ABS114 - The motivating sphere of consciousness: Vygotskian conceptualisations of the individual subject in contemporary CHAT research

1.5 Other topics related to Theme 1
Paper in a Working Group Roundtable (WGRT)
Thursday 31 Aug 11:00 AM (1 hour)
Midday Meal   12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (1 hour 30 minutes)
The subjectivity of individuals who contribute to and develop through collective activity is an important issue to consider in cultural-historical activity theory (Engeström, 2009). In considering the question of the individual subject in cultural-historical theory —this riddle of the self (Mikhailov, 1980) that continues to challenge CHAT researchers— the notion of consciousness is central. In this roundtable, which brings together leading and emerging voices in contemporary CHAT literature, our aim is to discuss the relations between the individual and the social planes of activity taking as a point of departure Vygotsky’s seminal work on the primacy of the social in the development of human consciousness. Instead of a divide between an ideal individual on the one hand, and a material social world on the other, Vygotsky sees in the social sphere of life the genetical origins of individual consciousness. In Thinking and Speech, he studies the relation between, verbal thinking, word and the motivating sphere of consciousness (Vygotsky, 1987). It is in this sphere, which “includes our inclinations and needs, our interests and impulses, and our affect and emotion” that “thought has its origins” (p. 282). This motivating sphere of consciousness affects the collective and subjective planes of activity through a volition and affective investment. Subjectivity manifests itself in movement when subjects act as social subjects in collaborative processes (Stetsenko, 2013). In this roundtable, we will take as the basis for our theoretical discussion the late Vygotsky's ideas of considering the motivating sphere of consciousness as a central problem in CHAT investigations.
Université de Sherbrooke
University of Oslo
The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY) (New York, NY, United States)
Université de Sherbrooke
Brooklyn College

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