Invited round tables discussions will expand and enrich the dialogue among participants. The Round Tables events will take place during the afternoon on August 5th and 6th, from 2:30 p.m to 4:00 p.m.
Confirmed round tables:
Perezhivanie, subjectivity and identity: theoretical and empirical challenges
This roundtable addresses possible articulations and contradictions between three important concepts within cultural-historical psychology: perezhivanie, subjectivity and identity. Firstly, two related but different meanings of perezhivanie will be discussed. The first (P1) is a complex integral psychological phenomenon, whereas the second (P2) is a theoretical concept that allows to investigate the role and influence of the environment on development. Next, it will be shown how such an understanding of perezhivanie can open new opportunities of empirical research that might enrich the studies of subjectivity and identity. Secondly, González Rey’s concept of subjectivity will be introduced as a possible way to advance Vygotsky’s legacy. From this perspective, subjectivity is discussed on the basis of a new ontological definition that highlights it as a symbolic-emotional system. Epistemological and methodological implications of this definition of subjectivity will be addressed. Finally, the concept of identity is explored from this point of view. In particular, identity is defined as an ongoing subjective configuration on life projects and what is meaningful for a person in development. In other words, identity is a dynamic production of subjective senses about oneself. This conceptualization differs from reductionist views on identity as an intellectual self-concept or merely a result of prior experiences.
Agency in Education
The general aim of this roundtable is to discuss the concept of agency in Education. First presenter, Sannino, starts with a critical discussion of the most influential conceptualizations of agency from psychology and from sociology. Her discussion proposes an activity-theoretical perspective in which a dialectical rationale is employed to develop a conceptualization of agency that lends itself to the actual fostering of transformative capacities and contributes to the creation of conditions to concretely enact agency. Second presenter, Hopwood, will draw on two studies of the experiences of parenting in circumstances affected by adversity. This context is one where dilemmas of conflicting stimuli and motives arise frequently in mundane and everyday activities. Double stimulation is arguably a principle through which transformative ways of being, knowing and doing come into the world and change the world at the same time. Third presenter, Magalhães, discusses agency as intentional actions in dialectically organized educational contexts of coordinators’ education aimed at understanding of their own actions as well as their socio-historical and political meanings. Based on Critical Collaborative Research and on Socio-Historical Activity Theory, the focus is on the involvement of participants as active agents in making shared decisions to change educational and societal traditional practices.
Cross-disciplinary methodologies in the study of Indigenous children's learning ecologies
Studies of children’s learning in indigenous communities throughout the Americas have long argued that children’s early engagement in productive activities facilitates learning culturally relevant knowledge and skills of their communities. Participation helps children develop and enables them to transform both their activities and the settings in which they perform them. But, how does this learning process unfold in everyday activities? What are the critical elements involved in the overall learning process? The present round table documents children’s role as creators of their own learning ecologies. To this end, it brings together different cross-disciplinary approaches and methodologies from Cultural Psychology (Cervera, Jimenez and Alcalá,), Anthropology (Remorini, Desperes, and Rende) and Linguistic Anthropology (de León and Martinez). The presentations include the Yucatec Mayan and the Tsotsil Mayan from México, and the Mbya Guarani in Argentina. “Learning by Observing and Pitching In” (or LOPI, Rogoff 2014) provides the theoretical paradigm to discuss complementary methods for studying children’s learning ecologies. The four studies address children’s learning of culturally relevant activities such as medicinal knowledge, the use of tools, painting, washing, and building activities (e.g. bullrings). The cross-disciplinary methods combine ethnography, microanalysis of videographic data, workshops, questionnaires, interviews, and drawings. Results reveal the multi-faceted nature of Indigenous children’s agency in creating their own learning ecologies.
