Lev Vygotsky has acquired the status of one of the grand masters in psychology. Following the English translation and publication of his Collected Works there has been a new wave of interest in Vygotsky, accompanied by a burgeoning of secondary literature. Ronald Miller argues that Vygotsky is increasingly being 'read' and understood through secondary sources and that scholars have claimed Vygotsky as the foundational figure for their own theories, eliminating his most distinctive contributions and distorting his theories. Miller peels away the accumulated layers of commentary to provide a clearer understanding of how Vygotsky built and developed his arguments. In an in-depth analysis of the last three chapters of Vygotsky's book Thinking and Speech, Miller provides a critical interpretation of the core theoretical concepts that constitute Vygotsky's cultural-historical theory, including the development of concepts, mediation, the zone of proximal development, conscious awareness, inner speech, word meaning and consciousness.
Ronald Miller is Emeritus Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. His teaching and research interests have been in the field of cognitive development with a particular focus on learning and change, especially in relation to academic literacy and access to higher education, and he has been involved in the study of Vygotsky and Piaget's theories for over 30 years.
1. Introduction; 2. A thematic overview; Part I. Vygotsky at Home: 3. The development of concepts; 4. The development of scientific concepts; 5. The development of scientific concepts: critique; 6. Thought and word; Part II. Vygotsky in America: 7. Michael Cole: artifact mediated action - setting the record straight; 8. James V. Wertsch: cultural tools and mediated action - getting it wrong; 9. James V. Wertsch: mediation and the zone of proximal development; 10. The essential commentators; Part III. Vygotsky over the Rainbow: 11. Vygotsky: mediation.