• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This volume presents the reader with a stimulating rich tapestry of essays exploring the nature of action and intentionality, and discussing their role in human development. As the contributions make clear, action is an integrative concept that forms the bridge between our psychological, biological, and sociocultural worlds. Action is also integrative in the sense of entailing motivational, emotional, and cognitive systems, and this integration too is well represented in the chapters. Action is defined, and distinguished from behavior, according to its intentional quality. Thus, a constantly recurring theme in the volume involves the dialectic of action-intentionality, and specifically the questions of how and when these concepts are to be distinguished.

The Self in Action and Development: Cultural, Biosocial, and Ontogenetic Bases of Intentional Self-Development
The self in action and development: Cultural, biosocial, and ontogenetic bases of intentional self-development
JochenBrandtstädter

The view that individuals are not only products but also producers of their development is not a novel one. Organismic, interactionist, and social-constructivist paradigms have emphasized the formative role of person-environment transactions and the constructive functions of cultural tools and symbols in human ontogeny (e.g., Piaget, 1976; Valsiner, 1989; Vygotsky, 1978), and thus have contributed to the installment of human activity and interaction as the central locus of development in cultural contexts. These traditional accounts, however, have tended to conceive of ontogenetic change as a result or by-product rather than as an intentional target area of action. Thus ...

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