In vygotskys work there is no reference to any

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: en social practices and individual functioning. In Vygotsky's work there is no reference to any structures or processes mediating between the interpsychological and the intrapsychological, yet, as our research has indicated, something does mediate between these two planes of development. For example, data from an interview measure of children's toy preferences suggested that while children used the category of gender to organise their choice of toys, they mistook their own idiosyncratic beliefs about the way in which particular items were marked for gender for consensual beliefs. This result does not fit with a notion of development as the simple passage from the interindividual to the intraindividual. If that were the case one might have expected children to have selected as their preference toys which were clearly marked in collective practices in the classroom. A second difficulty with the Vygotskyian formula is that the same set of collective practices gives rise to differentiated gender identities. Our observations suggested that there is little correspondence between our measure of gender identity in the Autumn Term and in the Summer Term. Across the first year of schooling there is only limited consistency in children's social practices. It is not possible to predict the frequency with which children The Development of Social Representations of Gender associate in single sex groups at the end of the school year from a knowledge of how they behaved in the Autumn Term. Yet, even in the Autumn Term children responded to the gender marking of various aspects of material culture and space. In other words, the social practices in each classroom had established clear systems of gender marking, even in at the beginning of the school year. What changed through the year was the way in which individual children positioned themselves in relation to this collective system of meaning. This process was clearer among the girls than among the boys, but it remains unclear how this process of positioning can be accounted for by the Vygotskyian formula. What is missing from Vygotsky's account is an appreciation of the significance of social identities as the structures mediating between the interpsychological and the intrapsychological. His formula describes a world in which every individual acquires the same understanding from a single set of social practices. Yet where differences emerge between individuals in relation to the same system of collective meanings this formula is inadequate. It may be worth pointing out that Vygotsky's own researches did not extend into areas of social life where differences between individuals become significant. For a Marxist psychologist, Vygotsky shows a curious indifference to the importance of social groups. However suggestive his insistence on the developmental significance of social practices may be, his work...
View Full Document

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

Ask a homework question - tutors are online