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Re: [xmca] Development of development


This doubtless seems exceptionally pedantic, but in my view "socially situated development" is something quite different from "the social situation of development."

As I see it, when Vygotsky emphasises the importance of identifying and understanding the *situation* which drives development he is requiring us to form a concept of the situation, whatever it may be in a given case. He makes a contrast between this approach and a description of the (let us say for the sake of contrast) the context or environment in which the child happens to find themself. This context or environment is characterized in terms of its various attributes, such as the ethnic background of parents, socioeconomic status, values, and so on. This way of characterising the relation is really complexive (to use Vygotsky's word) and not conceptual as such.

You correctly point out the need for a conceptual grasp of the lifeworld's character, but I think "situation" is different from situating something, Larry. Do you see what I mean? If we have the characteristics of the surrounding world on one hand and the development on the other, then we have situated the development but we don't know the situation.


Larry Purss wrote:
Hi everyone
I thought I would log on and reflect on social situations of development [Fleer and Hedegaard article.]
I want to bring in Martin's ideas from his edited book "Cultural and Critical Perspectives on Human Development" (2001)  On page 142, 143 he elaborates on Habermas's notion of the "lifeworld" to explore the development of development [innovations in the institutions that define specific developmental pathways]
Martin, following Habermas, contrasts lifeworlds with RATIONALIZED SYSTEMS [institutional structures that develop particular "kinds of persons". I believe this distinction of institutions as existing within a tension between different ways to structure relational practices is critical to our reflection on socially situated development.
Martin offers a key insight when he states "The rationalization efforts depended for their effect on the CONTINUED OPERATION OF THE LIFEWORLD of the school, without having an adequately CONCEPTUAL grasp of the lifeworlds character.
As we go forward in describing socially situated development I believe this recognition of the foundational requirement for implementing rationalized systems depends on maintaining lifeworlds.
However the contradictions involved in this statement are obvious as the more "successful" the implementation of rationalized systems of institutional practices, the more fragmented the lifeworlds become.
The "project" [Andy's term] that I see Fleer & Hedegaard engaged in in their explication of socially situated development can be enriched by including the notion of the lifeworld's character [and the VALUES this notion implies]. Martin also brings in Latour's notion of classrooms and families existing as institutions as NODES within a wide ranging NETWORK of distal rationalized SYSTEMS that exert "a relationist ontology" (Latour, 1997 as cited in Packer p. 143) that threatens the "bursting of the capacity of the lifeworld" Habermas (as cited in Packer p.143). The development of development trajectory of our current institutional structures needs to explore the historically continuing destruction of schools as lifeworlds. The 5th dimension, and Golden key schools are particular examples of responding to this rationalizing process but philosophically I believe we need to engage in asking how we can maintain lifeworlds within our current public schools. Larry _______________________________________________
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Andy Blunden http://home.mira.net/~andy/ +61 3 9380 9435 Skype andy.blunden An Interdisciplinary Theory of Activity: http://www.brill.nl/scss

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