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The Vygotsky Reader

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... The benefits of this road had already been mentioned in studies carried out by the Soviet psychologist Vygotsky at the beginning of the twentieth century. According to Vygotsky (1987), the use of signs (and especially verbal language) transforms and organizes actions towards potential developmental trajectories (Cole and Wertsch 1996;Van der Veer and Valsiner 1994). According to Vygotsky, signs are mediators between individuals and their environment and can be powerful catalysts for potentiality and development (Cole and Wertsch 1996;De Luca Picione and Freda 2014). ...
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The sense of agency is an ongoing process of semiotic construction of the action starting from the affective, cognitive, intersubjective and cultural matrix of experience. A person narratively constructs the sense of her agentive experience and in doing so does not refer exclusively to the “what”, but also to the “how”. There is always a specific “modus” to experience one’s own action. We present the psychological notion of the Modal Articulation Process (MAP), namely the way through which a person orients and configures in a contextual frame the sense of her actions by means of modal operators of necessity, possibility, impossibility, contingency, but also knowledge, will, capability, constrain and opportunity. The notion of Modal Articulation Process is proposed as a semiotic, dynamic and recursive process that articulates narratively many aspects of the agency: the relational positionings and the way of experiencing them, the constraints and the resources present in the socio-symbolic context, the inherent temporality of every human phenomenon. Although the study of modal operators has an ancient and solid tradition of research in the fields of modal logics, analytical philosophy and narrative semiotic disciplines as well, yet in the field of the psychological sciences - except for a few authoritative isolated cases (Kurt Lewin, Rom Harrè, Jaan Valsiner) - there is not a great deal of attention on the relevance of these symbolic devices and their function in constructing the sense of action in a narrative way. Indeed modal articulation processes are at stake both during daily common routines and during exceptional turning point experiences that request a reconfiguration of the sense of one’s own agency (e.g. the experiences of illness demand a new modal re-articulation). Our discussion is aimed at deepening and developing the notion of modal articulation, its functions and its specificities.
... Vygotsky is widely acknowledged today as one of the founding fathers of sociocultural psychology (see Valsiner & van der Veer, 2000). His legacy within psychology and education has been extensive, particularly in the areas of language development, symbolic mediation of activity, play, and the psychology of art (Vygotsky, 1971(Vygotsky, , 1997Van der Veer & Valsiner, 1994). Few know, however, that Vygotsky also made important contributions to the areas of imagination and creativity, particularly in two of his texts: "Imagination and Creativity in Childhood" and "Imagination and Creativity in the Adolescent" , originally published in the 1930s. ...
Chapter
Although children are born in a world of already established cultural practices and social representations, the appropriation and internalization of culture are not tasks of reproduction but of imaginative construction. The cultural development of the child offers an empirical opportunity to examine the role of the imagination in the practices by which human children enter culture. This chapter focuses on three such practices-care, play, and storytelling-to observe the imagination at work. By imagining the world both as what it is and as different from the way it is, the authors show that children's imaginative engagement guides the microgenesis of cognition and macroprocesses of cultural development, and it establishes the freedom to create as a key process in the realization of self and society.
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Este artículo discute la relevancia de la Teoría de la subjetividad y la Epistemolo-gía Cualitativa de González Rey para avanzar hacia una psicología cultural-histó-rica que articule investigación y prácticas profesionales en el cuidado de la saludmental. El trabajo expone los resultados de una investigación empírica realizadacon el equipo profesional de un servicio comunitario de salud mental brasileñoapoyada por la metodología constructivo-interpretativa. La investigación tuvocomo objetivo elaborar un modelo teórico que apoyara prácticas educativas orien-tadas al desarrollo subjetivo del equipo profesional de un servicio de salud mentalcomunitario en Brasilia (Brasil). Los resultados apuntan a la relevancia del diálogocomo recurso epistemológico y metodológico clave para que los individuos pue-dan aparecer como agentes activos. Desde esta perspectiva la investigación es in-separable de una práctica profesional. En este proceso se generan caminos alterna-tivos orientados al desarrollo subjetivo de los individuos, grupos sociales y de las instituciones en su sentido más amplio.
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Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky (real name Lev Simkhovich Vygodsky; Orsha 1896–Moscow 1934) was a Russian psychologist who created cultural-historical theory, which proved influential in developmental psychology and other psychological disciplines. Vygotsky characterized his approach as “height psychology” (as opposed to “depth psychology”) and posited that the higher forms of mind should be the starting point for the study of human development. In his view it was essential to study psychological processes in their historical dynamics; these dynamics could be unraveled with the causal-genetic approach he developed, which involved the guided formation of mind in the course of its study or the experimental unfolding of ontogeny. Vygotsky claimed that the mechanisms of human development are not genetically determined and that we must find its source in culture and the social environment. Human development is mediated by cultural artifacts and sign systems, which are mastered in a dialogue with other people in spontaneous or guided interaction, which stimulates development by creating a zone of proximal development. The major means of the transformation of innate mind into higher mind is language, which enables us to preserve and transmit the experience of generations. In this process of cultural development the person develops a system of higher psychological functions that are social in origin, voluntary and mediated in nature, and form part of a systemic whole. The process of ontogeny goes through a series of stable periods and crises that correspond with specific conditions of the social situation of development and the developmental tasks. Age periods are completed with the development of neoformations, which do not just form results but are also prerequisites for further development. With the development of verbal thinking and the mastery of cultural means of behavior the person masters her/his innate mind and becomes a personality, whose main characteristic is freedom of behavior.
