Anna Stetsenko
ifk Visiting Fellow

Zeitraum des Fellowships:
15. September 1995 bis 15. November 1995

Cultural-Historical Theory in Psychology. Vygotsky and Piaget. Two Versions of Constructivism in Psychology


In the course of crisis in psychology at the beginning of XXth century new psychological orientations came into being - behaviorism, gestalt-psychology, structuralism, psychoanalysis etc. When it became evident that these approaches were unsatisfactory, especially in their ability to deal with human meaning-making practices, these became an excuse to reintroduce old mentalism (under the guise of cognitivism) and to ignore the serious behaviorist critique of mentalist approaches. Very important ideas of redefining the subject matter of psychology can be found in the works of Piaget and Vygotsky, who introduced different in certain aspects but similar in their metatheoretical orientation constructivist view of human mind. Their ideas constitute a foundation for a new paradigm in psychology which can help to come out of the prolonged crisis a century after its beginning. I will analyse the main assumptions of constructivism of Vygotsky and Piaget and compare them to those lines of thinking in the pursuit of a new paradigm which are evolving in the present-day psychology (e.g. ideas of discoursive analysis of R. Harre, anthropological psychology, dynamic systems approach, feminist perspectives and others.


Anna Stetsenko, Psychologin, studierte Entwicklungspsychologie und Allgemeine Psychologie in Moskau, seit 1993 Assistant-Professor am Institut für Psychologie, Abteilung für Entwicklungspsychologie, Universität Bern, Post-graduate Forschungsmitglied des Max Planck Instituts für Entwicklung und Erziehung, Berlin. Ihre Arbeitsschschwerpunkte umfassen Theoretische Psychologie, den kulturhistorischen Zugang zur Psychologie und seine Bedeutung für das Studium der individuellen Entwicklung, Philosophie der Psychologie: Konstruktivismus versus Positivismus.


(Auswahl): "The concept of an 'Image of the World' and some problems in the ontogeny of consciousness." In: Soviet psychology, vol. 27, 4, p. 6-24. "Vygotsky: Reflections on the reception and further development of bis thought." In: Multidisciplinary Newsletter for Activity Theory, 13/14, p. 38-45. "The psychological function of children's drawing: A Vygotskian perspective." In: G. Thomas and C. Lange-Kuettner (Eds.), Drawing and Looking. Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1994.