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Культурно-историческая психология

Издатель: Московский государственный психолого-педагогический университет

ISSN (печатная версия): 1816-5435

ISSN (online): 2224-8935

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/chp

Лицензия: CC BY-NC 4.0

Издается с 2005 года

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Motives, emotion, and change 1386

Дэниелс Г., PhD, профессор, научный сотрудник, факультет образования, колледж Грин Темплтон, Оксфорд, Великобритания, harry.daniels@education.ox.ac.uk
Полный текст

This chapter will explore some of the personal motivational implications of the process of moving from one situation to another. In the cultural historical phase of L. S. Vygotsky's writing he strove to understand the development of psychological functioning in relation to the situation in which that development was taking place. This view will be the point of departure for a consideration of the transformations that take place when a person moves from one institutional situation to another. I will discuss the ways in which institutions recontextualise societal motives and thus mediate an individual's engagement with the social world. When viewed from this perspective transitions between institutions may require engagement with new recontextualisations of societal motives.

Theorising the notion of situation and transition

In order to understand the implications of moving from one situation to another it is first necessary to consider the accounts that are in circulation about the psychological implications of the setting in which human activity is situated. This section of the chapter will thus provide an outline of theories of situatedeness before moving to discuss theories of transition from one situation to another.

Situatedness has been discussed in a variety of ways. As E. Bredo [8] notes situated cognition may be seen as «shifting the focus from individual in environment to individual and environment» [8] whereas theories of situated action and learning as J. Lave [34] notes are more concerned with the «everyday activity of persons acting in (a) setting» [34]. The latter's emphasis being on the study of «emergent, contingent nature of human activity, the way activity grows directly out of the particularities of a given situation».

Those who emphasize the situated character of learning often affirm that knowledge is situated or grounded in particular activities and social contexts. It emphasizes the socio-cultural nature of learning. However, there is a deeper interpretation of situated learning:

It is a theory about the nature of human knowledge, claiming that knowledge is dynamically constructed as we conceive of what is happening to us — especially, our conception of our activity within a social matrix shapes and constrains what we think, do, and say. That is, our action is situated in our role as a member of a community [11].

The interest of those who take this view of learning is in the interactions of the individual with the situation. The unit of analysis is thus the individual and the situation and not merely the mind of the individual.

As L. A. Suchman [55] points out the emphasis is on the often temporary and moment by moment activity that takes place in and with a particular situation. In her strong account of inseperability the notion of what counts as a «situation» becomes almost elusive given its ongoing reformulation. The calibration of «situation» is not only unachievable it is a task which is in commensurate with the fundamental assumption of the approach. Similarly, durability over time and persistence or even transfer across contexts are either discounted or not placed in a prioritised position in the researcher's analytic lens. To the extent that some models of situated action privilege the emergent and that which is improvised they consequently downplay a consideration of features, both of the situation and the person acting in the situation, which are routine and predictable. This is a strong interpretation and it should be noted that not all adherents of situated action take this position. L. A. Suchman [55], for example, appears to show more concern for routines of one type or another. J. G. Greeno [26; 27] posits the existence of common or recognisable patterns of participation in various sites as an explanation of transfer. Also with regard to situation specificity K. Beach [2] and J. S. Bowers [10] discuss a theoretical position which they use to explain instances of transfer in situated terms. K. Beach [3] argues against both a «within the head» and a simple «within the context» notions of transfer. He seeks to develop an account of the interweaving of mind and context over time and that human beings purposively cut transects across settings and shape and are shaped by them.

Any sociocultural reconceptualization of transfer should be true to the premise that underlies all sociocultural approaches to learning and development: that learners and social organizations exist in a recursive and mutually constitutive relation to one another across time [3].

