Charting the Agenda : Educational Activity after Vygotsky by Harry Daniels, Basil Bernstein

By Harry Daniels, Basil Bernstein

First released in 1993. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Sample text

4 Charting the agenda TWO INTERPRETATIONS OF VYGOTSKY It is possible to perceive two readings of Vygotsky which now exist alongside each other within English teaching. In one reading, Vygotsky is approached from a tradition of thought about the role of symbol in human affairs. In the other, Vygotsky is read within a stress on the politics of culture. Grounds for both readings exist, it seems to me. But there are questions in this which go beyond whether one or another reading is to be preferred.

The invitation is to think. There are no introductory words, no preliminary skirmishes. ’ The enemies become familiar: the Buhlers, Piaget, Sterne, Koffka, Wertheimer and the Gestalt psychologists, Watson, Associationist psychology, Behaviourism. Out of the antitheses, there comes a movement in time as well as in logic, as the thread is carried forward from the problem incorrectly 2 Charting the agenda posed to its correct formulation. The formulation determines what solution can emerge. In the end, the undertaking has been concerned to reveal how most adequately the problem should be studied as much as it has been directed towards establishing findings.

I find recurrent in Vygotsky this shuttle between empirical interest and the conceptually, critically argued claim for this as the correct method of study. Second, the division between philosophical issues and world view, explanatory principles and object of study accounts for what I find in reading Vygotsky and seems to me excitingly to illuminate the form of Vygotskian analyses. Third, the methodological stress reclaims Vygotsky as a psychologist. This analysis shows Vygotsky as a thinker interested in more than just conceptual approaches and perspectives.

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