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Re: [xmca] Activity and interpsychological aspects of CHAT

Sure, there is a relational turn in psychoanalysis, and Donald Winnicott's "transitional object" explicitly introduces mediation, but to me, these are a bit like horse drawn carriages, if you get my meaning.


Larry Purss wrote:
Hi Andy
I want to give a concrete idea of mediation in contrast to billiard balls [from psycoanalysis] Freud was commited to a "scientific" billiard ball version of psychology. His ediface was HIS having discovered THE truth with a topological map of id ego and superego. He was totally invested in this particular "genre" or "text" and took the position of being an "expert" [having knowledge OF] that he USED to GIVE insight to others [in the form of the genre. Ferenzci, who is often seen as a source of the "relational" turn in psychoanalysis, in contrast had a different relationship TO psychoanalysis [as a genre]. He saw the person [client] and the [genre] in mutual relationship and he was in a position to "mediate" between the genre or text and the person. A mediational triangle [2 person and one genre] You can imagine the tensions that were generated between Freud and Ferenzci with this different relationship to "truth" and "mediation" My question is if there are various relations that can be operationalized in relation to dialectical materialism as "truth" or as a "genre" with a developmental/historical geneology? Mike C. mentioned he believes we are currently re-collecting the various genres or texts that were previously played out in the last few centuries. I agree, and we loose sight of the historical sources of these contrasting genres [that were formed within particular social organizations] We can start with the genres or we can start with the social organization or we start with the way persons mediate between the social relations & genres [spaces of ????] Mediation as KNOWLEDGEABILITY [in contrast to knowledge] Larry

On Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 11:54 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net <mailto:ablunden@mira.net>> wrote:

    Haydi, when the Frankfurt School began in 1923, and set up their
    "Communist University," their aim was to have all the different
    disciplines working together, in particular philosophers,
    sociologists and psychologists. Things in Germany didn't work out
    so well, and that program never really got going. Having
    philosophers and sociologists and psychologists appropriating each
    others' work remained a goal though. However, the Frankfurters
    were philosophers, and never got beyond Freud and Mead in
    psychology. The current generation of Critical Theorists are
    absorbed in using scraps of Mead and Freud together with a
    Hegel-without-mediation (build on the master-servant relation). As
    a result, they see social life as a kind of billiard table, just
    like liberals do, and in fact Habermas is now in 100% agreement
    with John Rawls.

    Hegel and Vygotsky have in common many things but in particular
    they share an understanding of the importance of mediation. It is
    mediation which provides mechanism of how social theory can and
    must be based in psychology and vice versa. But the thing is that
    it is not enough to operate with generalisations like this. The
    original program of the Frankfurt School mean that critical theory
    has to draw on the /real practical and empirical knowledge of
    psychologists/, not just specualtive theory. So it is vitally
    important for us who are interested in social change, politics and
    revolution to listen to what the real, hand-on, practical, working
    psychologists are talking about.



    Haydi Zulfei wrote:

        Andy ! Thank you for the short lead . Flattering aside , I've
        always seen you do your best to put things on right track if
        deviated . This way principles are secured rather than
        compromised . I do know I need more and more readings .
        However , one at times feels we're moving along two extremes .
        However , I'm almost known to your investigation of "project"
        . I'm sure others , too , are expecting more to come .

        *From:* Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net
        *To:* "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
        *Sent:* Tuesday, 11 October 2011, 3:45:25
        *Subject:* Re: [xmca] Activity and interpsychological aspects
        of CHAT

        Hajdi, I will limit my comments to why I praise Vygotsky as a
        great Marxist, and at the same time I claim that my main
        interest is in social
        change, and not learning or psychological problems as such.

        It is true that Vygotsky never ventured into the domain of
        social theory
        as such. I think the problems facing anyone wanting to do that in
        Stalin's USSR were very great, whether they were loyal to the
        Party or
        not. But he laid the foundations. He showed how consciousness
        is formed
        in a person's interactions. The wider society participates
        directly in
        an individual's interactions because we must use products of
        the culture
        in everything we do, we do not invent a language when we meet
        we use the existing language, and everything else the culture
        Vygotsky lacked one thing, in my view, that is the source of
        for actions, which, as AN Leontyev correctly showed, lies in the
        activity of which our action is a part. But in following ANL
        in studying
        activities, I prefer to retain the methodological core of
        work (which ANL did not, in my view) and take the activity as
        a unit of
        analysis. This is of course exactly what ANL claimed to have
        but I think he did not really understand this concept of unit of
        analysis, and his analysis suffered from problems as a result.
        set out to address these problems. Some of them he resolved,
        but I think
        in other ways, he moved further away from a solution. These
        are all open
        questions. But my aim is to reconstruct an Activity Theory
        which is more
        true to the foundations laid by Vygotsky. The purpose of such an
        activity theory is to fight capitalism and make a better
        world, that's all.



        Haydi Zulfei wrote:
        > ________________________________
        > From: Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com
        <mailto:lpscholar2@gmail.com> <mailto:lpscholar2@gmail.com
        > To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu
        <mailto:xmca@weber.ucsd.edu> <mailto: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
        > CHAT.
        > **1.
        > 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
        > 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
        > 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 :
        > 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 .
        > Cheers
        > Haydi
        > 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
        > 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
        > Different tools lead to different accounts.
        > The question of how we come to share collective memories of
        > experiences at the interpsychological and activity levels
        BUT also how we
        > incorporate "active experience" as RUPTURING experiences of
        > 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.
        > Larry
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-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        *Andy Blunden*
        Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1
        Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
        <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/> <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
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-- ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    *Andy Blunden*
    Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1
    Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
    Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857

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*Andy Blunden*
Joint Editor MCA: http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/18/1
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/
Book: http://www.brill.nl/default.aspx?partid=227&pid=34857

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