Social Interaction, Social Context, and Language: Essays in Honor of Susan Ervin-Tripp

By Dan Isaac Slobin; Julie Gerhardt et al. | Go to book overview

ways that socially structured practices influence and activate individual development is by simultaneously drawing on and shaping the inner motivations that drive and direct this development. This argument bears, in turn, on a larger theoretical agenda that has informed this chapter as a whole. An effective approach to understanding individual development requires a genuine integration of sociocultural with constructivist perspectives (as the Piagetian tradition has termed them), and such an integration is not only necessary but eminently feasible. Any approach to development that does not systematically address the embeddedness of human thought and action in sociocultural contexts will necessarily be incomplete and misleading. But, on the other hand, an approach that simply dissolves the individual in his or her sociocultural context is in danger of forfeiting any genuine conception of development. The analysis offered in the present chapter has attempted to suggest some concrete ways that we can move toward overcoming this damaging and unnecessary polarization.


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