Sociogenetic Perspectives on Internalization

Sociogenetic Perspectives on Internalization

Sociogenetic Perspectives on Internalization

Sociogenetic Perspectives on Internalization

Synopsis

The issue of how the external world becomes part of the behavioral repertoire of children has been important to psychology from its very beginning, preoccupying theorists from Sigmund Freud to George Herbert Mead. But ever since Lev Vygotsky claimed that every function in a child's activity appears first as a process in the social realm between individuals and moves to a process that individual children can accomplish relatively independently, there has been increased debate as to exactly how this process of internalization happens. In contemporary developmental psychology, the process of internalization has become so important that the time is ripe for a book which explicitly addresses the problems it poses. Although the chapters in this book deal with age groups from preschool to adolescence, and topics from mathematics to storytelling and from taking risks to making moral judgments, there is one core question which unifies them all: If the growing competence of a child is truly sociogenetic, if it truly grows out from, is supported by, and is dependent upon the social, where is that competence truly located? Bearing a variety of labels--cultural-historical, co-constructionist, dialectical, contextualist, narrative, hermeneutic, and discursive psychologies--and analytic constructs--scaffolding, proleptic instruction, participation, appropriation, and situated activity--contemporary perspectives are showing clear signs of development and differentiation. This volume's goal is to help bring some order to these differences, without denying either the usefulness of this variety or the importance of the differences among perspectives.

This new book illuminates these differences by collecting a select sample of theory and research into one of two major sections. The first section includes work undertaken from a social interactive perspective. The overarching aim is to identify processes of child-child or child-adult interactions as they emerge over relatively short periods of time. Typically, the methodology involves the microanalysis of videotaped interactions. Development is situated literally within social interactions which are considered directly responsible for children's development. The second section provides a sample of work representing a symbolic action perspective. This one is not oriented toward social interactions but toward the symbolic meanings that they express and that children impose on them. The dominant methodology is interpretive or hermeneutic, and the goal is to articulate the figurative (metaphoric) processes and narrative structures that inhabit social actions and from which they draw their meaning and coherence.

Excerpt

Several chapters of this book originated as papers from a symposium at the meetings of the Society for Research in Child Development in New Orleans, 1993 entitled "Internalization as Negotiation: Issues and Examples of Vygot- skian Theory." Both before and after the conference, we realized that deter- mining how internalization happens is an issue that goes to the core of many philosophical problems in developmental psychology, and therefore is a problem to be reckoned with in many subject areas. So, we brought in the divergent views of many of our colleagues to cover the widening field of the topic, both in terms of theory and subject under study, and this book was born.

This book, appropriately for a volume on sociogenesis, was dialectically co-constructed in a cultural context with the help of many people. the chapters evolved in reaction to comments from the two editors and from others in our community of like-minded sociogeneticists. Then the commen- tators got the chapters and tied some of the themes together clearly, giving us a fresh look at what we thought we knew. We offer our heartfelt thanks to all of the contributors and commentators; their insights, patience, and diligence made the book a stronger one. in particular we would like to thank Terry Winegar for suggesting that the conference papers would make a useful book. We would also like to thank two editorial assistants to Brian Cox-Jennifer Virgilio and Karen LoPresti-for their competence and hard work in tracking down errors, inconsistencies, and confusions. They were also quite essential in putting together the indexes, translating chapters into . . .

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