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Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes [Paperback]

L. S. Vygotsky , Michael Cole , Vera John-Steiner , Sylvia Scribner , Ellen Souberman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 14, 1980 0674576292 978-0674576292 14th
The great Russian psychologist L. S. Vygotsky has long been recognized as a pioneer in developmental psychology. But somewhat ironically, his theory of development has never been well understood in the West. Mind in Society should correct much of this misunderstanding. Carefully edited by a group of outstanding Vygotsky scholars, the book presents a unique selection of Vygotsky’s important essays, most of which have previously been unavailable in English. The Vygotsky who emerges from these pages can no longer be glibly included among the neobehaviorists. In these essays he outlines a dialectical-materialist theory of cognitive development that anticipates much recent work in American social science. The mind, Vygotsky argues, cannot be understood in isolation from the surrounding society. Man is the only animal who uses tools to alter his own inner world as well as the world around him. From the handkerchief knotted as a simple mnemonic device to the complexities of symbolic language, society provides the individual with technology that can be used to shape the private processes of mind. In Mind in Society Vygotsky applies this theoretical framework to the development of perception, attention, memory, language, and play, and he examines its implications for education. The result is a remarkably interesting book that is bound to renew Vygotsky’s relevance to modem psychological thought.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Now, at long last, we have a representative selection of [Vygotsky's] theoretical essays, in a new collection prepared by Michael Cole and his co-workers, under the ingenious title Mind in Society… It pieces together selections from four of Vygotsky's writings: chiefly, an unpublished monograph on 'Tool and Symbol in Children's Development' dating from 1930, and a chapter on 'The History of the Development of Higher Psychological Functions' issued previously in Russian in 1960. However, it has two solid virtues. It was prepared with the active collaboration of A. R. Luria, so it can certainly claim to be authoritative. And it provides the sense we have long needed of Vygotsky's over-all theoretical enterprise, of which his studies on thought and language are one, but only one, aspect… [The book] puts [his] ideas into a broader theoretical context, and permits us at last to sort out for ourselves how Vygotsky's work relates to that of his contemporaries and successors in the West. Most particularly, it clarifies the central role that Vygotsky allots to language and symbolic thought in shaping the structure of adult mental life. (Stephen Toulmin New York Review of Books)

This selection of Vygotsky's important writings (most were previously unavailable in English) offers the Western reader a new appreciation of the seminal contributions of one of Russia's most influential psychologists. (Psychology Today)

Vygotsky was a genius. After more than a half a century in science I am unable to name another person who even approaches his incredible analytic ability and foresight. All of my work has been no more than the working out of the psychological theory which he constructed. (A. R. Luria)

This little book is an intellectual excitement; it abounds with all manner of ideas, insights, and novel formulations. (Kevin Connolly Nature)

This is a landmark book, compulsory reading for students of developmental and adult cognition… Mind in Society should stimulate an awakened interest in Vygotsky as a contemporary force rather than a figure of historical interest. (Ann L. Brown Contemporary Psychology)

Review

Vygotsky was a genius. After more than a half a century in science I am unable to name another person who even approaches his incredible analytic ability and foresight. All of my work has been no more than the working out of the psychological theory which he constructed. (A. R. Luria) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 159 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 14th edition (November 14, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674576292
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674576292
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
(12)
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
170 of 178 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Socio-historical psychology July 23, 1999
Format:Paperback
This is one of the earliest and still one of the best introductions to socio-historical psychology, the study of how individual human intelligence develops in interaction with people and the environment. In concert with many contemporary approaches in cognitive science today, Lev Vygotsky, A.R. Luria and A.N. Leontiev argued that human intelligence is characteristically mediated through objects and social activity. Humans think through tools. Talking to oneself, for example, is not an irrelevant activity. Putting one's actions into speech is a way of focusing one's consciousness on the problem. This kind of speech is not pointless, but rather a cognitive tool that gives one a greater awareness of one's own actions and makes it easier to modify these actions--a point that Vygotsky proved with research on how children solved problems. Much of human activity involves making use of tools, signs, and activities, the kinetic melodies of action and conceptualization that make us smart, and through which we are able to accomplish the uniquely human feats of complex intellectual action. This is an excellent place to begin studying Vygotsky and activity theory. If you like this you will also like A.R. Luria's *The Making of Mind*, and the classics *The Man With A Shattered World* and *The Mind of a Mnemonist*, the books that inspired Oliver Sacks' writing.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Revisionist Vygotsky - Save your money January 4, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This reissue of a 1978 reprint is supposedly a collection of Russian psychologist Vygotsky's essays (he died in 1934) as translated from the Russian by A.R. Luria, one of his students.
The "editors" claim that after a cursory study of Luria's translations "we came to believe that the image of Vygotsky as a sort of early neobehaviorist of cognitive development - an impression held by many of our colleagues- was strongly belied by these two works." Nice. A cursory study is able to strong belie widely held impressions that are based on decades of studying Vygotsky's own 1934 book Thought and Language, among his other works.
One has to wonder at the degree to which revisionism is taking place when the editors state in the preface:
"In putting separate essays together we have taken significant liberties. The reader will encounter here not a literal translation of Vygotsky but rather our edited translation of Vygotsky from which we have omitted material that seemed redundant and to which we have added material that seemed to make his points clearer."
Hmmmm. Will the real Vygotsky please stand up!
Save your money and first get Kozulin's version of "Thought and Language." One must question the amount of trustworthy scholarship in "Mind in Society."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent book, great insights about teaching! May 1, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Vygotsky's Mind in Society is a book that will never be outdated. The insights that Vygotsky describe can be applied nowadays in the classrooms.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great thinker June 29, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book helps me see what inductive thinking really is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars informative January 20, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was perfect for my research. I am a fan of Vygotsky,and this was a easier read than I expected.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Foundations of Modern Pedagogy December 29, 2013
By ALMK
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For people studying education, this book is essential. It is much more accessible than Piaget's works, and has so much relevance to the classroom because of Vygotsky's focus on language, and learning as a social experience. Dewey's Experience & Education is another personal favorite.
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