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

Re: [xmca] Activity and interpsychological aspects of CHAT

From: Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Sent: Sunday, 9 October 2011, 16:16:53
Subject: [xmca] Activity and interpsychological aspects of CHAT

Hi Haydi

I'm responding to your concern that activity and the larger macro level is

being overshadowed by the more personal and interpsychological aspects of


a. Andy , besides his other activities is the editor of the MCA . He said in his view Vygotsky was a GREAT marxist . 
b. I repeat the Activity Theory , to all evidence , has its roots in Marxism . 
c. I emphasized on distinguishing between "individual" and "personal" in discussing  CHAT . 
d. Yes , I believe [[...I believe activity (proper) and the larger macro level is being overshadowed by the more (individual)and interpsychological aspects of CHAT . ]]

You should have heard about the "leading activity" and the corresponding hiararchy of motives . Usually , discussion focuses on "any" activity ; leaving the macro-social aside , discussing what happens within the sphere of hygiene , let's say , while every pollution and 
corruption is downstreaming from the top in a global capitalist 
formation .

 Leontyev himself ansers no need to quote Wertsch : "   A division of the function of sense formation
and simple stimulation between motives of one and the same activity makes it
possible to understand the principal relationships characterizing the
motivational sphere of personality: the relationships of the hierarchy of motives.This hierarchy is not in the least constructed on a
scale of their proximity to the vital (biological) needs in a way similar to
that which Maslow, for
example, imagines: [1.The
necessity for maintaining physiological homeostasis is the basis for the
hierarchy; the motives for self-preservation are higher, next, 3.confidence and prestige; finally, at the top of
the hierarchy, motives of 4.cognition
and aesthetics]. The principal problem that arises here is not to what
extent the given scale (or another similar to it) is right but how proper the
principle of such scaling is in itself. The fact is that neither the degree of
proximity to biological needs nor the degree of capacity to stimulate nor the
affectiveness of one motive or another determines the hierarchical relationship
between them. These
relationships are determined by the connections that the activity of the
subject brings about, by their mediations, and for this reason, they are
relative. This refers also to the principal correlation - to the
correlation between sense-forming
motives and motive-stimuli." **

I must accept my part in turning the conversations in this direction

as my curiosity does orient more to the interpsychological aspects of

cultural historical theory.

**2. Yes , quite true ! You're quite free to forget about all principles of the ideology of Vygotsky and the TROIKA AND THE PYATERKA , Davydov , etc. down to V.P.Zinchndo Junior who has begun to repudiate His father's findings and whom Mike , as Guest  Editor of JREEP , has talked about and brought forth some of His writings . But one thing is crucial : By orienting on "interpsychological" , you jump then to "intersubjectivity" and "agency" and begin to discuss in a way as if agency is determined within intersubjectivity . Just plz answer how in what way within intersubjectivity in the absence of any activity and action . an agentive element rises up ; in other words just at the level of "semiotics" and without furthering up to the all interactions and upheavals and incidences , events , if one can reach the powerfulness of beginning to act which satisfies an urgent or distant need . Dialogue  could be most effective while in the direction of a goal
 chosen for the action and in the direction of an activity most important at any moment which the social relations dictates . **

 Wertsch writing about Leontiev suggests his

focus was on how it is possible to assimilate the "experience of mankind" as

a foundation for building activity theory grounded in Marx's ideas about

subject-object interaction.

**In my last message , I referred to this point and there is enough in the quote above about this matter . The passage I sent which was confirmed as related to the perezhivanie also has enough to say about that . Then no more discussion . **

 Wertsch suggests that Leontiev's notion of

activity does extend Vygotsky's focus on the inteprsychological to the macro

account of social interaction.

**No , Let's never forget that the title of Vygotsky's MAGNUM OPUS is "Thinking and Speech" . And if he was and is a great marxist , he knows that speech is born withing the process of Labour requiring a tool . And I said about the hiararchy of MOTIVES and that even this same hiararchy is bound to subordinate itself to the requirements of ACTIVITY . Activity is Molar and non-divisible in regard to its MOMENTS . **

 Wertsch acknowledges this extension is

necessary to give a more complete account of cultural historical processes.

However, Wertsch suggests in the move to this macro level Leontiev did not

incorporate many of Vygotsky's insights about interpsychological functioning

and semiotic mediation. In other words Vygotsky did not produce a complete

account of how INTRApsychological and INTERpsychological planes of

functioning are tied to social INSTITUTIONAL factors. This extension to

social institutional processes is required to go beyond microsociological

and interpsychological functioning to become a fullfledged analysis of mind

in society.

