Towards a Vygotskian Theory of the Self

  • Benjamin Lee
  • James V. Wertsch
  • Addison Stone
Part of the Path in Psychology book series (PATH)


Vygotsky proposed his theoretical framework in an attempt to deal with what he saw as the “crisis in psychology”. Although he was speaking of a crisis that existed in the early part of the twentieth century, his critique and proposals have a great deal of relevance for today’s Western social science. The crisis Vygotsky saw was that there was no broad philosophical foundation or metapsychological theory upon which to build an integrated explanation of hypotheses and empirical findings. Quoting Brentano, Vygotsky (1956) wrote that “there exist many psychologies, but there does not exist a single psychology” (p. 57). As Vygotsky went on to point out, the implications of this are quite serious.


Speech Function High Mental Function Speech Form Semiotic Mediation Representational Function 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Akhutina, T.V. 1975. The Neurolinguistic Analysis of Dynamic Aphasia. Moscow: Izdatel’stov Moskovskogo Universiteta. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  2. Akhutina, T.V. 1978. “The Role of Inner Speech in the Construction of an Utterance”. Soviet Psychology, Spring, XVI(3), 3–30.Google Scholar
  3. Avineri, S. 1968. The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bakhtin, M.M. 1973. Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics. Ann Arbor: Ardis Press. (Originally published in Russian in 1929).Google Scholar
  5. Bibler, V.S. 1975. Thinking as Creation: An Introduction to the Logic of Mental Dialogue. Moscow: Political Literature Press. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  6. Chafe, W.C. 1974. “Language and Consciousness”. Language, L, p. 111–13.Google Scholar
  7. Chafe, W.C. 1976. “Givenness, Contrastiveness, Definiteness, Subjects, Topics, and Point of View”. In C.N.L.I. ed., Subject and Topic. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  8. Clark, H.H. & Clark, E.V. 1977. Psychology and Language: an Introduction to Psycholinguistics. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich, Inc.Google Scholar
  9. Clark, H.H. & S.E. Haviland. 1977. “Comprehension and the Given-new Contract”. In Discourse Production and Comprehension (ed. by R.O. Freedle). Norwood, New Jersey: Ablex Publishing.Google Scholar
  10. Firbas, C.J. 1966. “On Defining the Theme in Functional Sentence Analysis”. Travaux Linguistiques de Prague, I, pp. 267–80.Google Scholar
  11. Halliday, M.A.K. 1967. “Notes on Transitivity and Theme in English, II”. Journal of Linguistics, III, pp 199–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ivanov, V.V. 1977. “The Role of Semiotics in the the Cybernetic Study of Man and Collective”. In Soviet Semiotics: An Anthology, (ed. by D.P. Lucid). Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Kohlberg, L., J. Yaeger, & E. Hjerthalm. 1968. “Private Speech: Four Studies and a Review of Theories”. In Child Development, XXXIX, pp. 691–736.Google Scholar
  14. Luria, A.R. 1976. Cognitive Development: its Cultural and Social Foundations. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Medvedev, P.N. & M.M. Bakhtin. 1978. The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship: A Critical Introduction to Sociological Poetics. Baltimore: the John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Smirnov, A.A. 1975. The Development and Present Status of Psychology in the USSR. Moscow: Pedagogika. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  17. Vygotsky, L.S. 1956. Collected Psychological Research. Moscow: Idatel’sto Akademii Pedagogicheskikh Nauk. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  18. Vygotsky, L.S. 1962. Thought and Language. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Vygotsky, L.S. 1973. Psychology of Art. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  20. Vygotsky, L.S. 1977. “From the Notebooks of L.S. Vygotsky.” Moscow University Record. Psychology Series. XV, April-June, pp. 89–95. (in Russian)Google Scholar
  21. Vygotsky, L.S. 1978. Mind in Society: the Development of Higher Psychological Processes, (ed. by M. Cole, V. John-Steiner, S. Scribner, and E. Souberman). Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Vygotsky, L.S. 1979. “Consciousness as a Problem in the Psychology of Behavior”. Soviet Psychology, XVII, 4:3–35.Google Scholar
  23. Vygotsky, L.S. 1981. “The Genesis of Higher Mental Functions”. In The Concept of Activity in Soviet Psychology, (ed. by J.V. Wertsch). Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe.Google Scholar
  24. Yakubinskii, L.P. 1923. On Dialogic Speech. Petrograd: Works of the Phonetics Institute of the Practical Study of Language. (in Russian)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin Lee
    • 1
    • 2
  • James V. Wertsch
    • 1
    • 2
  • Addison Stone
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Psychosocial StudiesUSA
  2. 2.Northwestern UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations