An Explication of Vygotskian Sociocultural Theory as Evidenced by Ethomethodological Findings

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran


For centuries the speculations on man's mental functioning posed a great challenge for the scholars in various disciplines such as philosophy, psychology, sociocultural studies, education, ethnolinguistics, discourse analysis, literary criticism. Researchers have been pondering over the ticklish question: is it the mind making the human society, or is it the society that shapes up the human mind? Researchers not informed in Vygotsky's contribution to the resolution of the issue, may still find the vicious circular question glaring in the face. But thanks to Vygotsky's sociocultural theory (SCT), the hazy horizon has cleared away and today we are convinced of the truth of Vygotsky's claim that man's mental functioning is mediated by sociocultural artifacts (physical and psychological tools) which imbue us with the capacity the shape natural environment, and in so doing change the natural circumstances in which we live, and the capacity to organize and gain voluntary control over our biologically specified mental functioning. The pivotal concept in this outlook is that man, released from biological constraints, emerges as the master of his own destiny. It goes without saying that a conception as such invests the educationists, social reformers, statesmen with a grave responsibility regarding the necessity of providing appropriate conditions for individual's cognitive, ethical and social development. Indeed, Vygotsky's position on the genesis of man's higher mental functioning which is said to be hinging on the social, cultural, and historical variables provides a viable solution to the mind-society enigma. This said, we intend to submit some ethnomethodological evidence in support of Vygotsky's claim regarding the genesis of man's higher mental conditioning.


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