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

Hi Andy
I agree that Zittoun et al  are creating out of their own imaginations some
mediational triangles which may not have theorized by Freud. However, I
consider this imaginal process that attempts to ABSTRACT and make explicit
what they "read"  as implicit in Freud's theory as a central aspect of
generating new perspectives by coordinating previously generated
perspectives.  Looking at  Zittoun et al's explication as a creative
"imaginal" construction which generates a new perspective therefore seems to
be a legitimate way to proceed.  However, when the ideas get posted to CHAT
and are reflected on by scholars who take different perspectives, the
reasonableness of their perspectives are scrutinized in a community of

However, what I appreciated in thes is that eir framing of psychoanalytic
perspectives is that "emotion" is a central construct in the emergence and
constitution of agency.

I also agree Andy that what they are framing as "post-Piagetian" theory [by
embracing Vygotsky and mediation] could be seen as going beyond Piaget and
should no longer be framed as "piagetian" and should be called a
"mediational" theory.  However, what I take from their review of Piagetian
theory is the emphasis on "Other(s)" as central to emerging "agency".

Therefore "emotions" in one tradition and "other" in "post" Piagetian theory
are theorized or "imagined" as central.

The question I posted to open this thread was the historical trajectory of
these various mediational models. Is there a general trend of moving from
2nd person perspectives of actual social interaction, to a more "generalized
other(s)" perspective within institutional structures, and then more
recently towards social representations [Moscovici] and Hermeneutical
accounts which put HISTORY [however this is theorized] as cental within
developmental theory.

As an example of this broader historical approach would be how we
understand reason and rationality. Gillespie and Jack Martin explain acting
on the basis of reasons as involving  reasoning about what would occur IF a
given course of action were or were not taken. In this particular
perspectival approach ANTICIPATED, possible consequences of particular
actions enter into the reasoning that is the basis for acting.  What is
thought MIGHT happen becomes a DETERMINANT of what DOES happen because
people are are REACTING to and reasoning about POSSIBLE futures.

This account of reasoning puts the imaginal anticipation of possible futures
at the center of rationality.  Now my question is the historical
constitution of this form of cognition.  Do we within Eurocentric
historical traditions develop this particular perspectival stance towards
"reality" as a particular perspectival frame [which on some accounts can be
historically located in Greece in the transition from dialogue to "text" or
is rationality a more "universal" perspective?

If Zittoun's article's get others to REACT [respond] and it furthers
dialogical [and textual] coordination of multiple perspectives, then its
worth engaging with the article.


On Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 11:29 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Larry,
> 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.
> Andy
> 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
>> mediation.
>> 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?
>> Larry
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> --
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> *Andy Blunden*
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