Social Relations and the Use of Symbolic Resources in Learning and Development

  • Tania Zittoun


Social relations unfold between people, in specific societies. Doing so, they participate both in the making of people and societies, and, in times of tension and war, in the unmaking of groups or the harming of individuals. Yet social relations are never immediate, or naked. In a world of culture, they appear as always mediated. In effect, people’srelationships are made through exchanges of words and objects, are filtered by beliefs and expectations, and are facilitated by phones and books. Yet, interestingly, these mediations — be they material tools or more se miotic mediation — mostly have a double mode of existence. Not only do they actually mediate a social relation between two people — as when a flag is passed from one hand to another — but also they are mostly likely to mediate, or trigger, or facilitate a more symbolic dynamic, as when a flag is used by one person to remind them of their childhood home, or for the other to think about possible conquests for their group. In other words, a cultural psychology invites us to examine the cultural elements which mediate human relationships. These, which usually have a material and a semiotic dimension, have both an existence in the present — the here and now of an interaction — and also a more virtual one, opening memories or worlds of possibilities.


Social Relation Mutual Recognition Symbolic Dynamic Asian Culture Shared Meaning 
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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