[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xmca] History of triangle metaphors in post-Piagetian theory


I have read about halfway through the Zittoun paper, but I got a bit fed up with it. Mainly, I think he is simply putting his own idea of mediation into what he reads. On Freud for example, he creates out of his own imagination some mediational triangles which were never seen in those terms by Freud himself, so far as I know. But he makes no mention of the Id-Ego-Superego (I grant not developmental in the sense he wants) which is a very prominent triad in Freud. Nor does he make mention of Donald Winnicott who quite explicitly made a mediational reading of Freud of the kind Zittoun is imagining.

Then we get to Vygotsky and his imagination runs wild. Vygotsky discovered that people were not like animals in the mid-1920s! This is the guy whose previous interests were aesthetics and lit crit before going into education, and in his very first recorded intervention, defined consciousness as the mediator between physiology and behaviour!

As I see it, both unmediated interaction and mediation have a very long history in psychology and social philosophy generally. In American and German traditions, mediation is almost ubiquitous. The French on the other hand are obsessed with dichotomy and binaries, but only for the purpose of "exposing" and "desconstructing" them, so not as alien to mediation as appears at first sight. But social and psychological analysis which takes a unit of analysis which is unmediated is still today, I think, predominant, as it was in the 17th century.

And the genealogy you refer to, I mean, calling followers of Vygotsky "post-Piagetian." I question whether this designation makes any sense, as Piaget is a direct descendant of Kant and those looking to Vygotsky and Mead come from a quite distinct current of thinking and were not followers of Piaget. There are, of course, thinkers who use an unmediated model, such as the intersubjectivists, who do wish to "take into account" context, but with them "context" is moderation perhaps, but not mediation.


Larry Purss wrote:
I am curious if a historical trajectory Zittoun, Gillespie, Cornish, and
Psaltis have suggested has evloved in Piagetian developmental theory is a
more general trend in developmental theories.  The reason I ask is it seems
to parallel my emerging perspectives and questions about development.

Zittoun et al suggest Piagetian models have developed through 4 generations
of theorizing the subject-OTHER-object model of development. [sociocognitive
model]  They suggest Piaget [except in his early work] focused on the binary
subject-object transmission of knowledge and was a model of interior
The first generation of post-Piagetian models looked to Mead, Vygotsky,
Bernstein, and Moscovici to reorient to a triadic subject-OTHER- object
triangle and resocialized Piaget's model.  Subject and other have differing
perspectives and this creates tension and creates a de-centering and
cognitive elaborations. Chapman's term was the "epistemic triangle".  In
this first generationof post-Piagetian models tension is created between
persons interacting as different intentional beings,  "but these intentional
participants are not typically considered in terms of their societally
situated roles.
A second line of post-piagetian models deepens and extends the notion of the
social to the whole subject-other-object SYSTEM [context] that takes place
in a world structured by social positions, VALUES, rules, and DISCOURSES"
which are all factors which CONSTITUTE social positions and thus the
PERSPECTIVES of the participants in the epistemic triangle.  This extends
interpersonal coordination to include intergroup and ideological processes.
This generation of models focused on the INSTITUTIONAL contexts and
re-focuses on the centrality of the object as mediating SYSTEMS of social
relations [positions]
More recently another generation of epistemic triangle models is exploring
the constitutive role  social and institutional Asymmetires within societal
contexts. [Duveen]

This movement from interpersonal interactivity, to institutional roles and
positions, and then into social representations and hermeneutics  gives an
expanding role to history and traditions and seems parallel to the direction
in which my curiosity is wandering.  I was curious if the patterns or
configurations of emerging epistemic triangle models of development to
embrace hermeneutics, traditions, and history as the CONTEXT in which
interpersonal participation is embedded is a trajectory that is more general
across other triangle models of development?

xmca mailing list

*Andy Blunden*
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
Videos: http://vimeo.com/user3478333/videos
Book: http://www.brill.nl/scss

xmca mailing list