The important common factor which links the writing of researchers such as L. A. Suchman [55] and J. Lave [34] amongst many others is that they take up a methodological stance which challenges the within person, insulated «in the head» that either ignores the situation or context in which it is enacted or down plays the understanding of situated action. L. A. Suchman, J. Lave, and others are directly challenging the insulated view of cognition that ignores these contextual factors. The social and individual are not connected in a mechanical manner by some device which acts much like the lead in an electronic system, as conduit of data from the outside to the inside nor are the person and the situation simply different levels of analysis. The mutual constitution of person and situation in an ongoing, emergent dialectical interplay of inseparable co-formation is posited. As J. Lave [35] notes:

«Situated» … implies that a given social practice is multiply interconnected with other aspects of ongoing social processes in activity systems at many levels of particularity and generality [35, p. 84].

These arguments have been promulgated by J. Lave and E. Wenger [37] in terms of situated learning or indeed by sociologists such as A. Giddens [21; 22; 23] who shares a phenomenological influence in theorizing human action which may be attributed to M. Heidegger [31]. The assumption is that much social action is pre-reflexive and embedded in the specificities of the local rhythms and routines of ongoing activity. The ongoing negotiation of meaning arises as a dialectal ricochet between the way in which the world is locally defined and the recreation of those definitions and understandings as personal meaning struggles with, acts upon and is shaped by collective understanding. This is witnessed in L. A. Suchman's [55] statement that «the organization of situated action is an emergent property of moment-by-moment interactions between actors, and between actors and the environments of their action». An account of situated learning posits learning as a social and cultural activity and success is not focused upon the cognitive attributes that individuals possess, but upon the ways in which those attributes play out in interaction with the world [9]. It is K. Sawyer [51] who develops a cautionary note on the unrealized methodological demands of such ontological and epistemological aspirations.

The struggle to articulate the notion of context or situation has been approached in a number of ways. J. Lave's [34] formulation, which flows from the argument sketched above is that the focus of research must be the relations between the individual and the context or situation. Early day research such as J. Lave, M. Murtaugh and O. de la Rocha [36]: had demonstrated the situation specific nature of «cognitive processes» in everyday situations. Consequently J. Lave argued for a focus on what people were actually doing in particular situation. This anthropologically driven demand still calls for definitions of what counts as context or situation. J. Lave's [34] answer is to distinguish between the stable institutional framework or «arena» in which activity takes place and the way in which that arena is acted upon by participants in that activity and thence becomes the «setting». This shows a marked difference from the approach adopted by S. Scribner and M. Cole [55] who acknowledged knowledge, skills and technologies as the components of practices in a formulation which appears to reveal a more avowedly cognitive background. From K. Sawyer's [51] point of view the cognitive essence of this work positions it as a methodological assumption of seperability. This early work which appears to be grounded in a psychological model has been replaced in a development from the social as context to a cultural historical account which argues for a much less seperable understanding of social and cultural influences from an understanding of individual functioning as in M. Cole [12] and S. Scribner [52].

As N. Minick [44] notes, by 1933, L. S. Vygotsky began to argue that the social situation of play was one in which imagination frees thought and meanings from the perceptual field. This was a reversal of his earlier emphasis on the power of speech to bring this about.

Thought is separated from the thing because a piece of wood begins to play the role of a doll, a stick becomes a horse; action according to rules begins to be defined from thought rather than things themselves… The child doesn't do this suddenly. To tear thought (word meaning) from the thing is a terribly difficult task for the child. Play is a transitional form. At the moment the stick (i.e., the thing) becomes a pivot for tearing the meaning from the real horse … one of the basic psychological structures that defines the child's relationship to reality is changed.

The child cannot yet tear the though from the thing. He must have a pivot in another thing…To think of the horse, he must define his action by this horse in the stick or pivot…I would say that in play the child operates in accordance with meaning that is torn from things but not torn from real actions with real objects…This is the transitional character of play. This is what makes it a middle link between the purely situational connectedness of early childhood and thinking that is removed from the real situation [58].

This central emphasis on the analysis of the social situation of development in connection with psychological development is reaffirmed throughout the writing which L. S. Vygotsky undertook in the last two years of his life. Arguably there are parallels with J. J. Gibson's [20] notion of affordances which are not properties of objects in isolation but of objects related to subjects in activity or putative activities. However this concept of affordance is open to many interpretations alongside what might be thought of as a post-Vygotskian version [1]. It should be noted that J. J. Gibson provides an account of person in the environment but does little to progress the analysis of psychological formation within that which is afforded. The latter is L. S. Vygotsky's distinctive contribution.

