, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 422-457
Date: 11 Jun 2011

Vygotsky Circle as a Personal Network of Scholars: Restoring Connections Between People and Ideas

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Abstract

The name of Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) is well-known among contemporary psychologists and educators. The cult of Vygotsky, also known as “Vygotsky boom”, is probably conducive to continuous reinterpretation and wide dissemination of his ideas, but hardly beneficial for their understanding as an integrative theory of human cultural and biosocial development. Two problems are particularly notable. These are, first, numerous gaps and age-old biases and misconceptions in the historiography of Soviet psychology, and, second, the tendency to overly focus on the figure of Vygotsky to the neglect of the scientific activities of a number of other protagonists of the history of cultural-historical psychology. This study addresses these two problems and reconstructs the history and group dynamics within the dense network of Vygotsky’s collaborators and associates, and overviews their research, which is instrumental in understanding Vygotsky’s integrative theory in its entirety as a complex of interdependent ideas, methods, and practices.