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Re: [xmca] The Interpersonal Is Not the Sociocultural

Just another small note on the basic "interpersonal is not the sociocultural" theme --

It used to be my responsibility in a phd program to teach about Vygotskyan and sociocultural approaches to teaching, learning, development, etc. And to ask the questions for either the written or oral qualifying exams related to these themes.

In the course, and on the exams, I found it necessary to push students very hard to understand that "social" did not simply mean interpersonal, but also cultural. Whether talking about ZPD or scaffolding or any sort of social theory of learning, students, even good, bright, phd students, unless previously trained in anthropology (rare) and even if with some training in sociology or political science, simply saw the social as always the interaction among individuals. (Non-American students seemed to have less of this problem.)

Many had taken a lot of psychology courses, all individualistic and mentalistic in orientation ("old" cogsci). Even with political science backgrounds, as some had, they were equipped with the (to me complete nonsense of) rational actor theory. And in sociology, somehow Durkheim seemed never to register (and Marx of course does not get mentioned much).

I usually found I needed to give them a good dose of cultural anthropology, and a little systems theory, and I was not above reifying sociocultural systems a little more than I normally would, to make the point and get them over the hump. There is a profound sense in which individual human beings are simply NOT the primary unit of analysis for phenomena like learning, meaning, and even feeling.

I like to think I succeeded a little more than half the time.


Jay Lemke
Professor (Adjunct, 2009-2010)
Educational Studies
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Visiting Scholar
Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition
University of California -- San Diego
La Jolla, CA
USA 92093

On Apr 1, 2010, at 2:17 PM, peter jones wrote:

> Hello, As an aside to your discussion on this, I would just like to provide a very high-level view:
> Within Hodges' model the interpersonal is not the sociocultural. 
> In previous blog posts I've referred to the 'interpersonal' domain as 'intrapersonal' being concerned with individual thoughts, beliefs, experience.
> I'm wondering increasingly about all the 'holistic bridges' or 'disciplinary highways' of which psychophysical, psychosocial are examples:
> http://hodges-model.blogspot.com/2008/06/physio-political-musings-songs-and.html
> Best regards,
> Peter Jones
> http://hodges-model.blogspot.com/
> Hodges' Health Career - Care Domains - Model 
> http://www.p-jones.demon.co.uk/ 
> h2cm: help2Cmore - help-2-listen - help-2-care
> http://twitter.com/h2cm
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