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Sociocultural Approaches to Learning and Development

  • By: Jennifer A. Vadeboncoeur & Louai Rahal
  • In: Sociology of Education: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: James Ainsworth
  • Subject:Sociology of Education (general), Sociology of Education, Education Policy

Sociocultural approaches to understanding human learning and development emerged from the work of Lev S. Vygotsky and his colleagues in the 1920s and 1930s. English translations of published and unpublished material began to surface in the 1960s, his collected works were published between 1987 and 1998, and additional previously unpublished work continues to be translated into English as recently as 2011. Although scholars today use various names to refer to the field—including sociocultural, cultural-historical, and sociohistorical psychology—they agree that human learning and development are historical, cultural, and social processes.

Committed to developing a Marxist psychology, in order to both describe and explain the uniquely human psychological functions that constitute human consciousness, Vygotsky argued that learning and development be studied using the genetic method. This method ...

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