• 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. He is the first Niels Bohr Professor of Cultural Psychology at Aalborg University in Denmark, where he leads Europe's first Research Centre on Cultural Psychology.

Co-Constructing the Mind Socially: Beyond a Communion
Co-constructing the mind socially: Beyond a communion

Communion1 is a poor theoretical idea for psychology. Its centrality in the histories of religions is understandable as it operates to bind a person to a belief system through shared rituals. Its goal is homogenization of the social world—a necessary condition for any institution to execute its social control. In contrast, the actual life—characterized by development—is built on the opposite process of heterogenization, a proliferation of qualitative differences both within and between individuals.2 All biological, psychological, and social processes are oriented towards constant heterogenization, which, in other terms, amounts to a constant breaking of the communion. In order for new forms—in psyche or society—to develop, the possibility to counter-act any homogeneity is ...

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