The social situation of development, which is specific to each age, determines strictly regularly the whole picture of the child's life or his social existence… Having elucidated the social situation of development that occurred before the beginning of any age, which was determined by the relations between the child and his environment we must immediately elucidate how, new formations proper to (characteristic of) the given age develop from the life of the child in this social [61].

This linkage between the social situation of development and psychological development pervades his analysis in these crucial final years of his life. Crucially it informed his understanding of «word meaning» a term which may too easily be interpreted as «meaning of the (single) word». In his hands word meaning becomes not only «a unity of thinking and speech» but also a «unity of generalisation and social interaction, a unity of thinking and communication» [59]. He asserts the importance for his method of this understanding in the following manner:

«... it reveals the true potential for a causal-genetic analysis of thinking and speech. Only when we learn to see the unity of generalisation and social interaction do we begin to understand the actual connection between the child's cognitive and social development. Our research is concerned with resolving both these fundamental problems, the problem of the relationship of though to word and the problem of the relationship of generalisation to social interaction» [59, p. 49].

The move that L. S. Vygotsky made during his work in psychology from the analytic unit of the instrumental act through to the psychological system and on to try and identify a unit compatible with his end of career thought on psychological systems in social situations of development was brought to an end at the point at which he just starting to reflect on another extension to his project. Where, in the past, he had posited a dialectical unity of thinking and speech he now moved to understand experience as the unity of personality and the environment as represented in development.

We have inadequately studied the internal relationship of the child to the people around him...We have recognized in words that we need to study the child's personality and environment as a unity. It is incorrect, however to represent this problem in such a way that on one side we have the influence of personality while on the other we have the influence of the environment. Though the problem is frequently represented in precisely this way, it is incorrect to represent the two as external forces acting on one another. In the attempt to study the unity, the two are initially torn apart. The attempt is then made to unite them [61, p. 292].

N. Minick et al [45] took this view and argued that the future of the Vygotskian tradition lay in acknowledging that the culturally specific nature of institutions demands close attention to the way in which they structure interactions between people and artifacts. They also move the debate into a closer consideration of the relation between cognitive and affective matters by suggesting that significant human interactions do not involve abstract bearers of cognitive structures but real people who develop a variety of interpersonal relationships with one another in the course of their shared activity in a given institutional context. This culminates in the suggestion that modes of thinking evolve as integral systems of motives, goals, values, and beliefs that are closely tied to concrete forms of social practice (after N. Minick et al [45]).

M. Yaroshevsky [62] also points to the importance of understanding the complex inseperable relationship between situation, motive, emotion and understanding in L. S. Vygotsky's work cultural historical work. He suggests that L. S. Vygotsky turned to K. S. Stanislavsky's concept of «understatement» for clarification of «sense» understood as the local interpretation of more general societal meanings.

«As K. S. Stanislavsky teaches us, underlying each line of a character's text in a drama is volition directed at achievement of certain volitional tasks — that is what understatement is — each line conceals volition or volitional task. It cannot be grasped from the meanings of these words themselves. It glimmers through the words, and can be understood if the motives of the behaviour of the speakers of those lines are known — sense denoted the individual's emotional experience of the tense motivational attitude to the world, created by the volitional task. The hidden meaning of an action, including the generation of a word, can only be grasped if one knows the context out of which this task grows and the purpose for which it is solved» [62, pp. 314—315].

It is suggested that, in this way, motives make actions meaningful in social situations. The motives that guide social action in situations are formative in the generation of meaning for the actor and the observer. Changing the social situation of action can bring change in motive which in turn transforms the meaning of actions that may, on first observation, appear identical. Taken alongside L. S. Vygotsky's desire to understand affect and cognition in a non dualist account there is a need to understand action, emotions and motive in human activity.

Activity, action, emotions and motive

The argument outlined above suggests the need for theories that forge a link between situations (and the actions and activities that take place within them), emotions and motives. In this section of the chapter an argument will be advanced for a cultural historical conception of motive which understands emotion and cognition in a non dualistic frame.

