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Re: [xmca] Layers versus stages

A quote by Jerome Bruner in an article he wrote for an edited book by
Leonard Cirillo & Seymour Wapner, "Value Presuppositions in Theories of
Human Development" (1986) captures the relationship between developmental
theories and cultural imaginaries:

"Culturally congruent phenomena unearthed or constructed by modern theories
of human development come to be canonized as desirable realities if they
conform to values already independently in being within the culture.  Where
theories of human development become classic... is when they unearth or
discern a previously undiscovered grouping of processes that extend or
elaborate a cultural value that was previously implicit and is now made

When I reflect on this quote I wonder if Stern's developmental idea of
"layers" and Vygotsky's developmental idea of the expanding globe are
examples of an emerging cultural recognition of the sociocultural turn in
psychology.  This turn has the potential of "imagining" institutional
structures [including theories of development] which are more open
ended and validate a more expanded range of expression. Dialogical theory
supports Stern's emphasis on the dynamic fluidity of development as
layers while hermeneutical accounts remind us of our historical embeddedness
in cultural traditions that constrain this fluidity. However, discursive,
hermeneutical, dialogical, and activity accounts all share the sociocultural
value that we can change the kinds of persons we are becoming.  Stern's
developmental notion of layering embraces this more open view of our
possibilities of being at home in the world.
 Is this wishful thinking on my part or is it one example of shifting value
presuppositions in our cultural imaginary?

