From Relational Ontology to Transformative Activist Stance on Development and Learning: Expanding Vygotsky’s (CHAT) Project

  • Anna Stetsenko
Part of the Marxism and Education book series (MAED)


Research in psychology and education today is going through a paradoxical phase, perhaps to such an extent that the cliché “the best of times, the worst of times” cannot be avoided when trying to describe it. On the one hand, we are witnessing much ferment and enthusiasm as novel ideas, exciting discoveries, and innovative methodologies are emerging and flourish across a variety of approaches that explore the effects of culture and society on human development. These new and innovative approaches are often underwritten by a common commitment to social justice and equity (these approaches will be termed sociocultural herein for lack of a better unifying term). On the other hand, it is impossible not to notice a rising tide, indeed a tsunami, of starkly mechanistic views that reduce human development (more boldly now than at any other time in recent history) to processes in the brain rigidly constrained by genetic blueprints passed on to contemporary humans from the dawn of the evolution. The sad irony is that these latter views represent a strikingly united front in sharp ascendance—drawing together resurrected tenets of sociobiology, innatist linguistics, narrowly conceived neuroscience, orthodox modular cognitivism, with the test-and-control, knowledge transmission–based educational models following suit—while the alternative sociocultural approaches remain starkly disconnected, without much dialogue or coordination among them. Indeed, no consensus of a sort now propagated by the “new” reductionist synthesis is apparent in sociocultural approaches that are scattered across areas as diverse as critical pedagogy, social theory, adult learning, disability studies, critical race theory, constructivist education, science studies, human-computer interaction, feminist studies, literary criticism, cultural anthropology, and developmental psychology, among others.


Human Development Human Nature Human Subjectivity Critical Pedagogy Critical Race Theory 
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.


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© Peter E. Jones 2011

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  • Anna Stetsenko

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