Vygotsky Circle

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Vygotsky Circle - an informal personal network of scholars associated with Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) and Alexander Luria (1902-1977) active in 1920-early 1940s in the Soviet Union (Moscow, Leningrad, and Kharkov). The group comprised mostly psychologists, educationalists, medical specialists, physiologists, and neuroscientists, and included such individuals as Leonid Sakharov, Boris Varshava, Nikolai Bernstein, Solomon Gellerstein, Mark Lebedinsky, Leonid Zankov, Aleksei N. Leontiev, Alexander Zaporozhets, Daniil Elkonin, Lydia Bozhovich, Bluma Zeigarnik, Filipp Bassin, and many others (altogether around three dozen individuals at different periods, see below for a detailed list of Vygotsky Circle Collaborators). German-American psychologist Kurt Lewin and Russian film director and art theorist Sergei Eisenstein are also mentioned as the "peripheral members" of the Circle. The Vygotsky cult is also known as the "Vygotsky Boom."[1] The work of the Circle contributed to the foundation of the integrative science of mind, brain, and behavior in their cultural and bio-social development also known under somewhat vague and imprecise name of cultural-historical psychology. The Vygotsky Circle incorporates the ideas of social and interpersonal relations, the practices of empirical scientific research, and "Stalinist Science" based on the discursive practices of the Soviet science in the 1930s.[2] The group dispersed after the German invasion of the Soviet Union at the beginning of World War II, but the influence of its former members was quite notable in Soviet science of the postwar period, especially after Soviet psychology finally came to power in early 1960s. A problem with the theories of the Vygotsky Circle and connecting it to the present generation is the biases and misconceptions with the history of Soviet Psychology.[1]

History of the Circle[edit]

The Vygotsky Circle was formed around 1924 in Moscow after Vygotsky moved there from the provincial town of Gomel in Belarus. There at the Institute of Psychology he met graduate students Zankov, Solov'ev, Sakharov, and Varshava, as well as future collaborator Aleksander Luria.[3]:427–428 The group grew incrementally and operated in Moscow, Kharkov, and Leningrad (all in the Soviet Union). The circle ended, however, in the early 1940s when the Soviet Union was invaded by Germany during the Great Patriotic War in 1941. Since then and until the beginning of World War II several centers of post-Vygotskian research were formed by Luria, Leontiev, Zankov, and Elkonin. However, as a result of growing control over science and following a period of political persecutions of Stalin's Great Terror a new center was formed around 1939 under the leadership of Luria and Leontiev. In the after-war period this developed into the so-called the "School of Vygotsky-Leontiev-Luria". Recent studies show that this "school" never existed as such.

There are two problems that are related to the Vygotsky circle. First was the historical recording of the Soviet psychology with innumerable gaps in time and prejudice. Second was the almost exclusive focus on the person, Lev Vygotsky, himself to the extent that the scientific contributions of other notable characters have been forgotten.[3]

Vygotsky Circle Collaborators[edit]

[3] Note: This list does not include some of Luria’s collaborators of 1920-30s and those members of the Kharkov group of researchers who did not work directly with Vygotsky;

  • Vladimir Alekseevich Artemov
  • Roza Abramovna Averbukh
  • Filipp Veniaminovich Bassin
  • Nikolai Aleksandrovich Bernstein
  • Esfir’ Solomonovna Bein (Bejn)
  • Gita Vasil’evna Birenbaum
  • Boskis Rakhil’ Markovna
  • Lidiya Il’inichna Bozhovich
  • Danyushevskii Izrail’ Isaakovich
  • Nikolai Fedorovich Dobrynin
  • Marina Borisovna Eidinova
  • Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein
  • El’konin Daniil Borisovich
  • Frida Iosifovna Fradkina
  • Solomon Grigor’evich Gellerstein
  • Liya Solomonovna Geshelina
  • Nina Nikolaevna Kaulina
  • Vladimir Mikhailovich Kogan
  • Tat’yana Efimovna Konnikova
  • Yuliya Vladimirovna Kotelova
  • Mark Samuilovich Lebedinskii (Lebedinsky)
  • Mira Abramovna Levina
  • Roza Evgen’evna Levina
  • Aleksei N. Leontiev
  • Kurt Lewin
  • Aleksandr Romanovich Luria
  • Nataliya Aleksandrovna Menchinskaya
  • Nataliya Grigor’evna Morozova
  • E.I. Pashkovskaya
  • Mariya Semenovna Pevzner
  • Leonid Solomonovich Sakharov
  • Nikolai Vasil’evich Samukhin
  • A.A. Shein
  • Vera Schmidt (psychoanalyst)
  • Zhozefina Il’inichna Shif
  • Liya Solomonovna Slavina
  • Ivan Mikhailovich Solov’ev (alias Solov’ev-El’pidinskii)
  • Boris Efimovich Varshava
  • K.I. Veresotskaya
  • Leonid Vladimirovich Zankov
  • Alexander Zaporozhets
  • Bluma Zeigarnik

Similar academic unions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Yasnitsky, Anton (2011). "Vygotsky Circle as a Personal Network of Scholars:Restoring Connections Between People and Ideas". Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science 45: 422–457. doi:10.1007/s12124-011-9168-5. 
  2. ^ Yasnitsky, A. (2009). Vygotsky Circle during the Decade of 1931-1941: Toward an Integrative Science of Mind, Brain, and Education. University of Toronto , 1-147. Retrieved from: https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/19140/1/Yasnitsky_Anton_200911_PhD_thesis.pdf
  3. ^ a b c Yasnitsky, Anton (2011). "Vygotsky Circle as a Personal Network of Scholars: Restoring Connections Between People and Ideas". Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science 45 (4): 422–457. doi:10.1007/s12124-011-9168-5.