The surge of contemporary interest in Vygotsky's contribution to child psychology has focused largely on his developmental method and his claim that higher psychological functions in the individual emerge out of social processes, that is, his notion of the "zone of proximal development." Insufficient attention has been given to his claim that human social and psychological processes are shaped by cultural tools or mediational means. This book is one of the most important documents for understanding this claim.
Making a timely appearance, this volume speaks directly to the present crisis in education and the nature/nurture debate in psychology. It provides a greater understanding of an interdisciplinarian approach to the education of normal and exceptional children, the role of literacy in psychological development, the historical and cultural evolution of behavior, and other important issues in cognitive psychology, neurobiology, and cultural and social anthropology.
Table of Contents
Contents: J.V. Wertsch, Foreword. Preface. J.E. Knox, Translator's Introduction. Authors' Introduction. Part I:Behavior of the Anthropoid Apes. Three Stages in the Development of Behavior. Kohler's Experiments. The Law of Structure and Ape Behavior. Intellect and the Natural Experience of Apes. Intellect as the Third Stage in the Development of Behavior. Use of the Tool as a Psychological Prerequisite for Labor. Part II:Primitive and His Behavior. Three Lines of Psychological Behavior. Three Theories of Cultural Historical Development. Primitive Man as a Biological Type. Memory in Primitive Man. Thinking in Connection with the Development of Language in Primitive Society. Numeric Operations and Primitive Man. Primitive Behavior. Part III:The Child and Its Behavior. Approaches to the Psychology of an Adult. Adult and Child: The Principle of Metamorphosis. The Infant and His World. Primitive Perception. Primitive Thinking. Steps to Culture. Acquisition of Tools. Cultural Development of Special Functions: Memory. Cultural Development of Special Functions: Attention. Cultural Development of Special Functions: Abstraction. Cultural Development of Special Functions: Speech and Thinking. The Stage of Cultural Development of a Child. Defectology and Psychology. Retardation and Giftedness. Evaluation of Giftedness and the Problems of Cultural Development.
"...an exemplary case of a scholarly translation-cum-commentary. The translators not only painstakingly rendered all original references, but also added valuable notes orienting the reader in the terms used by Vygotsky and Luria and illuminating the sources of their theoretical inspiration and empirical data. The match of translators is perfect -- Golod is a Russian psychologist fluent in English, and Knox is an American linguist fluent in Russian....of great interest to everyone concerned with the foundations of cultural-historical psychology and of great help to future students of Vygotsky's and Luria's ideas."
"Any library serving undergraduate and graduate students should have this volume of previously untranslated essays by these Soviet psychologists, which will interest developmental psychologists, anthropologists, educators, neurologists, and linguists."
"...this is probably the best single source for psychologists seeking an English language introduction to Vygotsky's views....it is by far the most systematic and coherent presentation of cultural-historical theory yet to appear in English....Anyone with an interest in psychology as it was during the late 1920s or in Vygotsky's own intellectual development should read this book."
"This book will be of great interest to everyone concerned with the foundations of cultural-historical psychology and particulary helpful to future students of the Vygotsky-Luria theory."
—Theory & Psychology
"It contains a wealth of ideas...stimulates definitely theorizing about development....represents an achievement that many present-day publications will not reach."
"To his contemporaries, Vygotsky was 'a visitor from the future'--a prophetic assessment, for only now are his early works finally being translated and republished, and his seminal importance to a dozen different disciplines appreciated. Though written more than sixty years ago, this book is strangely, even intensely, pertinent today--to anthropologists, cultural psychologists, educational psychologists and teachers, cognitive psychologists, neuropsychologists, and psychoanalysts and neurobiologists, who may find here some of the most cogent evidence ever assembled for how our minds develop in individual ways.
There is no scholar more versed in the original Vygotsky-Luria work, or its contemporary resonances, than Dr. Jane Knox, who now, with the late Dr. Victor Golod, has provided us with a brilliant and scholarly translation of the [book], which she has enriched with a richly detailed introduction and fascinating footnotes. The Studies speak to us in a peculiarly contemporary and personal voice--we seem to hear Vygotsky and Luria in every sentence--and this is beautifully conveyed in the present translation."
"...although some of the specifics of the claims of Vygotsky and Luria about culture may be outdated, this does not call into question the basic genetic approach that they were seeking to outline. We still have not come to grips with how one accounts for the complex structural properties of cultures and languages on the one hand and genetic transitions on the other....a critical text for understanding these and a host of other issues. By making such a work by two of the 20th century's greatest psychologists available to readers of English, the translators and editors have made a major contribution.
Furthermore, it should be noted that this is no ordinary translation. The knowledge of languages and the material that Golod and Knox brought to bear in completing their work make this book one of the best translations we have of Vygotsky's or Luria's writings. This is more than an accurate translation, it is an elegant one that retains much of the feel of the authors' own styles. Furthermore, thanks to their energetic and ingenious bibliographic sleuthing, Golod and Knox have provided us with insights into the sources of the authors' ideas that come to light here for the first time....This undertaking has resulted in an accurate, complete, and elegant translation of a very important work in psychology and its related fields."
—From the Foreword by James V. Wertsch,
Clark University Author of Voices of the Mind: A Sociocultural Approach to Media