Through his formulation of «object-motive», A. N. Leontiev [39] presented the idea that human activities are always driven by an objective feature of the social world. This is not the same notion as that of «goal». As J. Lompscher notes:

While action theories usually view goals as a given fact, activity theory explores how goals come into being, what they depend on and, of course, how they function. As already explained, goals are derived from motives. They stimulate and determine the character and direction of an activity. In otherwords, motives generate goals for actions necessary for reaching the desired result. One of the function of goals consists of anticipating results and thus determining the way towards the result. Goals directing the action which is in turn part of a motivated activity. Motives are superordinated in relation to goals [41].

A. N. Leontiev [39] provides examples of how motives can «shift» onto goals and how social meanings are re-worked into personal senses — both accounts are indicative of his attempts, not always consistent and perhaps therefore often misunderstood, to overcome the dualism of social and individual levels [54].

A. N. Leontiev saw operations as the external method used by individuals to achieve goals [24]. Automatic operations are driven by the conditions and tools available to the action, that is then prevailing circumstances. Y. Engestrom [16] argued that motive can be collective but that goals are individual and he explored the idea of partial and overall goals. The shifting and developing object of an activity is related to a motive which drives it. Individual (or group) action is driven by a conscious goal. Although actions are aroused by the motive of the activity, they seem to be directed towards a goal … the one and the same action can serve different activities [39].

«apart from its (the action's) intentional aspects (what must be dome) the action has its operational aspect (how it can be done), which is defined not by the goal itself, but by the objective circumstances under which it is carried out … I shall label the means by which an action is carried out its operations» [40, p. 63].

A. N. Leontiev illustrates his proposed structure of activity with well known examples of the activity of hunting in which to understand why separate actions are meaningful one needs to understand the motive behind the whole activity [40] and of learning to drive a car that illustrates the movement from one level of the structure of an activity to another as actions become automatic operations such as in gear changing when learning to drive [39].

A. N. Leontiev's [39] distinction between the concepts of «activity» and «action» were underdeveloped by L. S. Vygotsky and as W. M. Roth [48] and P. Hakkarainen [29] note, this still constitutes a challenge for many researchers and it becomes a marker between different traditions within activity theory.

A classical dispute regarding A. N. Leontiev's theoretical model involves the origin of needs in human activity. It has been easier to carry out technological analyses of activity and construct goal-directed processes aimed at end products than to analyze the revealing motivational dynamics of human activity. This technological analysis A. N. Leontiev called action-level analysis. He defined the second type of analysis as being at the level of sense. The main role in this analysis is played by motivation and its relation to the goals of the participants in an activity. The problem is that the same process can be an activity for one participant and an action for another depending on motivation and goals [29, p. 5].

For Y. Engestrom [15], activity is a collective, systemic formation that has a complex mediational structure. An activity system produces actions and is realised by means of actions. However, activity is not reducible to actions. Actions are relatively short-lived and have a temporally clear-cut beginning and end. Activity systems evolve over lengthy periods of socio-historical time, often taking the form of institutions and organisations. This explanation has been slightly nuanced by W. M. Roth [48] who draws attention to the way in which activity as a whole «mediates the sense of the actions that realize goals»:

Goals, however, which are realized in and through actions, constitute a different level of analysis, subordinate to that of activity. However, goals are bound rather than free because they stand in a mutually constitutive (i.e., dialectical) relationship with the motives that drive activities: Goals realize motives, but motives give rise to goals, each presupposing the other. The activity as a whole therefore mediates the sense of the actions that realize goals. Actions are not the outcome of subjectivist singularity but rather, because they realize collective activity, inherently are shared and intelligible: An «action has a double significance not only because it is directed against itself as well as against thee other, but also because it is indivisibly the action of one as well as of the other» [30, p. 112; 48, p. 145].

A. N. Leontiev distinguished between the material objective and affective motives of activity, seeing the objective purpose as translating motive into a physical act, transforming the internal plane to the external world and driving activity through the formation of goals. After G. W. F. Hegel, he maintained that goals are determined in the course of activity [16]. Y. Engestrom [17] notes a dual function in that an object can give coherence and continuity to the activity but by virtue of its societal and historical nature it is also internally contradictory and thus a source of instability.