Neuropsychology in Activity: concepts and methods
Activity theory might be considered as a paradigm in general psychology with proper concepts and principles, unit of analysis, object of study and method of research. Those are closely related to concepts and principles of Vigotsky’s historical and cultural paradigm of human development, which served as a platform for Luria’s historical and cultural neuropsychology. However, there is little relation in research and practice in modern neuropsychology and concepts and principles of activity theory and cultural historical psychology. The aim of our Round Table is to open the possibility and advantages of such relation. Yulia Solovieva will define the levels of analysis for psychology and neuropsychology on the basis of activity theory. Izabel Hazin will discuss conceptual differences between approach to disabilities with and without possibility of positive compensations. Joaquim Quintino Aires will present results of work with adults with deviated behavior according to activity theory approach. The participants of the Round Table discuss the necessity of establishment of bridges between psychological activity theory instead of the paradigm of isolated cognitive functions and systemic representation of actions by functional brain systems. The participants conclude that future discussion dedicated to general and particular methodology in historical cultural neuropsychology are required.
Modeling lived activities: using activity systems for civic engagement, critical social analysis and expansive design
This round table presents three projects designed for the conscious and transformative use of activity systems as means for civic engagement, critical social analysis and expansive design. Activity systems are vastly used and criticized for its triangular model. While this may seem, for some, as a rigid model, it has also proved to be an essential tool in organizing, describing, analyzing, evaluating and designing possibilities of transformation. In this round table, Chikunda discusses how the use of activity systems together with other tools contributed to developing a relational view for the agentic overcoming of resistance and paralysis. Liberali describes how deaf and hearing students, researchers, sign language interpreters, principals, coordinators, and teachers use the activity systems in order to describe, analyze, evaluate, and create a school curriculum to foster more critical and equitable ways towards social justice. Finally, Engeström presents experiences of using representations of activity systems and related models in recent Change Laboratories serving the effort to eradicate homelessness in Finland.
Contributions of critical approaches in psychology and education to confront dehumanization produced by the global crisis of contemporary capitalism
The global capitalist economy has been in crisis for over a decade and governments in many countries have been adopting austerity policies with severe consequences for the working class. The right-wing wave in the field of politics and culture has generated enormous social regressions in several countries, including Brazil. The neoliberal policies associated with the aggressive obscurantism that has spread throughout Brazilian society have produced many strongly negative effects on people's lives and subjectivity. At the same time, however, different forms of resistance to this profound dehumanization process has been organizing in society. The purpose of this roundtable is to present analyzes and initiatives in the fields of psychology and education that are critically positioned against this context of destruction produced by society subjugated to the market’s rules.
Science Educations facing social and political crises
In times of social and political crisis, questioning the role of science education in combating injustices and promoting equity is urgent, especially when there is a widespread belief that scientific knowledge is a sort of panacea that can solve all woes of contemporary societies. Science, instead of being considered a process of knowing- transforming world, is typically taken as a set of crystallized and ahistorical rules and facts, almost an immediate expression of the reality in itself. From a philosophical point of view, this perspective reinforces the dichotomy between subject and object, between epistemology and ontology, and between production and consumption of knowledge. From an educational point of view, the consequence is that science teaching aimed at the consumption of finished knowledge that is produced by others. Conceiving science and its teaching in such a way opens up possibilities to sustain the idea of globalized curriculum and assessments that overlook local conditions and particular experiences of people. The emphasis on general and global problems leads the subjects of an educational activity to become consumers of unfruitful models without developing themselves as science producers. Staying apart of productive processes of science leads to alienation of their product, and consequently to the absence of co-responsibility in using science to solve social and political problems, solutions that are determined by those who appropriated the means of production of science. This symposium aims to discuss how science education could contribute to overcoming the contradictions that socially acute situations bring to the world we are living in nowadays. To give some hints to participants, we propose some guiding questions for discussion:
-What would be the role of science education in the face of the social, political, and environmental challenges we are dealing with in the world today?
-What should be the nature of the science taught that would allow the transformation of social activities that underpin an ecology economy to social justice and equity?
-How does CHAT contribute to the production of hopeful and transformative activities of the human future?
