• 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.

Cultural Processes on the Borders: Constructive Internalization and Externalization
Cultural processes on the borders: Constructive internalization and externalization

The human body is the arena for the double process of internalization and externalization. Both parts of this dual process are constructive—they transform the “in-coming” messages into a new form (internalization) and compose new messages on the “output” for the social world to experience—and further internalize. Persons actively decompose messages—communicated to them by signs—and re-compose them into new intra-psychic patterns which are then constructively brought to the sphere of accessibility by others. Through such a two-fold process—analysis and synthesis—human beings remain related to one another while creating one's subjective uniqueness. This, in a nutshell, is the realm covered in this chapter: the semiotic mediation happens on the borders.

Human ...

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