The object is a heterogeneous and internally contradictory, yet enduring, constantly reproduced purpose of a collective activity system that motivates and defines the horizon of possible goals and actions [17, p. 17].

Although the emphasis on emotion in L. S. Vygotsky's original writing has, arguably, been somewhat underplayed in current interpretations of the work, the non dualist account of motive is of importance here. J. Lompscher [42] clarifies the way in which the cultural historical conception of motive reveals a monistic orientation.

Objects which an individual represents cognitively and which satisfy a certain need therefore become emotionally significant for the individual. As such they become the real motive of a concrete goal-oriented, object-determined activity. In this sense, motives represent a unity of cognition and emotion [42, p. 79].

If this position is adopted there is a need to understand the relation between activity, social situation and the formation of motives.

Activity, situation and motive

In this section of the chapter a theory of the way in which activities may be transformed as they are taken up and enacted in different social situations and as a consequence of this process of transformation motives are also transformed.

M. Cole's work on the after school educational programme which he has named the Fifth Dimension has been implemented at several sites in the U. S. A. [13]. Its implementation and development witnesses considerable cross site variation.

«The culture of the site, understood as a collective reality — as an activity system — is thus the key explanatory factor in accounting for the different patterns of generation and accumulation of knowledge bound up with a particular activity: The same task-activity evolves differently and comes to be imbued with different meaning within two different sociocultural contexts» [46, p. 306].

Thus sociocultural differences between contexts for learning require investigation. Different sociocultural contexts may evoke different balances in priority. This issue was explored by R. Rueda and H. Mehan [49] who sought to understand the ways in which the performance of students with learning disabilities varied as a function of instructional context.

«The situational variability in performance seems to arise because students with learning disabilities are working on two tasks at once: managing their identities and managing an intellectual task. The employ strategies directed at avoiding the task presented to them and managing the situation so as to appear competent… In negotiating a tarnished identify, as well as when attempting to solve a memory tasks, one makes strategic choices among course of action, contemplates the nature of the problem to be solved, considers the potential for the success of any given strategy, and monitors and adjust strategic behavour based on the contextual information available» [49, pp. 158—159].

A. Nicolopoulou and M. Cole [46] suggest that the set of tools that are to be found in sociology offer a way forward in studying such sociocultural differences. The challenge lies in the ways in which the tools and accounts of post Vygotskian psychology can be brought into productive interplay with an appropriate form of sociology.

«We will end on a more general theoretical note. Several writers have recently suggested that developmental psychology should draw on sociology to extend and enrich its understanding of individual development» [46, p. 311].

There is a need to understand how practices are taken up and transformed in particular situations. A. Kozulin [33] discussed relational changes in the child's position in relation to knowledge on entering school. He offers the example of changes in social relation from son/ daughter / playmate to pupil / student. He links this change in social relationship to activities such as problem solving. In the everyday situations, problems may be solved to achieve certain results whereas in school they may be solved in order to enhance the power of specific cognitive tools. L. S. Vygotsky discussed this difference in terms of the shift in position from communicating with words to communicating about words. B. Bernstein [6] takes this issue much further in his discussion of recontextualisation. His approach allows for a theoretical description and analysis of the ways in which knowledge in recontextualised within the school and, importantly, the possibilities for learner positions within specific forms of pedagogic practice. Much of the early Russian work does do not take account of such socio-institutional differences between institutions such as schools.

