Penn State

Matthew E. Poehner - Associate Professor of World Languages Education and Applied Linguistics, Penn State University Park

Book Title: The collected works of L.S. Vygotsky, Volume 3: Problems of the theory and history of psychology

Author: L. S. Vygotsky (Author); R. W. Rieber & J. Wollock (Eds.)

Book Description:

Volume 3 of L. S. Vygotsky's Collected Works contains his seminal piece, The historical meaning of the crisis in psychology. A methodological investigation. While The Crisis may not be as widely known as some of Vygotsky's other works, it is here that he offers the most concise statement of his intellectual and practical enterprise. The Crisis may certainly be read and appreciated as a historical text documenting one individual's struggle to analyze major tendencies in the field of psychology in the early Twentieth Century and to propose a set of alternatives. However, this would miss its significance to other fields within the human and social sciences and during other periods of time, including the present. In The Crisis, Vygotsky argues, among other things, for a way of thinking about science that brings together theory and research with practical activity. The implications of Vygotsky's position were surely not fully appreciated by most of his contemporaries, and indeed modern readers will also be challenged by his propositions. I am convinced that it is well worth the effort to engage with Vygotsky's thinking here. It has, perhaps more than any other single text, influenced my own work in the area of world languages education and applied linguistics. It is a text to which I return frequently and one that always leads me to new questions and ideas.

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