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A pesquisa tem como objetivo identificar as espaço-temporalidades pós-escolares de crianças-estudantes do 3º ano do Ensino Fundamental de duas instituições, pública e privada, localizadas no município de Niterói/RJ. Neste estudo, sob a inspiração da célebre obra de Florestan Fernandes – “As ´trocinhas´ do Bom Retiro”, procurou-se descortinar a dimensão geográfica existente nas práticas infantis que incluem espaços e experiências por elas vivenciados em contextos situados após o horário escolar nos dias de hoje. Os espaços cotidianos das crianças devem ser entendidos a partir dos significados de suas apropriações, encarando-as como sujeitos ativos e produtores de cultura, cujas subjetividades são passíveis de serem interpretadas pela perspectiva histórico-cultural de L. Vigotski. Considerando as significativas contribuições da teoria histórico-cultural para esta pesquisa; o conceito de “vivência”, encerra em seu significado, a questão do meio, este que é assumido como espaço geográfico, em que criança e meio se relacionam de modo indivisível, confirmado pelos postulados da ciência geográfica que entende o espaço como dimensão do humano. Neste tocante, a pesquisa qualitativa e interpretativa, de cunho etnográfico, teve papel relevante, como forma de melhor compreender as vivências infantis, após o tempo social da escola, na contemporaneidade. A interpretação dos dados de campo possibilitou a partir dos aspectos observados nas vivências diárias das crianças, a descrição de algumas categorias de análise que, por fim, provocam indagações sobre se as crianças não estariam vivenciando as “novas trocinhas” na contemporaneidade.
Chapter
In much of contemporary psychology, work tends to be portrayed as an environment or "context" that is external to the person, and which comes to "affect" her from without. Relations between cognitive indexes that pertain to the work setting (e.g., self-management demands) then can be conveniently drawn and modeled with respect to indexes that pertain to the person (e.g., stress). Work settings can thus be empirically investigated with regard to their influence on other personal factors such as job insecurity, creativity, psychological distress, or effective regulation of emotion. A different conception exists in a cultural-historical perspective, where, grounded in Marxist dialectical materialism, work (labor) is conceived not as a type of context that is external to and "affects" the person, but as a primary quality inherent to what it means to be human. This is boldly stated in the opening quotation, where Friedrich Engels asserts, "labor created man himself", a statement that turned out to be a critical source in the establishment of cultural-historical psychology. Thus, the term work is here used to designate not only a particular context of human experience/action but also to refer to a particular and dialectical type of relation between organism and environment, one that emerged with the human species and that, unlike other forms of animal activity, involves the purposeful transformation of the environment and therefore of the conditions for humans' future development. As an implication, a cultural-historical approach to work offers important insights not available from other more classical forms of inquiry.
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The seventh and last chapter of L.S. Vygotsky's main work "Thinking and Speech" (1934) devoted to relations of thought and language, is usually viewed as his last word in psychology. Although the chapter became famous, its structure has seldom been subjected to textual analysis. The article analyzes the structure of argumentation of Chapter 7 and reveals previously undiscovered sources of quoting which LS. Vygosky used to support his views, defining unmarked fragments of linguistic works by F. Man, K. Vossler, R. Shilling, LP. Yakubinsky, identifying sources of quoting and verifying the quotations (specifically references to 25 fragments form L.P. Yakubinsky's work "On Dialogic Speech"). The authors put forward three connected hypotheses about the circumstances of preparing the manuscript of "Thinking and Speech" for publication which might have affected its peculiarities, namely: 1) due to LS. Vygotsky's grave illness and sudden death in June 1934 work on the book was interrupted, he had not prepared the last chapter for publication; 2) the monograph included material obtained in 1929-1932 and was compiled into a book for urgent publication due to the fact that LS. Vygotsky was to be awarded Ph.D. without presenting a doctoral dissertation in the situation of softening rules of awarding scientific degrees and academic titles in 1934; 3) the editors were unable to identify all references and quotations in the draft and removed quotation marks where they had not identified the source.
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A Response to Ton Jörg’s Programmatic View
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Tphe article discusses the history of the creation, multiple translation, falsification and eventual publication of a text by Vygotsky and Luria. Following this publication, the text was declared one of the foundational works of Vygotsky. The study traces the way from the original version of the text (reportedly originally composed in the late 1920s) to the typed version of the text in English that Luria passed to Michael Cole for subsequent publication in the West and, finally, to the Russian version of the text that was back-translated from English when the original Russian text was lost. The study is based on the comparative structural and textological analysis of the text and its repeating fragments (i.e., the non-verbatim semantic repetitions of the text both in the Russian version and, comparatively, in the multilingual versions of the text in English and Russian). Also, the study involved the analysis of the archival documents and memoir publications. The paper demonstrates that the Russian text of the work "Tool and sign in the development of the child" that was first published in Russian in 1984 under the editorship of M.G. Yaroshevsky was created as a result of manipulations caused by the uncoordinated work of two (or more) translators and, not unlikely, further editorial interventions. The study comes to the conclusion that the Russian text of the 1984 Pedagogika Press edition of the six-volume Collected works by Vygotsky is definitely and hopelessly discredited as Vygotsky's (and Luria's) authentic text of the late 1920s - early 1930s. Finally, the paper discusses the problem of the possible periodization of this text and, further, the problem of authenticity from the standpoint of contemporary revisionist Vygotsky Studies. © 2017 National Research University Higher School of Economics. All rights reserved.
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