Motive and situation: the process of recontextualisation

In this section of the chapter a theory of B. Bernstein's theory of recontextualisation will be introduced and discussed as a means of understanding the way in which motives may be transformed as social situations are changed in different institutional settings. For B. Bernstein, institutional discourse is produced through three main fields, which are hierarchically related: the fields of production, recontextualisation and reproduction. New specialised and complex forms of knowledge are produced in certain institutions, such as universities and research institutes (the field of production). Specialised knowledge has to be interpreted and turned into pedagogical knowledge to be accessible and appropriate for the very different institutional context of schooling. This involves selection from existing forms of knowledge, and converting it for use in a very different institutional setting from that in which it was formed. This «recontextualising» work has traditionally been carried out by a different group of knowledge workers, found in government departments of education, curriculum bodies, teacher education institutions, education journals, and by media gurus on education (the field of recontextualisation). Reproduction, the teaching of these recontextualised forms of knowledge, takes place in yet another social context and community of practice, that found within schools, colleges, and universities (the field of reproduction). As B. Bernstein explains in the case of schools: «Pedagogic discourse is a principle for appropriating other discourses and bringing them into a special relation with each other for the purposes of their selective transmission and acquisition» [4, p. 183—184].

B. Bernstein outlines his understanding of the pedagogic device which he posits as a set of rules and procedures which shape official pedagogic discourse, producing a curriculum and converting knowledge into classroom talk (Singh, 2002: 571). This, in turn, impacts the identities and practice of both teachers (and how they acquire and transmit knowledge which has been produced elsewhere) and pupils. He elaborates on the structure of the pedagogic device, stating that it:

provides the intrinsic grammar of pedagogic discourse through distributive rules, recontextualization rules, and rules of evaluation. These rules are themselves hierarchically related in the sense that the nature of the distributive rules regulates the nature of the recontextualizing rules, which in turn regulate the rules of evaluation. These distributive rules regulate the fundamental relation between power, social groups, forms of consciousness and practice, and their reproductions and productions. The recontextualizing rules regulate the constitution of specific pedagogic discourse. The rules of evaluation are constituted in pedagogic practice. The pedagogic device generates a symbolic ruler of consciousness [4, p.180].

B. Bernstein [5] argues that much of the work that has followed in the wake of L. S. Vygotsky does not include in its description how the discourse itself is constituted and recontextualised. Within institutions motives, goals, emotions and ways of thinking are recontextualised. Moving from one institution to another involves realignment and adjustment to recontextualised object motives.

Changing situations

Activity systems do not exist in isolation they are embedded in networks which witness constant fluctuation and change. Activity Theory needs to develop tools for analyzing and transforming networks of culturally heterogeneous activities through dialogue and debate [19]. B. Bernstein's work has not placed particular emphasis on the study of change [7]. Activity could provide the tools with which to understand dialogues, multiple perspectives on change within networks of interacting activity systems all of which are underdeveloped in B. Bernstein. The idea of networks of activity within which contradictions and struggles take place in the definition of the motives and object of the activity calls for an analysis of power and control within and between developing activity systems. The latter is the point at which B. Bernstein's emphasis on different layers and dimensions of power and control becomes key to the development of the theory.

J. Lemke [38] suggests that it is not only the context of the situation that is relevant but also the context of culture when an analysis of meaning is undertaken. He suggests that «we interpret a text, or a situation, in part by connecting it to other texts and situations which our community , or our individual history, has made us see as relevant to the meaning of the present one» [38, p. 50]. This use of notions of intertextuality, of networked activities, or network of connections provides J. Lemke with tools for the creation of an account ecosocial systems which transcend immediate contexts. Y. Engestrom and R. Miettinen recognise the strengths and limitations of this position. They imply they a need for an analysis of the way in which networks of activities are structured — ultimately for an analysis of power and control.

Various microsociologies have produced eye-opening works that uncover the local, idiosyncratic, and contingent nature of action, interaction, and knowledge. Empirical studies of concrete, situated practices can uncover the local pattern of activity and the cultural specificity of thought, speech and discourse. Yet these microstudies tend to have little connection to macrotheories of social institutions and the structure of society. Various approaches to analysis of social networks may be seen as attempts to bridge the gap. However, a single network, though interconnected with a number of other networks, typically still in no way represents any general or lawful development in society [19, p .8].

