in 1929, actually talks about signs as "stimulus residue". That kind of confusion, which associates a footprint with the word "foot", just doesn't happen in his later work, even in later written chapters of the same book. Instead, we find stress on a "signifying" function which is qualitatively different from practical activity and has a different genetic root altogether.
The later part of Sawchuk and Stetsenko implicitly recognizes this primacy of language (rather than "subjectivity") by coming around to the work of Garfinkel and Schegloff (but why not Harvey Sacks?) Here the old sociological tension between agency and structure simply disappears. When I stop talking and you start, is it a matter of agency or structure?
So I think it's not really a matter of "undertheorizing" subjectivity. I think it's a matter of undertheorizing language. And I don't think that LSV after 1930 can be accused of having done that.
David Kellogg
Seoul National University of Education

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Received on Wed Dec 3 16:45:42 2008

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