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Re: [xmca] Kharkov school of psychology?
- To: Anton Yasnitsky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: Re: [xmca] Kharkov school of psychology?
- From: mike cole <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2010 08:50:58 -0700
- Cc: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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Thanks for the reminder of the bilingual list focused on Soviet
Sorry about the polyphony on xmca. Just how it is. Suggestions for
better organized discussion
PS- My tentative conclusion from reading the bilingual materials (and
thanks to Achilles for
his persistence!) is that by 1931 the situation was becoming very
dangerous and difficult for the Vygotsky circle on several fronts and
that the move to Kharkov, whether or not it actually preceded the
RSFSR decree against pedology (fascinating to see project based
learning used as a term there) was motivated by a desire to get beyond
the reach of the RSFSR and be allowed to pursue their research. And
that this research was modified in its emphases for both
political/self protection reasons mixed with genuine intellectual
concerns. And that untangling all of this will not absolve us of
responsibility for what we think the strongest solutions to the
intellectual issues are in 2010.
On 3/28/10, Anton Yasnitsky <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> OK. Here are my two cents: a couple of remarks and mainly references, fyi...
> Imho, too many topics are discussed here at the same time, which makes it
> highly problematic for us to resolve any of the specific problems at stake.
> Thus, I suggest minimizing the input and focusing on specific question at a
> time. I can not refrain from an observation that I was flattered to come
> across an acknowledgment of my contribution to David's discussion in his
> recent paper on Chukovsky, yet, I fully agree with the author that his
> argument in this paper,--as well as, in fact, in his other discussions of
> the history of Soviet psychoneurology (i.e. human and behavioural sciences,
> in other nomenclature)--like, for instance, his present discussion--on many
> occasions looks ungrounded, flawed and immature to me. Instead of discussing
> all and nothing, talking about an issue at a time--just for a change--might
> be a better way to deal with these problems scientifically (whatever this
> So, for the background of the early 1930s education- and paedology-related
> decrees of the authorities of USSR and RSFSR please see two recent
> discussions at the already announced at xmca online bilingual community on
> the history of world and Soviet/Russian psychology:
> #1: http://community.livejournal.com/psyhistorik/52683.html
> #2: http://community.livejournal.com/psyhistorik/54008.html
> If one wants to join these discussions there, please feel free to, but first
> make sure you open an account at livejournal.com and, ideally, join the
> community; for instructions see
> http://community.livejournal.com/psyhistorik/profile . Btw, other
> discussions and postings are available here:
> Then, on Kharkov school: to the best of my knowledge, the most recent stuff
> was published a couple of years ago, both papers are mine, both are freely
> available at my university web-page. Also, one can find there a couple of
> more recent papers on roughly the same topic, but unfortunately both are in
> Russian only, at least at this point.
> As to the expression "Kharkov school", I would just remark that I am getting
> increasingly suspicious of the notion of "scientific school" itself and its
> applicability in historiographical research--as opposed to the marketing of
> science, the area where the Great Men and Founding Fathers, their Best
> Students and Scientific Schools, etc. mythology works perfectly well and
> does a great job of helping to sell the product--to whoever would want to
> buy the stuff. In this sense, I keep avoiding talking about the schools in
> the history of science these days.
> Instead, I prefer the terminology of "groups", "networks", and "circles".
> The benefit of such terms is that they are way better operationalizable than
> "schools". Thus, for instance, my relatively recent major work that I
> completed a year ago was on "Vygotsky Circle". According to google search,
> there are only 49 references to "Vygotsky Circle" as of today, but I really
> believe the situation will change pretty soon...
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: mike cole <email@example.com>
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Sent: Sun, March 28, 2010 10:35:20 PM
> Subject: [xmca] Kharkov school of psychology?
> hi david and anton--
> I hope that anton is looking into the sequence of events which precipitated
> the move of lsv and his colleagues to Kharkov.
> I was not aware that Anton denied the existence of a "Kharkov school" of
> Are you asserting there was, David? I am unclear. A lot of what you have
> been writing
> about the "micro" politics of the era and place indicate you know a lot
> about it. My
> knowledge comes from an earlier time and different place, so its really
> interesting to hear
> about the matters you are writing about and trying to consider their
> implications for our
> own understandings of culture, development, activity. etc.
> To my limited knowledge, it seems that the people in Kharkov distanced
> themselves from
> LSV as much as possible. I am judging only from the materials in Ukrainian
> that I obtained
> from Zinchenko the younger. And they were interestingly critical of his
> ideas about natural
> and cultural memory (Zinchenko the older), as well as ideas about activity.
> But what was
> indigenously Kharkovian and what was a moscow import? Hard for me to sort
> Non-coincidentally (I assume) there was a horrible famine in Uzbekistan and
> Kirghizia (as it was then referred to) - A circumstance entirely missing
> from Luria's account of his work there or any
> accounts I have seen from LSV's visit to the region. I assume both famines
> were orchestrated by the Georgian god father?
> Disturbing questions. Perhaps you have the answers? This kind of relating of
> ideas to their socio-
> historical context seems important to me. But separating fact from fiction
> through the fogs of time and wars and blood and time seems a daunting task.
> I am still trying to sort out the pre-pseudo-complex-concept issues. Slow
> but unreliable as usual!
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