The Work of I. S. Kon
The work of I. S. Kon merits a separate chapter for two main reasons. Firstly, he is one of the few Soviet scholars to have devoted much time to an analysis of sex differences in personality. Secondly, he spans a number of disciplines, and so fits awkwardly into any single category. He has been described as a social-psychologist, sociologist, ethnographer, and (increasingly) sexologist. This profusion of titles is not inappropriate, since Kon strives to maintain an interdisciplinary approach. He is aware of, and frequently cites, research undertaken in a variety of disciplines, both in the USSR and in the West, and laments the failure of other social scientists to learn from the work of their colleagues in related fields. For example, in one hard-hitting article in Pravda Kon anticipates the failure of the school reform proposals, introduced in 1984, unless pedagogical theorists and teachers join forces with psychologists and sociologists to produce an integrated study of children and the various agents of socialization. He goes on to attack the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences for virtually sabotaging the development of such a co-ordinated project by ignoring the work of neighbouring disciplines — notably sociology and social-pedagogy — rather than serving as a centre for the assimilation and assessment of all work in this area.1
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