For this year’s Annual Meeting of the American Education Research Association in Chicago, I organized a symposium to bring Vygotsky’s relevance to bear on the conference theme of “social justice.” It worked! Those who attended the symposium—which I titled Vygotsky and Social Justice: Community Education and Community Development”—told me how thankful they were to see Vygotsky in a new light and to hear about such exciting projects as the ones the presenters spoke about.They were inspired to see the work of building community as linked to human development and vice versa.
The presenters were myself, Colette Daiute from the CUNY Graduate Center, Ana Iddings and Eliza Butler from the University of Arizona, and David Cherry from the All Stars Project Chicago. I think what was compelling to the audience was that while each of us sees a strong social justice imperative in Vygotsky’s approach, we represent different communities—the university and independently funded non-profits—each with a different approach to scholarship and to what scholar-community partnerships at both local and international levels can look like.
In the near future I hope to have all four presentations to share. For the moment, however, I only have mine, in which I introduce some activists for development who have made use of Vygotsky as a foerunner of a psychology of becoming. For the presentation I drew upon the East Side Institute’s 20+ years experience in collaborating with hundreds of NGOs and individual scholars and community educators and activists in nearly 40 countries through its study and training programs, international conferences and institutional partnerships. After noting the key features of Vygotsky’s work that I and they make use of, I let them speak for themselves. Read it here—Vygotsky on the Margins: A Global Search for Method