**To give the MOST complete account of "cultural-historical" processes , you should , first of all , give  the most comprehensive account of man's life on the Earth . Man is material not semiotic and leads a material life not a semiotic one ; he uses semiotics because he has stored tons of actions and events and operations behind them . Then his best and most effective accounts consist of enumerating the actions and activities he has gone through . And these were to produce His history and his culture ; when no history and no culture were on , activities and actions were and were for man to survive . Yes to history and culture but on a final count , and with all the results emanating from them , they have a material BASE : MATERIAL ACTIVITY . 

I prefer to script SOCIAL institutional factors . You quite invulantarily and repeatedly get back to Micro-Social . Marxism has Classes and Division of Classes . And their Struggle for Power . In  a not developed society in which Classes have not come to have distinct boundaries , groupings , layers , guilds , communities of practice , maybe habituses come to the surface and begin maneuvering . And we judge about a revolution be the Nature of the State . Leontyev has a discussion about if internals act through the externals or vice versa . He gives his example with S.L. Rubinstein who believes externals act through the internals . L asks what these internals are and how they act on the externals . In my last message I noted : TRANSFORMATIONS WITHIN , MUST OF NECESSITY HAVE THEIR LOOKS WITHOUT . Do you have anything other than Heredity and Lived Experience in the Internal ? These have been discussed by Leontyev . And I gave you my coloured / marked
 version of A.C.P . It is a gist of lots and lots of reading . And I don't know if Mind comes with the Birth ; What is it ? If it is fixed or liable to change . And where do Marxists put Mind in their structure of Philosophy or Psychology . And if we act in such a way to take some blocks of heredity and others of our lived experience and try to build our VITAL EXPERIENCE upon them like putting stones upon stones ; then what about sublimation : TO RETAIN AND RESOLVE THE OLD IN THE NEW . **

More than for one message .

Haydi, I wanted to open with Wertsch's comments to acknowledge the

centrality of these macro levels on the formation of mind. However, in my

work and in my personal life I'm pulled to focus more on the

interpsychological explorations of social organization. The notion of

extending the concept of "psychological tools" to the broader notion of

"tool KITS' points to the recognition of multiple genres or "texts" as

various tools to be used in the tool kit to understand social organization.

These tool kits offer a variety of options about what is permissible or

appropriate to include in our accounts and bias our narratives towards

different planes of social organization.  Selecting a particular genre from

the tool kit places CONSTRAINTS on what can be said and how it can be

expressed.  From a cultural historical perspective the particular genre

chosen is itself open for exploration and critique.

The issue of these genres or texts and how they are chosen or selected as

mediational means is itself an object for analysis within CHAT. Also these

various tools in the tool kit are themselves constantly evolving and

interacting. Activity theory at the macro level is influenced by

explorations of texts written with an interpsychological focus.  Vladimir

Zinchenko is exploring phenomena at the microstructural and microgenetic

level where perception and action are related below the level of awareness

outside accessibility to introspection. But he suggests these microgenetic

processes follow phases, stages, of genetic development.  This is at a level

of the intrapsychological.

My mentioning "active experience" was at the interpsychological level of

analysis.  Active experience contrasted with "habits" in Dewey's language of

social organization. Active experience is when RUPTURES occur in the

habitual ways of responding within interpsychological socially organized

spaces.  How we account for these ruptures depends on the tools in our tool

kit that we use as explanations and interpretations and justifications.

Different tools lead to different accounts.

The question of how we come to share collective memories of shared

experiences at the interpsychological and activity levels BUT also how we

incorporate "active experience" as RUPTURING experiences of collective

memory is also requiring consideration.

Haydi. as Andy mentioned, I'm one of those hesitant to express my opinions

at the political level. My positions on social justice tool kits [genres]

such as discussions of "dominant" and "nondominant" genres is tentative. The

book Vygotsky in the 21st Century suggests the authors in that book are

taking an "outlier" position on CHAT genres. They are exploring the

interpsychological genres of CHAT.  They are engaging with themes of

dominant and nondominant genres and the constraints imposed by various tools

in the tool kit. I think my exploring "alterity" is exploring similar themes

and has its own biases, constraints, and blind spots.

Haydi, your thoughts have made me reflective on the larger issues I may be

neglecting in my exploring the interpsychological.




xmca mailing list


xmca mailing list