Proximal Processes:

Proximal processes refer to sustained interactions between a developing organism and the persons, symbols, and activities in its immediate environment.  To be effective, these processes must become progressively more complex and interactive over time.

Bildung.  The Enlightenment as a cultural-historical developmental leap (the Symbolic Order of Progressivism)
Urie Bronfenbrenner's Bioecological Model Of Development (WIKI))
Proximal processes are at the heart of figure 1 and figures 4 a and b.  The concept of proximal processes represents an invaluable further advance in our understanding of the development of situated organisms (not Cartesian selves), and a further development of the thinking associated with Vygotsky (ZPD: Zone of Proximal Development).  The excerpt from Ceci (On Intelligence) provides a conceptual framework for interpreting a variety of texts, interviews, videos, etc. wherein can be seen these very processes unfolding.  The article by Bruner is included because there is a tendency among my Vygotskian associates to see Piaget as somehow antithetical to Vygotsky.  Bruner provides a necessary corrective.  Genovese and Orton show how useful Piaget’s work remains, despite the justified criticism of its ahistorical, Cartesian character.

Franzos (“Schiller in Barnow”) and Munro (“Family Furnishings”) are works of fiction.  In "Schiller in Barnow" Franzos shows "how, in the spirit of Enlightenment universalism, a love of Schiller brings together members of three oppressed groups: the Jew Israel Meisels, the unhappy monk Fransiscus (a victim of clerical tyranny), and the Ruthenain schoolmaster Basil Woyczuk.  Their favourite Schiller text, appropriately, is the 'Ode to Joy' . . . with its appeal to all humanity to join in an embrace." Intro, p, 111  Alcorn's Narcissism and the Literary Libido is an incredible study that takes us into the heart of Figure 1, Bildungsproletarians and Plebeian Upstarts.  Schiller Hall in Detroit should be viewed as a radical salon. 

Munro, on the other hand,  provides a portait of a deadly, stultifying existential domain (the dinner table).  There are millions of such deadly proximal zones, where the potential for cogntive development is crushed.  The Sunderland and Johnson videos provide isights into two such Proximal zones:


Something is happening to cognitive performativity (which always includes the arenas and purposes of such performativity, as well as context
ff and audience) more broadly in the United States.  It is not just Donald Trump who talks like a fourth-grader.


Proximal Processes

Stephen J. Ceci,
On Intelligence: A Bioecological Treatise on Intellectual Development (Harvard, 1996)

 . . . it is time to ask about the nature of the resources responsible for intellectual growth.  . . . .  In a recent article Uri Bronfenbrenner and I proposed specific mechanisms of organism-environment interaction, called proximal processes, through which genetic potentials for intelligence are actualized.  We described research evidence from a variety of sources demonstrating that proximal processes operate in a variety of settings throughout the life-course (beginning in the family and continuing in child-care settings, peer groups, schools, and work places), and account for more of the variation in intellectual outcome than the environmental contexts (e.g., family structure, SES, culture) in which these proximal processes take place.  Proximal processes refer to sustained interactions between a developing organism and the persons, symbols, and activities in its immediate environment.  To be effective, these processes must become progressively more complex and interactive over time." 244-5

Jerome Bruner (1997), "Celebrating Divergence: Piaget and Vygotsky," Human Development, 40(2), 63–73.

Jeremy E. C. Genovese, "Piaget, Pedagogy, and Evolutionary Psychology" (Evolutionary Psychology, Volume 1, 2003)

from Anthony Orton, Learning Mathematics: Issues, Theory, and Classroom Practice (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004)

Nevertheless, the terminology 'concrete operations', 'formal operations', is still apparently found to be useful by those reporting on empirical research, and by many who write about child development and curriculum reform.  p.68

Marshall W. Alcorn, Jr., Narcissism and the Literary Libido: Rhetoric, Text, and Subjectivity (New York University Press, 1994)

interview of Saul Wellman (CP Flint), Ciff Williams by Peter Friedlander

 Reginald Zelnick, Workers and Intelligentsia in Late Imperial Russia (University of California Press, 1999)

John Dupré, "Causality and Human Nature in the Social Sciences," in Processes of Life: Essays in the Philosophy of Biology (Oxford, 2012)

Garrison to Frankfurter (Allis-Chalmers)

Interview of Cliff Williams

S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge University Press, 2008)

Mark von Hagen, Soldiers in the Proletarian Dictatorship:the Red Army and the Soviet Socialist State, 1917-1930 (Cornell, 1990)

from the Ed Lock (CP, UAW Local 600) interview
from the Ed Lock (CP, UAW Local 600) interview:

I was very active in MESA --- Ford in USSR  petered out in March of 1933, and I was laid off.  Several months later I found employment in a job shop as a milling machine operator.  I got signed up in the MESA, that was a unionized plant. The  job didn't last long.  

