January 26, 2013
During January I’ve been writing a new introduction to Fred Newman’s and my 1993 book, Lev Vygotsky: Revolutionary Scientist for the new “Classic Edition” Routledge’s Psychology Press will be releasing later in 2013. Part of my process has been doing a lot of searches, mostly on Google Scholar and Amazon, to see what are the newer books on Vygotsky and also to get a broader view than I have of the impact of the book in academia. That’s hard to come by. Other authors cite you; some even discuss your ideas at length. But they rarely let you know that. I’ve always found that odd—alienated, really—and make a point to email authors whose work I’ve discovered (and discovered worthy) to let them know they and their work are being experienced and appreciated. Despite my own uncertainty about impact, I take Routledge’s decision to republish the book as a classic as a good sign.
In the new introduction, I’m writing of how Vygotsky’s influence has greatly expanded across the social sciences, education, and the humanities, and among practitioners—not just teachers, but social workers, therapists, consultants, doctors and nurses as well. I’m also writing of how Newman’s and my uniquely developmental and methodological Vygotsky (we took pains to refer to “our Vygotsky” in the book) has been deepened by virtue of the many, many practitioners in the US and elsewhere whose work has been influenced by it.
As a player in the global swirl of activity in which Vygotsky is playing a part, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to examine anew Newman’s and my book, the ideas it presents, the practices that inspired it, and speculate on its current relevance in the very changed political landscape of the second decade of the 21st century.