Vygotsky Circle

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The Vygotsky Circle (also known as Vygotsky–Luria Circle[1][2]) was an influential informal network of psychologists, educationalists, medical specialists, physiologists, and neuroscientists, associated with Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934) and Alexander Luria (1902–1977), active in 1920-early 1940s in the Soviet Union (Moscow, Leningrad and Kharkiv). 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, also referred to as "Vygotsky boom" incorporated 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.[3][4] 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.[3]

The Circle included altogether around three dozen individuals at different periods, including 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. German-American psychologist Kurt Lewin and Russian film director and art theorist Sergei Eisenstein are also mentioned as the "peripheral members" of the Circle.

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.[5]: 427–428  The group grew incrementally and operated in Moscow, Kharkiv, and Leningrad; all in the Soviet Union. From the beginning of World War II 1 Sept 1939 to the start of the Great Patriotic War, 22 June 1941, several centers of post-Vygotskian research were formed by Luria, Leontiev, Zankov, and Elkonin. The Circle ended, however, when the Soviet Union was invaded by Germany to start the Great Patriotic War.

However, by the end of 1930s 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 considerably downplayed or forgotten.[5]

Vygotsky Circle collaborators[edit]

Source:[5] 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
  • Rakhil’ Markovna Boskis
  • Lidiya Il’inichna Bozhovich
  • Izrail’ Isaakovich Danyushevskii
  • Nikolai Fedorovich Dobrynin
  • Marina Borisovna Eidinova
  • Sergei Mikhailovich Eisenstein
  • Daniil Borisovich El’konin
  • 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
  • Zhozefina Il’inichna Shif
  • Liya Solomonovna Slavina
  • Ivan Mikhailovich Solov’ev (alias Solov’ev-El’pidinskii)
  • Boris Efimovich Varshava
  • Ksenia Ivanovna Veresotskaya
  • Leonid Vladimirovich Zankov
  • Alexander Zaporozhets
  • Bluma Zeigarnik
  • Evald Ilyenkov

Similar academic unions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Yasnitsky, A. & van der Veer, R. (Eds.) (2015). Revisionist Revolution in Vygotsky Studies. London and New York: Routledge
  2. ^ Yasnitsky, A., van der Veer, R., Aguilar, E. & García, L.N. (Eds.) (2016). Vygotski revisitado: una historia crítica de su contexto y legado. Buenos Aires: Miño y Dávila Editores
  3. ^ 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 (4): 422–457. doi:10.1007/s12124-011-9168-5. PMID 21667127. S2CID 207392569.
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ 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. PMID 21667127. S2CID 207392569.