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Understanding Vygotsky: A Quest for Synthesis

Understanding Vygotsky: A Quest for Synthesis

Rene Van der Veer, Jaan Valsiner

ISBN: 978-0-631-18955-8 October 1993 Wiley-Blackwell 464 Pages


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This book presents the most comprehensive introduction to the life and ideas of Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) yet written. As a key to understanding one of the most potent influences on developmental theories this century, Van der Veer and Valsiner explore Vygotsky's ideas in the contexts of Russian psychology and the politics of the inter-war years. The authors chart Vygotsky's intellectual development through the course of his life, establishing links with his predecessors and contemporaries and illustrating his intellectual interdependence with the contemporary scientific community and the creative endeavors of the fine arts. Careful analysis of his social context allows detailed discussion of Vygotsky's indebtedness to literary scholarship, with psychoanalysis, Gestalt psychology and paedology.

Understanding Vygotsky not only shows the extent to which Vygotsky's work can be further developed to be relevant to the end of the twentieth century but also opens up scope for a more detailed analysis of his contemporaries. It will be essential reading for all students of Vygotsky and his ideas.


Part I: The First Years in Moscow 1924-1928:.

Part II: The Cultural-Historical Theory 1928-1932:.

Part III: Moscow, Kharkov and Leningrad 1932-1934:.



Index of Names.

Index of Subjects.

"This is certainly the most comprehensive intellectual biography of Vygotsky that exists in English, and probably in any language. Moreover, it is likely to remain the standard reference in this field for a long time to come." Journal of the History of Behavioral Sciences