A. N. Leontiev [40] explored this issue from the perspective of development though time. He suggested that in the study of human ontogeny, one must take account of the ordering of categories of activity that corresponds to broad stages of mental development. According to A. N. Leontiev:

«In studying the development of the child's psyche, we must therefore start by analyzing the child's activity, as this activity is built up in the concrete conditions of its life... Life or activity as a whole is not built up mechanically, however, from separate types of activity. Some types of activity are the leading ones at a given stage and are of greatest significance for the individual's subsequent development, and other are less important. We can say accordingly, that each stage of psychic development is characterized by a definite relation of the child to reality that is the leading one at that stage and by a definite, leading type of activity» [40, p. 395].

This analysis of development in terms of stages characterised in terms of particular dominant activities is often associated with the work of D. B. Elkonin. In the terms of contemporary AT this account is one of progressive transformation of the object through time. This could be termed a horizontal analysis.

«when we speak of the dominant activity and its significance for a child's development in this or that period, this is by no means meant to imply that the child might not be simultaneously developing in other directions as well. In each period, a child's life is many-sided, the activities of which his life is composed are varied. New sorts of activity appear; the child forms new relations with his surroundings. When a new activity becomes dominant, it does not cancel all previously existing activities: it merely alters their status within the overall system of relations between the child and his surroundings, which thereby become increasingly richer» [14, p. 247].

P. Griffin and M. Cole [28] noted that in the course of a single session of an after school activity designed for 7—11 year olds, there could be fluctuations in what activity seemed to be «leading». This could be termed a situated analysis. In figure 1 an analysis of a particular moment in time (A or B or C) would consider the network of activity systems in which subjects were located and seek to discern the shifts in dominance that take place in short periods of real time in particular context. For example at time A activity 1A assumes dominance whereas at time B activity 2B is represented as dominant or leading. This analysis could be pursued through the application of B. Bernstein's model to several activity and systems (rather than the one to which is usually referenced) and also seek to apply his analysis of power and control to the emergence of dominance (1A vs 2A vs 3A). This situated analysis would combine the strengths of AT with its emphasis on networks of activity and the formation of objects of activity with the analytical power and descriptive elegance of B. Bernstein's work. The implications of different social positions would have to taken into account as would the recognition that activity systems may be invoked in the absence of the physical presence of all the actors involved [58]. The analysis is thus one in which the relational interdependence of individual and social agencies is recognised. The historical analysis would focus on the transformation of dominance through time.

Figure 1. Dominance in Networks of Activity Systems through Time

The historical background of much of what is now termed Activity Theory posits «networks» of activity systems in which dominance arises at particular moments in both long and short term periods of time. Commas have been placed inverted around the word network because of the wish to signify a resistance to the notion of network as a connected system within which component parts share some function. Here concern is with the existence of multiple activity systems which may supplant each other and may be mutually transformed. By way of illustration I offer this rather crude example: suppose a person is both a care giver to their own child as well as a professional teacher. If that teacher has a need to collect their child from a nursery at the end of the school day then the way that might respond to class disruption close to the final bell of the day may be very different to the way in which they might respond earlier in the day. Here two activity systems assume a different relationship to one another at particular times of the day. These pulsations in dominance are rarely subjected to rigorous empirical scrutiny. Some of the empirical work which proclaims a CHAT orientation seems to constrain its analysis to one activity system let alone a network of activity systems and rarely strays into the analysis of shifts in dominance. Taken together the implications of the work of P. Griffin and M. Cole, J. Lemke, A. N. Leontiev and D. B. Elkonin suggests that such an analysis should be deployed both at the levels of long term ontogenesis as well short or even micro analysis. A. Makitalo and R. Saljo [43] argue that it is through the analysis of categories that «people draw on the past to make their talk relevant to the accomplishment of interaction within specific traditions of argumentation'» [43, p. 75]. They note, along with H. Sacks [50], that categories are activity bound and that their use is inextricably bound up with a particular interactional and moral order [32]. Such analyses would share the concern to explore the way in which subjects are shaped by fluctuating patterns of dominance from the perspective of those actors. However the emergence of categories is not explored in relation to the principles of regulation of the social setting in which they emerge. There may be some benefit in pursuing the B. Bernsteinian perspective in the context of the analysis of fluctuating patterns of dominance within networks of activity systems within this framework but from the point of view of the pathway of the objectmotive through networks of activity.

