The Pedagogical Problem: Vygotsky’s Encounter with Marx’s Phenomenal Forms

  • Luis S. Villacañas de Castro


As advanced at the end of the previous chapter, the present one underscores the need to reassess Karl Marx’s contribution from the standpoint of pedagogy, in order for this field to come to terms with his sophisticated theory of the Erscheinungsformen or phenomenal forms. This analysis seems particularly pertinent in relation to the work of the early-Soviet scholar Lev Vygotsky, who allegedly deployed this concept in his own account of cognitive development in human beings. Indeed, despite the many educational fields that Marx’s work has impacted on—most obviously sociology of education, but also educational psychology, particularly thanks to the theoretical developments made by the author whose work we are about to explore—this influence has never been examined, to the best of my knowledge, from the specific vantage point afforded by his account of this concept. When Marx employed it, his line of reasoning progressed through similar paths to those followed in his analyses of ideology and fetishism, two terms which, unlike Erscheinungsformen, have received much more attention, both from the Marxist bench (Althusser, 1970; Kofman, 1999) and the various fields of knowledge influenced by Marx’s thought. This tendency also manifests itself in education-related areas, where reference to the Marxian theory of forms of manifestation is markedly absent, but not the theory of ideology (see, for example, Apple, 1981; Camangian, 2013; Giroux, 1983; Wrigley, 2011).


Scientific Concept Critical Pedagogy Class Division Pedagogical Problem Soviet Psychologist 
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Copyright information

© Luis S. Villacañas de Castro 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luis S. Villacañas de Castro
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ValenciaSpain

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