This book makes a decisive break from the post-modernist theoretical framework that considers knowledge as local and situation-specific. It restores the goal of construction of general knowledge to the social sciences. While recognizing the uniqueness of all human personal experience from birth to death, it emphasizes the universality of cultural organization of human minds and societies. The newly-developed hybrid of psychology, sociology, anthropology, history - cultural psychology - is fitting ground to research how human beings are social in their deeply subjective worlds. In the substantively inter-disciplinary framework of cultural psychology, the focus on phenomena becomes central to the investigation. The key to human culture is in the construction of signs - visual and verbal - and the regulation of human actions through hierarchies of signs. Socially, human beings are semiotic actors - their actions are mediated by signs as they explore the realms of life space. In terms of cognitive processes, human beings create new solutions to life's problems that cannot be based fully on life experiences nor derived from general social representations.The book focuses on the construction of semiotic methodology for the social sciences. Empirical evidence from the world over brought into discussion in order to demonstrate the basic humanity that is present and expressed in many different forms. In short, this book presents a new look at the relationship between people and society, produces a semiotic theory of cultural psychology and provides a dynamic treatment of culture in human lives.
The book makes a decisive break from the post-modernist theoretical framework that considers knowledge as local and situation-specific, restores the goal of construction of general knowledge to the social sciences.(The News on Sunday) About the Author:
Jaan Valsiner is Niels Bohr Professor of Cultural Psychology, Aalborg University, Denmark and Professor of Psychology and English, Clark University, USA
He is a cultural psychologist with a consistently developmental axiomatic base that is brought to the analyses of any psychological or social phenomena, who has been a visiting professor in Japan, Australia, Estonia, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. He is also founding editor (1995) of the Sage journal, Culture & Psychology. He has published many books, including The Guided Mind (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998), Culture and Human Development (London: Sage Publications, 2000), and Comparative Study of Human Cultural Development (Madrid: Fundacion Infancia y Aprendizaje, 2001). He has edited (with Kevin Connolly) the Handbook of Developmental Psychology (London: Sage Publications, 2003) as well as the Cambridge Handbook of Socio-cultural Psychology (2007, with Alberto Rosa). He has established the new journal on individual case analyses—International Journal of Idiographic Science (2005, www.valsiner.com)—and is the editor of Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Sciences and From Past to Future: Annals of Innovations in Psychology (from 2007, with Transaction Publishers).
In 1995, he was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Prize in Germany for his inter-disciplinary work on human development.
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