On Sat, Jun 19, 2010 at 6:01 AM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> Mike
> The image of the globe and COORDINATING perspectives and the emerging
> capacity to FLEXIBLY move between the coordinates [North, south, east or
> west] [generality, abstraction, concrete phenomenology] has an intuitive
> sense.
> This topic also must include reflections on the cultural imaginaries
> [hermeneutic traditions] that "sediments this flexible coordinating capacity
> into institutional structural forms of development.
> The question becomes which LENSES [horizon of understanding as cultural
> imaginaries] are constraining and constituiting our emerging accounts of
> development.  When I as a person "move"  navigate and position [and am
> positioned] within traditions  [as coordinates on the globe] the question of
> "agency" as the capacity to "reflectively act to "take" a position rather
> than reactively being placed in a position becomes a central  question of
> development.
> Stern's metaphor of layering supports this metaphor of the globe as an
> expanding horizon of understanding which includes the previous ways of
> coordinating sociality and the social situation of  development MAY support
> the person in developing the flexibility in coordinating positions on the
> globe IF the cultural imaginary facilitates this emerging capacity  to be
> flexible in moving north, south, east, or west.
> When our cultural imaginary constrains our notions of development into an
> account of a journey to increasing individuation, differentiation,
> reflective capacity, self mastery of "instinctual" emotions, cognitive
> representations transcending undifferentiated symbiosis, and other notions
> of "higher" stages" as increasing separation and "self-contained agency" it
> limits our flexibility to move in ALL directions on the globe. Stern's
> metaphor of layers of development shares the same bias as the metaphor of
> the globe that all the previous ways of coordinating [negotiating] positions
> continue to be viable ways to coordinate concrete phenomenology, cognitive
> abstraction, and systems of generality.
> It is the cultural imaginaries that place rigid constraints  [limit our
> horizon of understandings] on what is "acceptable" or how we "should"
> develop towards self mastery and abstraction.  I want to emphasize that the
> capacity to reflect, make rational decisions, take the perspective of
> others, coordinate and negotiate ruptures in communication are all
> developing expansions of the globe [adding further layers].  However, the
> notion of stages, where the earlier stages are "less developed" [more
> immature and more undifferentiated and DEPENDENT, less individuated] may be
> reflecting a particular cultural imaginary that imposes limits on accessing
> these earlier ways we learned to coordinate positions on the coordinates.
> I'm biased to see develop as the emerging capacity to BE AT HOME with
> previous as well as new ways of coordinating positions on the globe. The
> cultural surround resists this flexibility and asks us to limit our movement
> on the globe. Agency [as the capacity to flexibly coordinate a variety
> of positions including subjective phenomenology,  intersubjective
> experience, and institutional structures, is a compatabilist notion that
> sees development as moving from being determined to limited agentic self
> determination.
> This self determination includes the capacity to remain open to
> experiencing the world as layered or as an expanding globe that the person
> becomes more flexible in negotiating and coordinating. The person's lived
> experience embraces comfortably moving north, south, east, or west.[ within
> the limits of the cultural imaginary or traditions]
> Larry
> On Sat, Jun 19, 2010 at 1:56 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> I like Peirce's "The Mind is a concentrated group."
>> a
>> David Kellogg wrote:
>>> Rod--
>>>  Very true. My own private model of a mind is neither stage nor layer.
>>> It's not a construction site or a heap of sand, and it's not exactly
>>> substitutional nor precisely sublative. My own private model of a mind is a
>>> semiotic object, or rather a semiotic process that leaves a number of traces
>>> apparently one on top of the other though in reality side by side. My own
>>> private model of a mind is a palimpsest.  It's a text that has been written
>>> and overwritten and over-overwritten so that some of the old text is visible
>>> and in some cases the earlier text can be reconstructed while in other cases
>>> it is lost. So too the child's mature language, and the language making mind
>>> too, is based on the signifying function overwrites the indicative language
>>> based on concrete reference, which in turn overwrites ostension.  There are
>>> (at least) two problems with this model. The first is that it assumes that
>>> foot is the footprint. A real dialogue by real people is really NOT a text;
>>> it's a discourse. A text is an interlacing double trail of footprints on a
>>> wet beach. The footprints obscure each other, and the waves wash one, and
>>> then the other, and finally both of them away.  But while they last we see
>>> the footprints and we can follow them; we can imagine the walkers, and can
>>> see them running and wading and splashing. We can even catch up to them and
>>> take them by the hand. Yet the disembodied, imprinted, fleeting meanings we
>>> find in text are never quite the embodied, ephemeral, corporeal sense we
>>> find in discourse itself; the process of reconstruing the process from the
>>> product is never quite the same as the process of producing it in the first
>>> place.
>>>  The second problem is that it assumes that the dance remains even when
>>> the dancer stops dancing.  David Kellogg
>>> Seoul National University of Education
>>> --- On Sat, 6/19/10, Rod Parker-Rees <R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk>
>>> wrote:
>>> From: Rod Parker-Rees <R.Parker-Rees@plymouth.ac.uk>
>>> Subject: RE: [xmca] Layers versus stages
>>> To: "lchcmike@gmail.com" <lchcmike@gmail.com>, "eXtended Mind, Culture,
>>> Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
>>> Date: Saturday, June 19, 2010, 1:22 AM
>>> I have never been happy with the construction site model of development
>>> which buries the foundations and sees all development in terms of 'upward'
>>> expansion, stage on stage. I prefer to think of development more in terms of
>>> heaping - as sand forms a heap, getting higher but also spreading at the
>>> base as our 'primary' or foundational capabilities continue to affect and
>>>  be affected by our later experiences (not just rumbling and festering in
>>> the basement!). One problem with the heap analogy is that the sand is
>>> arriving from above and gravity ensures that the only movement is down but
>>> then every model has to have its limitations!
>>> All the best,
>>> Rod
>>> ________________________________________
>>> From: xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu [xmca-bounces@weber.ucsd.edu] On
>>> Behalf Of mike cole [lchcmike@gmail.com]
>>> Sent: 18 June 2010 22:15
>>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity
>>> Subject: [xmca] Layers versus stages
>>> Larry and others interested in attending to early infancy as part of a
>>> discussion about development --
>>> Attached are a few pages early from Dan Stern's book to which Larry has
>>> pointed us. I am curious about people's thought on the "layers vs.
>>> stages"
>>> antinomy/contrast. A couple of questions:
>>> 1. Layering appears on the surface at least to deny any process of
>>> sublation. Is this a reasonable interpretation?
>>> 2. Layering is specifically associated with the interpersonal sphere and
>>> ideas about the primacy of sociality from the get go and seems contrasted
>>> with the (non-human) object sphere; sort of like
>>> relations and modes of production. So maybe the social sphere is layered
>>> and
>>> the object sphere undergoes stage-like transformations?
>>> But, the two are co-constituitive in human life, so would this mean that
>>> ontogenetic change would have features of each?
>>> What think you?
>>> mike
>>> _______________________________________________
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>> --
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> *Andy Blunden*
>> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
>> Videos: http://vimeo.com/user3478333/videos
>> Book: http://www.brill.nl/scss
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