Revisionist Revolution in Vygotsky Studies: The State of the Art, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Revisionist Revolution in Vygotsky Studies

The State of the Art, 1st Edition

Edited by Anton Yasnitsky, René Van der Veer


316 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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Revisionist Revolution in Vygotsky Studies brings together recent critical investigations which examine historical and textual inaccuracies associated with received understandings of Vygotsky’s work. By deconstructing the Vygotskian narrative, the authors debunk the 'cult of Vygotsky', allowing for a new, exciting interpretation of the logic and direction of his theory. The chapters cover a number of important themes, including:

  • The chronology of Vygotsky’s ideas and theory development, and the main core of his theoretical writings
  • Relationships between Vygotskians and their Western colleagues
  • The international reception of Vygotskian psychology and problems of translation
  • The future development of Vygotskian science

Using Vygotsky’s published and unpublished writings the authors present a detailed historical understanding of Vygotsky’s thought, and the circumstances in which he worked. It includes coverage of the organization of academic psychology in the Soviet Union, the network of scholars associated with Vygotsky in the interwar period, and the assumed publication ban on Vygotsky’s writings.

This volume is the first to provide an overview of revisionist studies of Vygotsky’s work, and is the product of close international collaboration between revisionist scholars. It will be an essential contribution to Vygotskian scholarship, and of great interest to researchers in the history of psychology, history of science, Soviet/Russian history, philosophical psychology and philosophy of science.


‘Lev Vygotsky is one of those titans of psychology who have been grossly and unfairly misperceived. A subtly cultural and deeply politicized author, Vygotsky creatively combined Freudian and Trotskyite, developmental and linguist influences. This book gives a thorough revision of Vygotsky’s heritage, which is indispensable for everyone who reads and follows Vygotsky the psychologist’. - Alexander Etkind, European University at Florence, Italy

‘An indispensable volume for the intellectual project of coming to terms with Vygotsky’s theory and adapting it to current problems in new contexts’. – Peter Smagorinsky, The University of Georgia, USA

‘Yasnitsky and van der Veer offer a sharp polemic with ‘cultism’ in Vygotsky Studies, rooting their revisionist arguments in an original historical reconstruction and deconstruction of the Vygotskian legacy in the Soviet Union, post-Soviet Russia and the wider world. This collection of studies sheds new light on the history of the reception and promotion of Vygotsky and his ‘school’’. - Andy Byford, Durham University, UK

"For such a complex topic, the work is surprisingly accessible, making use of clear prose and useful tables and figures to examine the topic. A marvelous complement to Vygotsky’s Mind in Society or Thought and Language or secondary works, such as Luis Moll’s L. S. Vygotsky and Education."

--S. T. Schroth, Towson University,CHOICE, Vol. 54 No. 2

Table of Contents

Foreward, Alex Kozulin PART I. Contexts and People 1. The archetype of Soviet psychology: From Stalinism of the 1930s to the "Stalinist science" of our days, Anton Yasnitsky 2. Unity in diversity: Vygotsky-Luria Circle as an informal personal network of scholars, Anton Yasnitsky 3. Deconstructing Vygotsky’s Victimization Narrative: A Re-Examination of the "Stalinist Suppression" of Vygotskian Theory, Jennifer Fraser and Anton Yasnitsky PART II. Texts and Legacy 4. Vygotsky the Published: Who wrote Vygotsky and what Vygotsky actually wrote, René van der Veer & Anton Yasnitsky 5. Vygotsky the Unpublished: An Overview of Personal Archive (1912—1934), Ekaterina Zavershneva 6. "The way to freedom": Vygotsky in 1932, Ekaterina Zavershneva PART III. Holism and Transnationalism 7. Translating Vygotsky: Some problems of transnational Vygotskian science, René van der Veer and Anton Yasnitsky 8. Did Uzbeks have illusions? The Luria—Koffka controversy of 1932, Eli Lamdan and Anton Yasnitsky 9. A Transnational History of The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship: The birth of cultural-historical gestalt psychology of Alexander Luria, Kurt Lewin, Lev Vygotsky, and Others, Anton Yasnitsky EPILOGUE 10. "Lost in translation": Talking about sense, meaning, and consciousness, Anton Yasnitsky & René van der Veer APPENDIX Appendix A. Bibliography of Vygotsky’s Published Works Appendix B. Vygotsky’s and Soviet Pedological Publications in 1924-1936 Appendix C. Vygotsky-Luria Circle: Key Protagonists

About the Editors

Anton Yasnitsky is research associate at University of Toronto, Canada, specialising in Vygotskian Studies and cultural-historical developmental psychology, history of human, behavioral and psychoneurological sciences, anthropology of Soviet/Russian/East European culture(s), history, mechanisms, and strategies of transnational scientific research

Rene van der Veer isProfessor at Leiden, Department of Education and Child Studies, the Netherlands. Main research interests include Cultural historical theory, Attachment, History of ideas

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Child