Social-Historical-Cultural Approaches to Social Change
The world is experiencing a dismantling of achievements in social, political and educational areas, which increases fear, anxiety and despair, as well as violence in the urban and rural landscapes. Neo-Vygotskyan researchers in the area of human development have employed Vygotsky’s theory in order to deal with new societal challenges arising in a deeply divided world. This round table aims at connecting different interpretations and ways of implementing Vygotsky’s theory across countries and continents through the lens of social justice. Striving to resist and continue to expand, we find inspiration in Freire and act together to create the “viable unheard of”. Vygotsky’s work is based on a dialectical understanding of the contradictory nature of human development as a result of dramatic tensions, conflicts, and crises. Moreover, Vygotsky’s project is internally connected with a dialectical understanding of radical social change. There is an urgent need to recontextualize, expand and develop Vygotsky’s work considering currently existing societal, environmental and educational challenges.
Higher psychological functions: critical analysis of contemporary (mis)conceptions in different research areas.
When critically discussing HPFs, as well as contemporary, common and wide-spread misconceptions used to refer to the term, some challenges are in the focus: 1) the relations between lower and higher functions in the course of development; 2) genetical (developmental) characteristics of HPFs; 3) what new research strategies for experimental and empirical research (even within different investigative paradigms) the cultural-historical concept of the development of HPF might provide for work in different areas of study. Specifically, in the field of special education, a fourth challenge will arise – and one that was a major concern of Vygotsky’s – i.e., how HPF may be developed by people with disabilities and learning difficulties. During this round table, the above matters will be discussed and the ideas put forward will be exemplified by research data produced by the proponents.
The theoretical and methodological challenges of working in the area of health, sexuality and human rights according to Vygotskian theory
The purpose of this symposium is to introduce the methodological debate necessary for work in the area of health, sexuality and refugees traversed by human rights. The globalized capitalist society we live in today naturalizes and denies the multiple determinations of the constitution of subjects. Man in a dialectical process is at the same time constituting the socio- environmental and cultural conditions in which he lives. However, these historical conditions are denied and individuals undergo a process of alienation. The subjects perceive themselves as singular and individual, appropriate the social illusions and alienating processes that deny their rights, human rights. This causes suffering where people feel without powered and passive.
Some theoretical categories of SH Psychology support our reflection: alienation, praxis, constitution of the subject; subjectivity; affectivity; identity; ethical-political suffering. In addition to the methodological categories of mediation and narratives. We will work with the guidelines of the Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS) to analyze the relationship between policy and affect in the praxis of community health agents. The focus of this debate will be the mediations and narrative constructions as empowering health professionals. Another debate will be about the clinical practice of sexuality, which will take as reference the categories of consciousness and unconscious, the constitution of the sexual subject and, consequently, gender and sexual identity and the denaturalization of these processes. Therefore, we will reflect on a clinical praxis that develops the consciousness of social being and enhances this subject to assume an active position, thus advancing beyond the passivity that capitalist society puts it and that the traditional clinical model corroborates, making the subject purposely powerless to maintain and thus perpetuate power relations.
Philosophy/psychology and pedagogy of resistance: Activist research in the era of the global crisis
This round table will address the core issues involved in moving forward with the activist and transformative research and scholarship that take up the challenge of envisioning and implementing radical alternatives to the existing status quo of the neoliberal world order. The topics of historicity, objectivity, emancipation, agency, and political non-neutrality of knowledge will be debated. Participants will consider the significance and implications of a socially transformative view of cooperation/collaboration grounded in Marx’s ‘materialist conception of history’, Vygotsky’s vision for human development and education grounded in solidaristic communities, and other radical insurgent frameworks. The critical method to be implemented includes unveiling contradictions in current global and local practices, apprehending their constitutive mediations and creating means to collaborate in order to carry out transformative praxis. In addition, connections will be drawn to contemporary theories such as Critical Race theory and decolonial approaches with the goal of reinvigorating the radical-insurgent potential of current scholarship.