Intended as supplemental reading in courses on theories of development, this book augments traditional core texts by providing students with more depth on about two dozen recent and emerging theories that have appeared over the past 20 years. This period has seen a decline of the traditional "grand" theories that attempt to apply to all people all the time in favor of "micro theories" that focus more on individual differences, so a book like this actually points the way toward the future rather than dryly reviewing the past. In addition, the author inspects the changing ways in which the concept of "theory" itself has been interpreted during this period, and he concludes with a chapter suggesting future directions.
Chapter 6: Beyond Vygotsky
Like the Swiss developmentalist Piaget, the Russian developmentalist Lev Semenovich Vygotsky (1896–1934) exemplifies an early 20th-century theorist whose work continued to stimulate extensions during the 1980–2000 era. The theories described in this chapter illustrate three ways Vygotsky's proposals from the early decades of the century affected recent theorists' models. The schemes I selected from among numbers of possibilities are (a) Valsiner's cultural-historical development theory, (b) Siegler's microgenetic data-gathering proposal, and (c) Kemler's revision of a traditional differentiation hypothesis.
A Cultural-Historical Perspective
Jaan Valsiner is a highly productive developmental psychologist who was born and schooled in Estonia when that country was still part of the Soviet Union. After earning a doctorate in psychology at Tartu University in the 1970s, he immigrated to the United States ...