BEYOND INCLUSION TOWARDS TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION
IX international seminar “Vygotskij” | 9 - 12 April 2024
Deadline: 15 October 2023
This international seminar aims at enhancing the dialogue between the fields of theory and research inspired by Vygotskijan works on defectology in relation to educational and clinical practices. This choice is based on the idea that such studies are a thread that runs through all of Vygotsky's work and deserves special attention due to the contribution it brings for a deeper understanding of his entire theory.
Among the theoretical frameworks that were elaborated during the 20th century and continue to guide research in psychology and education, the cultural-historical perspective seems to have been the one with least influence on educational practice. However, various concepts and principles developed by Lev Vygotsky and his collaborators (the cultural- historical "school") are the grounds for current conceptions of child psychic development and the structure of the human mind.
There are several reasons that could explain this asymmetry:
(a) some of Vygotsky's works were censored during the Stalinist period because they were considered to be not in line with historical and dialectical materialism;
(b) the dissemination of Vygotsky's thought in the rest of the world took place in a misguided way due to inaccurate translations of his writings and within the framework of a socio-cognitivist interpretation of such writings;
(c) it is a very complex process to design a research (or document a practice) that adopts a cultural-historical perspective, making it less attractive than other theoretical and methodological frameworks.
A restricted and superficial knowledge of Vygotskian thought and the difficulties in reading practices from a Cultural-historical perspective represent a barrier to understand the transformative potential of this paradigm. However, today - as in the early 1900s - the work of Vygotsky and his research group offers many insights to interpret and address the epistemological and social crises of the contemporary human sciences.
This gap between theory and practice becomes paradoxical when we look at issues of inclusion in formal education. On one hand, the theoretical elaboration is indebted to the cultural-historical perspective while, on the other hand, cognitivist and behaviorist interventions remain prevalent when it comes to promote inclusion in formal education.
Nevertheless, Vygotsky's work has offered various stimuli for:
● rethinking diagnoses,
● reflecting on the labeling process,
● interpreting deficits from a developmental perspective,
● setting up an interprofessional and multidisciplinary clinic,
● understanding the role of cultural mediation,
● and positioning the participation of families and children within the system of
knowledge construction processes.
Following the format of previous seminars, the 9th Vygotsky International Seminar, to be held in Turin from 9 to 12 April 2024, will be dedicated to a critical reading of the Russian psychologist's. The next edition will explore in depth the texts collected in The Fundamental problems of Defectology. These studies allow to identify the elements that define the whole structure of the Vygotskian thought and that still today are a crucial reference to allow us to reflect on inclusion processes: the nature of the mind and it social construction, the central role of concept formation, the dialectical method, the role of cultural mediation, the historicity of human beings.
Theoretical and empirical presentations based on Cultural-historical perspective as well as inclusive professional practices will be accepted.
● Paper session: theoretical and empirical presentations followed by discussion.
● Roundtable: discursive exploration and analysis of texts or issues collected in The
Fundamental problems of Defectology or related works.
● Workshop: critical reflection on professional and institutional practices.