Units of analysis

The need to capture the complexity of the implications of changing social situations for object / motives, emotions and the generation of meaning brings challenges for the formulation of the unit of analysis in research. R. Van der Veer [56] notes that in the last year of his life L. S. Vygotsky turned his attention to this new unit of analysis which is Russian is termed perezhivanie.

L. S. Vygotsky understood perezhivanie as the integration of cognitive and affective elements, which always presupposes the presence of emotions. L. S. Vygotsky used this concept in order to emphasize the wholeness of the psychological development of children, integrating external and internal elements at each stage of development.

According to L. I. Bozhovich, for a short period of time L. S. Vygotsky considered perezhivanie as the «unity» of psychological development in the study of the social situation of development [25].

This concept, which featured in N. Minick's [44] account of the stages of development of units of analysis as «experience», may be more accurately equated with lived or emotional experience.

«The emotional experience (perezhivanie) arising from any situation or from any aspect of his environment, determines what kind of influence this situation or this environment will have on the child. Therefore, it is not any of the factors themselves (if taken without the reference of the child) which determines how they will influence the future course of his development, but the same factors refracted through the prism of the child's emotional experience» [60, pp. 339].

L. S. Vygotsky understood perezhivanie as the integration of cognitive and affective elements, which always presupposes the presence of emotions. L. S. Vygotsky used this concept in order to emphasize the wholeness of the psychological development of children, integrating external and internal elements at each stage of development... According to L. I. Bozhovich, for a short period of time L. S. Vygotsky considered perezhivanie as the «unity» of psychological development in the study of the social situation of development [25, p. 136].

This idea of refraction «through the prism of the child's emotional experience» has been largely ignored in the development of post L. S. Vygotskian theory. The original L. S. Vygotskian conjecture was subsequently reworked in the writing of F. Vasilyuk [57] when he introduced the notion of experiencing defined as a particular form of activity directed towards the restoration of meaning in life. He contrasted his activity theory based understanding with that of a reflection of a state in the subject's consciousness and with forms of contemplation. In the following statement C. Ratner [47] in his introduction to the key text [61] provides a clarification of the dialectical process which L. S. Vygotsky had in mind.

The experience one has depends upon the perceptions, emotions, ideals, and imagination which mediate an encounter with the physical or social world. Yet these mediations are all internalized from social relations. Social life is not experienced immediately — anew at each moment — but rather is mediated by psychological functions which have been socialized through previous social encounters. Social life works on us from the outside but also from the inside in the form of higher psychological phenomena. This is why Vygotsky concludes that the researcher must make «a penetrating internal analysis of the experiences of the child, that is, a study of the environment which is transferred to a significant degree to within the child himself and is not reduced to a study of the external circumstances of his life» [47].

On reading the following quote from L. S. Vygotsky [61] one is again reminded of the similarity that J. J. Gibson's [20] notion shows with this understanding of experience but also of the limitations of the latter's position when seen in the broader light of cultural historical theory.

Experience has a biosocial orientation; it is what lies between the personality and the environment that defines the relation of the personality to the environment, that shows what a given factor of the environment is for the personality. Experience is determining from the point of view of how one environmental factor or another affects the child's development. This, in any case, is confirmed at every step in the teaching on difficult childhood. Any analysis of a difficult child shows that what is essential is not the situation in itself taken in its absolute indicators, but how the child experiences the situation. In one and the same family, in one family situation, we find different changes in development in different children because different children experience one and the same situation differently. [61, p. 294].


L. S. Vygotsky and his coworkers, notably A. N. Leontiev, gave rise to the inception of a tradition in which an understanding of the societal formation of motives was central to an overall thesis of the cultural historical formation of mind. A weak point in this work has been with respect to the way in which specific institutions mediate societal motives, how they stand between society and the person. Although present in the latter stages of L. S. Vygotsky's writing relatively little attention has been paid to the development of a non dualist account of cognitive and affective features of human functioning and these relate to the ways in which motives and goals arise in particular situations. When processes of institutional recontextualisation are understood alongside such non dualist accounts of functioning then perhaps we will understand more about the personal challenges of moving from one situation to another.

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