"We can formulate the genetic law of cultural development in the following way: any function in the child's cultural development appears on stage twice, on two planes. First it appears on the social plane, then on the psychological, first among people as an interpsyhical category and then within the child as an intrapsychical category".


The Man and his Ideas

His Life: by Gita Vygodskaya
This one is a gem. Gita Vygodskaya reflects on growing up with her father and offers a personal look into the man who is referred to as the Mozart of Psychology.

Vygotsky Before Vygotsky
Nikolai Veresov offers a historical and methodological analysis of Vygotsky's ideas. The work focuses on Vygotsky's writings from 1917-1927.  This is the introduction to his book, Undiscovered Vygotsky, which can be purchased from the Nateweb bookstore.

Vygotsky's Sociohistorical Psychology
Carl Ratner discusses the significance of Vygotsky's Sociohistorical Psychology. He discusses Vygotsky's early work and politics, sociohistorical and sociogenesis character of psychological processes, as well as contrasts to other approaches. Ratner does a good job at incorporating Vygotsky's ideas into contemporary research including his own.

Practice - Vygotsky's tool-and-result methodology and psychology
Chapter 3 from Fred Newman and Lois Holzman's book, Lev Vygotsky: Revolutionary Scientist

Prologue to Collected Works Volume 5.
Carl Ratner introduces the reader to the most important concepts Vygotsky discusses in Collected Works Volume 5. These include higher / lower psychological processes, integration of psychological processes, qualitative change, and form / content. Ratner does a very good job at introducing and summerizing Vygotsky's ideas from Child Pychology

Semiotics of Play
Rafal Dziurla looks at the importance of some of Vygotsky's ideas about play. The focus of the paper is on the role Vygotsky gave to play in the development of generalisation (meaning). 

Why Vygotsky
Steven Kerr asks the interesting question, Why Vygotsky?, in reference to educational reform in both Russia and the West.

Vygotsky Compared to Others

Critical Theory and Vygotsky
Willem Wardekker looks at the similarities and differences between Critical Theory and Vygotskian Theory. He primarily focuses on the topic of personality formation and argues the benefit of Vygotskian theory lies in its denial of an "authentic" human subject and its more positive conception of plurality on both a soceital and personality level. Wardekker's conclusion is a Vygotskian approach to personality must be more "radical" than Radical Pedagogy.

Piaget and Vygotsky
James Wertsch and Mike Cole give an good comparison of Vygotsky and Piaget's theories of child development. They argue that the division of social and individual does not hold up because both Vygotsky and Piaget valued the individual and social forces in development. Both saw the social-individual relationally, but by Vygotsky focusing on mediation he gave the social a very specific role in development.

Vygotsky and Bakhtin
J. Allan Cheyne and Donato Tarulli look at the similarities and differences between Vygotsky and Bakhtin's use of the "other" or third voice. The focus primarily on their ideas in relation to rethinking the zone of proximal development. They expand the ZPD to include Magistral, Socratic, and Menippean dialogues. They argue the expanded ZPD provides a medium for cultural-historical as well as developmental change.

Vygotsky in Practice

Vygotsky and Special Education in Russia
Harry Daniels discusses the tensions and dilemmas that arise with implementing Vygotskian psychology in Russia. He contrasts the similarities and differences in which Vygotsky's ideas are implemented in Russia and Wales. Daniels sees major differences in how Vygotsky is interpreted within Russia, and between Russia and the west. Vygotsky's ideas in Russia have been used to validate both teacher centered and progressive ideas about education. Daniels concludes with the need of a mixed economy between Vygotskian ideas in Russia and the west.

Sociocultural Theory of Teaching and Learning
A paper by Peter Renshaw that looks at the implication of Vygotskty and Davydov's ideas for education in Australia. Renshaw does a good job at introducing the reader to the interesting ideas of Davydov. However, some of his arguments in reference to sociocultural theory, particularily Mike Cole, argueing for a general-particular approach to education is incorrect. As Daniels mentions above it is a unique Russian perspective on the progression of concept formation. Renshaw's paper should be seem as representing Russian (Vygotsky, Davydov) ideas about education rather than sociocultural perspectives themselves. With that said, Davydov's ideas can serve as an important challenge to education that focuses solely on a particular-general direction of concepts formation.

