• 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. ...

How Culture Is Made Through Objects
How culture is made through objects

We make things. And through those things we modify ourselves. Furthermore, we decide upon the fate of things we have made—keep them or abandon, adore them, destroy them, or pass them on to others as gifts or in exchange for other objects.1

These three notions—make, modify, and maintain—are sufficient to specify how the human species differs from most others—with the possible exception of higher primates—and what difference culture makes. The history of the human species is that of breaking out from the dominance of the environment (adaptation to it) into a condition of future-oriented reflexivity—human beings adapt the environment not only to their current needs, but also to their anticipated, desired, and (often) unrealistic objectives ...

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