In that period I would hang out at the MESA hall, Schiller Hall on Gratiot Ave. . .  It was very much a Left hall.  I became very interested in union . . .  I was very young, 20 yrs old.  My father was AFL, a ship carpenter, but I didn't assimilate much from him.  But I became very interested in the MESA, and one of the characteristics of the time was that largeh numbers of radicals of all descriptions IWW, Communist, Socialist . . . would come to this hall, and we would sort of sit around and have big bull discussions with the old timers from the IWW and the Communists and whoever was there . . .  We would all participate in these discussions, each of them would bring their literature round . . . I got involved so to speak, I was unemployed, but I would still go because I found these meetings fascinating, and I would participate in the distribution of leaflets.

I would go out with some of the leaders, and go with John Anderson or John Mack, who was a leader at that time.  I went to--not so often to Fords--but I went to the Cadillac plant, Ternstedt, places like this, and GM, and would distribute organizational . . . I got involved in the Detroit Stoveworks strike . . .  The MESA had undertaken the organization there and had a bitter strike there.  A matter of fact I had guns put in my ribs in this strike threatening to kill us.  But this was part of my education in the trade union movement.

Rita Johnson

Janice Sunderland

Alice Munro, "Family Furnishings," in Family Furnishings: Selected Stories, 1995-2014 (Knopf, 2014)
from the Saul Wellman interview:
On Becoming Communist: Flint, Michigan circa late 1940s
Wellman: Flint is what I consider to be the asshole of the world; it's the roughest place to be.  Now we recruited dozens of people to the Party in Flint, and they came out of indigenous folk.  And those are the best ones.  But we couldn't keep them in Flint very long, once they joined the Party.  Because once they came to the Party a whole new world opened up.  New cultural concepts, new people, new ideas.  And they were like a sponge, you know.  And Flint couldn't give it to them.  The only thing that Flint could give you was whorehouses and bowling alleys, you see.  So they would sneak down here to Detroit on weekends--Saturday and Sunday--where they might see a Russian film or they might . . .  hear their first opera in their lives or a symphony or talk to people that they never met with in their lives.

Friedlander:  to me that's one of the most significant processes of people becoming radicals, is this . . .

SW: but you lose them in their area . . .

PF: right.  You lose them, but I think something is going on there that I think radicals have not understood about their own movement . . .

SW: right . . .

PF: something about the urge toward self improvement . . .

SW: right . . .

and cultural advancement . . .

SW: right, right . . .

PF: and not to remain an unskilled worker in the asshole of the world . . .

SW: right, right.  But there are two things going on at the same time.  The movement is losing something when a native indigenous force leaves his community.  On the other hand the reality of joining a movement of this type is that the guy who is in the indigenous area looks around and says this is idiocy, I can't survive here.

Karl Emil Franzos, "Schiller in Barnow" (1876), in The German Jewish Dialogue: An Anthology of Literary Texts, 1749-1993, Ritchie Robertson, ed. (Oxford University Press, 1999)

from the Joe Adams interview re. militant secularism: all these guys, reuther (later visiting churches)
Karl Emil Franzos, "Schiller in Barnow" (1876), in The German Jewish Dialogue: An Anthology of Literary Texts, 1749-1993, Ritchie Robertson, ed. (Oxford University Press, 1999)
Mercer L. Sullivan, "Getting paid": youth crime and work in the inner city (Cornell Univesity Press, 1989)

Carl Husemoller Nightingale, On the edge: a history of poor black children and their American dreams  (Basic Books, 1993)

Zena Smith Blau, Black children/white children: competence, socialization, and social structure (Free Press, 1981)

Jack Katz, Seductions of Crime (Basic Books, 1988) (classroom episode)

Bildung 2020
bildungs proletarian(s) and plebian upstarts in Michigan Steel Tube (UAW Local 238)