• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

An Invitation to Cultural Psychology looks at the everyday life worlds of human beings through the lens of a new synthetic perspective in cultural psychology – that of semiotic dynamics.

Based on historical work from many different fields in the social and behavioural sciences, and the humanities too, this perspective applied to cultural psychology suggests that human beings are constantly creating, maintaining and abandoning hierarchies of meanings within all cultural contexts they experience. It's a perspective that leans heavily on the work of the great French philosopher, Henri Bergson, only now being realised as a core basis for human cultural living.

Jaan Valsiner is the founding editor of the major journal in the field, Culture & Psychology, and Editor of the Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology. ...

Signs as Organizers: Maintaining and Innovating Tensions
Signs as organizers: Maintaining and innovating tensions

Human beings live by creating distinctions—some of which become oppositions that contradict one another—and give rise to new distinctions. All this is accomplished by signs at every step: by letting new distinctions be maintained in irreversible time, escalating, maintaining or downgrading their contradiction, and giving form to a new opposition once it emerges. The domain of fashion is a good—and rather peaceful—domain of examples of such a never-ending process. Many other domains—in marital relations or battlefields of war and business—may be more dangerous to human well-being.

Looking at the level of society, fashion is an opposition (its opposite being non-fashion) that constantly changes as it satisfies the human needs for fitting-in (to an ...

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