The Sociocultural Turn in Psychology
The Contextual Emergence of Mind and Self
Suzanne Kirschner & Jack Martin
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The sociocultural turn in psychology treats psychological subjects, such as the mind and the self, as processes that are constituted, or "made up," within specific social and cultural practices. In other words, though one's distinct psychology is anchored by an embodied, biological existence, sociocultural interactions are integral to the evolution of the person.
Only in the past two decades has the sociocultural turn truly established itself within disciplinary and professional psychology. Providing advanced students and practitioners with a definitive understanding of these theories, Suzanne R. Kirschner and Jack Martin, former presidents of the American Psychological Association's Division of the Society for Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, assemble a collection of essays that describes the discursive, hermeneutic, dialogical, and activity approaches of sociocultural psychology. Each contribution recognizes psychology as a human science and supports the individual's potential for agency and freedom. At the same time, they differ in their understanding of a person's psychological functioning and the best way to study it. Ultimately the sociocultural turn offers an alternative to overly biological or interiorized theories of the self, emphasizing instead the formation and transformation of our minds in relation to others and the world.