Sociocultural Approaches to Learning
A good overview of sociocultural approaches to learning by Vera John-Steiner and Holbrook Mahn. The paper is divided into three sections; intro to sociocultural theory, Vygotsky's methodology, and educational research and practice. The authors introduce the reader to the concepts of co-construction and cognitive pluralism that serve as an important way to re-think contemporary educational practice.

A Vygotskian Perspective of School Evaluation 
Joćo Baptist Martins discusses school evaluation from the perspective of L.S. Vygotsky's pedagogical  theory.

Vygotskian Concepts

Vygotsky and the Dialectical Method
A paper by Andy Blunden which focuses on Vygotsky's use of the dialectical method in Thought and Language.


A paper by Julie Matuga about the importance of collaboration within an Art Room. The paper is a review of her research of the importance of the collaboration in the art room. She concludes with the assertion that the days of the "silent" art room are over in that collaboration and dialogue are essential in artistic development.

A paper by Angeles Molina Iturrondo and Carmen Milagros Velez Vega on the importance of inclusion within a Vygotskian framework. The research focuses on typical and atypical children in Puerto Rico in reference to the education of infants and toddlers. They argue that atypical children need to be educated with their peers, and that interaction between typical and atypical children should be fostered.

Lisbeth Dixon-Krauss looks at the importance of the Vygotskian concept of mediation in dynamic literacy activities. Lisbeth sees the mediation model as a general dynamic framework rather than a guide of task analysis with prescribed next steps. The model both guides and evolves through the social interaction of the educational activity.

Semiotic Activity
B. van Oers looks at the semiotic means of iconic representaions in children's drawings. He utilizes the work of Venger, among others, to look at the semiotic means of younger children. The article can be seen as an extention of Vygotsky's emphasis on "sign systems" that organize ones world. Like, Venger, B. van Oers argues for the importance of a unique sign system in preschool children. Vera John Steiner's article follows a similar interpretation of diverse sign systems in her concept of cognitive pluralism.

Related Authors

Alexander Romanovich Luria
Introduction to A.R. Luria's book, The Making of Mind, by Mike Cole.

Symbols, Tools, and Ideality in Ilyenkov
A paper by Peter Jones that clarifies the meaning of ideality in the works of Ilyenkov.

Biological Determinism and Epistemology in Linguistics
Peter Jones takes a broad Marxist perspective to examine the Chromskian revolution in linguistics.  

The Dialectic of Subject and Object and some Problems of the Methodology of Science
A chapter by V. A. Lektorsky in which he examines the dialectic of subject and object within science. 

Further Study on Vygotsky

Psychology and Marxism Archive
A subject section on the relationship between Psychology and Marxism with writer archives on Vygotsky, Leont'ev, Luria, El'konin, and many other psychologists whose work were influenced by Marxism.

Getting to Know Hegel
A well written introduction by Andy Blunden about Hegel and his pertinence to contemporary life.

Davidson Films: Lev Vygotsky
Educational films about Vygotsky by Deborah J. Leong, Ph.D. and Elena Bodrova, Ph.D as well as a comprehensive photo archive on Vygotsky.

XCMA is a multidisciplinary, multinational listserv that is interested in understanding humans within their cultural and historical context. Discussions about Vygotsky and the Cultural Historical Activity Theory are popular topics of discussion. For those interested in a further study of Vygotsky this list serve is highly recommended.


Comments by Nikolai Veresov about the Vygotsky quote

Why Vygotsky used the word "stage" this is not a metaphor as many people think. The task of Vygotsky in 1930-1931 was to create the psychology in terms of drama. The stage is the place the dramatic development takes place. The stage (theatre) has two planes - social plane (dimension) and individual plane. The planes only make sense relative to the stage and they are connected as two projections of the stage where the child is not a spectator, but participant.

Category is the philosophical concept. How can one imagine that the function exists as a category? Sounds strange, but according to Stanislavsky (famous theatre director Vygotsky used to know) and Sergey Eisenshtein (filmmaker and a friend of Vygotsky) "category" in the drama means "collision", "event", dramatic unit, and the unit of analysis of drama: it might be a dialogue (mostly) or emotional explosion and so on. Vygotsky is speaking about development as a process of events, collisions and their reflections in both planes.


Copylefted December 2001