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Re: [xmca] catharsis and category

I appreciate your trace of the history of this word and wonder if
"category" in the theatrical sense might also be connected to LSV, and
Stanislavsky's notion of genre  ?

*Robert L.
On Tue, Jun 14, 2011 at 10:51 AM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> I should report on the outcome of my investigations of this question.
> Nikolai Veresov and I have met and agreed only that we cannot agree, so, so
> far as I know he retains his position, but I will leave it Nikolai to say
> what that is. I cannot speak for him.
> However, I have verified that the word /kategoria/, was translated from
> Greek via Latin into English as "predicament" and from 1580, meant
> "predicament" in the sense of a "problematic situation" and whatismore
> "kategoria" is used to this day in Rhetoric and in a broadly similar sense,
> but only in highly specialist discourses. Not "category," just "kategoria."
> There is some evidence also that kategoria is used in the theory of theatre
> in a similar sense to this day. So, I have to give some plausibility to the
> claim that the word had such a sense in Vygotsky's circle of theatrical
> friends in Moscow before he went into psychology, but I cannot document it
> from that time. "Predicement" remains the technical word in theatre for the
> situation from which a plot develops, the source of the basic tension which
> drives the story. I have long been of the view, on the basis of reading
> Volume 5 of the LSV CW, that the "social situation of development" can be
> characterised in Vygotsky's view, as a "predicament." But I made the
> connection with a Marxist view of history, not the theory of theatre.
> On Catharsis, I have found the source of this concept in Freud and an
> article by Freud is attached. It is called "working through" in this
> article. Interesting. It makes sense.
> Thank you Anton, and Huw for your insights,
> Andy
> Andy Blunden wrote:
>> Thank you Huw. Very encrouaging. "Resolution" seems to capture a lot of
>> it.
>> I have consulted the OED On-line for "*category*" and found nothing
>> surprising about its meaning, as used by Aristotle and Kant and in
>> mathematics, more or less meaning "class" but extendable to abstract
>> concepts. But what OED did tell me, which adds yet another intriguing thread
>> to the puzzle, is that its Latin roots mean "predicament," and in olden
>> days, "category" used to be translated as "predicament."
>> Now "predicament" here is related to "predicate" as in subject and
>> predicate, a key metaphysical distinction for Aristotle and dialectics
>> generally, but it forces me to reflect on the relation of "predicament" -
>> and therefore "category" - to "situation", as in "social situation of
>> development," which I have always said, based on how Vygotsky uses the term,
>> should be understood as a "predicament," but in the common usage of this
>> word as a situation or trap, from which one must make a development in order
>> to escape.
>> *Catharsis*, according to OED is the Greek word meaning "cleansing" or
>> "purging," which is of course what is commonly understood by the word. With
>> reference to Aristotle is means "the purification of the emotions by
>> vicarious experience." Vicarious!? The Freudian usage you referred to (thank
>> you), Huw, is "The process of relieving an abnormal excitement by
>> re-establishing the association of the emotion with the memory or idea of
>> the event which was the first cause of it, and of eliminating it by
>> abreaction."  This sounds very much like how I have understood Vygotsky to
>> be using the term!!
>> All that is fine. A true detective story, as Anton says! But what is the
>> Russian word which is a unity of these disparate concepts??!!
>> :)
>> Andy
>> Huw Lloyd wrote:
>>> On 9 June 2011 08:24, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:
>>> ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:
>>>    I have been watching Nikolai Veresov's videos on vimeo. I refer to
>>>    No. 2 in particular: http://vimeo.com/groups/chat/videos/10226589
>>>    In this talk, Nikolai is explaining his view of the development of
>>>    Vygotsky's theory of the development of the high mental functions
>>>    through the appropriation of social functions, and in doing so, he
>>>    appears to be mistaking the English word "category" for the
>>>    English word "catharsis."
>>> I think that there is an issue with the English (Freudian) use of
>>> "catharsis" that refers to expression without genuine influence, which a) I
>>> don't think is cathartic and b) not what was intended in psychology of art,
>>> i.e. achieving, or identifying with, a genuine change (or resolution), even
>>> if only a resolution of a staged performance (identification), or some other
>>> art.
>>> This notion of "real" catharsis then becomes more related to the notion
>>> of category.
>>> In my studies and thinking I have been happy with Nikolai's use of the
>>> term category and it's relation to stage.  With respect to plan/plane
>>> correspondences there are several overlapping aspects, which seem to be
>>> quite precisely captured by this otherwise ambiguous term (joint context,
>>> intention and topological representation).
>>> The dramatic conflict (category) has correspondence with (distributed)
>>> self-organisation.  The social participation of emotionally led behaviour
>>> leads to structured forms of participation, e.g. acquiring new coordinating
>>> structures in the process of achieving one's goals.
>>> Huw
> --
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA:
> http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~db=all~content=g932564744
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
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*Robert Lake  Ed.D.
*Assistant Professor
Social Foundations of Education
Dept. of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading
Georgia Southern University
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