Vygotsky's Developmental and Educational Psychology

By Peter E. Langford | Go to book overview

5    Biological and historical
development, 1932–34

The year 1932 is an arbitrary date at which to begin Vygotsky’s last period. In reality he began to change his position in 1930 and was still changing when he died. However, by 1932 the new ideas had come to dominate.

These changes came partly from Vygotsky’s desire to improve his dynamic model for his shorter periods, which he now called stages. He had advanced preliminary versions of this in 1928–31 and sketches of a complete model appeared in works of this period (Vygotsky, 1930g, 1931b, Ch. 15). However, he was evidently dissatisfied with that and produced a considerably revised version (Vygotsky, 1933i, 1934f). The changes of the last period were only partly due to this. They were also an effort to use the ideas of Hegel and Spinoza more consistently. There was an attempt to carry through more thoroughly than he had done in the previous periods the programme of integrating the Marxist and Hegelian traditions; as well as to face the full implications of his own stress on signs. He had begun this in 1928 but had failed to carry it through to its conclusion. This was, for instance, seen in his revised approaches to meaning, motivation and the development of the self.


Underlying model

In one sense the underlying map changed greatly, because the content of some of the four levels and of motivation changed. However, if we look just at the general nature of the four levels, the general nature of motivation and the number of steps along which the child can advance on each, things remain much the same. The third main dimension in the map of development, the inner versus the outer, remains the same, even in content.

His new dynamic model is also an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary development. He implies that this model will apply broadly to history as well as the child (Vygotsky, 1933i, 1934f), although there are, once again, some differences. This model continues to have three main features: the succession of dominant dynamic functions, mostly connected with signs used in communication; the mediation of the functions of perception, memory and attention by signs; the mediation of thought by language.

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Vygotsky's Developmental and Educational Psychology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Vygotsky’s Developmental and Educational Psychology i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Figures vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • 1- Introduction 1
  • Part I - The Theory 9
  • 2- Life and Early Work 11
  • 3- Biological and Historical Development, 1928–31 27
  • 4- The Child, 1928–31 43
  • 5- Biological and Historical Development, 1932–34 81
  • 6- The Child, 1932–34 89
  • Part II - Application and Interpretation 121
  • 7- Vygotsky and Education 123
  • 8- Interpretations 149
  • Part III - Origins 155
  • 9- Vygotsky’s Sources 157
  • 10- Method 165
  • Part IV - Prospects and Problems 175
  • 11- Supportive and Neutral Empirical Findings 177
  • 12- Empirical Problems 205
  • 13- Extensions and Comparisons 223
  • Part V - Conclusions 243
  • 14- Conclusions 245
  • References 253
  • Author Index 289
  • Subject Index 295
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