Cultural Studies of Science Education

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 471–491

From relational ontology to transformative activist stance on development and learning: expanding Vygotsky’s (CHAT) project

Original Paper

Abstract

This paper offers steps towards overcoming current fragmentation within sociocultural approaches by expansively reconstructing a broad dialectical view on human development and learning (drawing on Vygotsky’s project) underwritten by ideology of social justice. The common foundation for sociocultural approaches is developed by dialectically supplanting relational ontology with the notion that collaborative purposeful transformation of the world is the core of human nature and the principled grounding for learning and development. An activist transformative stance suggests that people come to know themselves and their world as well as ultimately come to be human in and through (not in addition to) the processes of collaboratively transforming the world in view of their goals. This means that all human activities (including psychological processes and the self) are instantiations of contributions to collaborative transformative practices that are contingent on both the past and the vision for the future and therefore are profoundly imbued with ideology, ethics, and values. And because acting, being, and knowing are seen from a transformative activist stance as all rooted in, derivative of, and instrumental within a collaborative historical becoming, this stance cuts across and bridges the gaps (a) between individual and social and (b) among ontological, epistemological, and moral–ethical (ideological) dimensions of activity.

Keywords

Vygotsky Freire Activity theory Transformative practice Sociocultural Critical pedagogy 

Executive summary

O propósito geral deste artigo é melhor integrar perspectivas socioculturais recentes nas ciências sociais e educação que, embora importantes, permanecem desconectadas. Essa integração é de extrema importância para que tais perspectivas possam competir com abordagens alternativas embasadas em reducionismo biológico e que vem ganhando destaque por seus audaciosos pressupostos sobre a natureza humana (baseado em noções como determinismo genético, módulos cognitivos inatos, procriarão e a metáfora do cérebro-como-mente). Para integrar as perspectivas socioculturais é necessário que seja articulada uma posição comum, unida pelo menos no nível meta-teórico e ligada a questões gerais sobre natureza humana, desenvolvimento e aprendizado.

Este artigo oferece, portanto, caminhos para superar a atual fragmentação das abordagens socioculturais ao reconstruir expansivamente uma ampla visão dialética sobre desenvolvimento e aprendizagem humanos sustentada por uma ideologia de empoderamento e justiça social - a tarefa que o projeto revolucionário de Vygotsky começou mas não concluiu e cuja semelhança com a pedagogia crítica de Freire é impressionante. A base comum às abordagens socioculturais é desenvolvida a partir da expansão dialética da noção de ontologia relacional (presente nas principais abordagens teóricas do século 20, incluindo as de Piaget, Vygotsky e Dewey e buscada agora ativamente em várias disciplinas) que enfoca a natureza transacional do desenvolvimento e aprendizagem. A expansão dialética aqui proposta consiste em suplantar-se dialeticamente a noção de relacionalidade com a noção de que a transformação intencional colaborativa do mundo é o cerne da natureza humana e o princípio de base para o desenvolvimento e a aprendizagem. De acordo com esta posição ativista transformadora, as pessoas se conhecem e ao mundo e, em última instância, tornam-se humanas no e através do processo de colaborativamente transformar o mundo em vista de suas metas e propósitos. Isso significa que todas as atividades humanas (incluindo os processos psicológicos e o self) são formas de contribuição às práticas transformadoras colaborativas, contingentes tanto em relação ao passado quanto às visões do futuro. São, portanto, profundamente imbuídas de ideologia, ética e valores. Esta concepção abre novos caminhos para superar a limitação tanto da visão individualista das tradições positivista e humanista que postulam a primazia do indivíduo como entidade suprema cuja existência antecede práticas sociais; quanto do reducionismo social de explicações coletivistas unidirecionais que tendem a excluir processos individuais e subjetividade humana. A abordagem aqui proposta convida-nos a vislumbrar uma ciência humana unificada que contemple de um lado os processos de agir, ser/tornar-se e conhecer e de outro os valores e o compromisso de transformação. Também afirma que sociedade e educação podem ser diferentes, exigindo o discernimento de porque as coisas são como são em um dado momento histórico, ao dirigirmos o olhar a como elas se tornaram assim e, simultaneamente, considerarmos como as coisas devem ser. É porque agir, ser e conhecer são vistos, a partir da posição ativista transformadora, como sendo enraizados, derivados e instrumentais nas práticas sociais intencionais do tornar-se histórico colaborativo, que esta posição intersecta e preenche as lacunas entre (a) os planos individual e social da atividade humana e (b) as dimensões ontológica, epistemológica e ético-moral (ideológica) desse processo.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Graduate CenterThe City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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