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ABS269 - Social character and the constitution of the person: language, disability and education

1.1 Social, cultural, linguistic and educational mediation
5:00 PM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (20 minutes)
Personality has been conceived and studied in many different ways throughout the History of psychological ideas. Our aim, in this presentation, is to discuss and to deepen the notions of personality and character from a historical-cultural perspective, inspired by Vygotsky’s statement that the character is the social mark, or feature, of personality, in dialogue with Erich Fromm’s concept of social character. Concomitantly to our theoretical discussions, we developed an empirical investigation involving the case of a 10-year-old student with Down Syndrome and intellectual disabilities in a Brazilian elementary public school context. We followed that student during the 4th and 5th grades. Field records and video recording were the methodological procedures to register and to construct data. The analysis of empirical material showed how the adults’ ways of signifying the student’s gestures and behavior, based on assumed negative characteristics assigned and inherent to Down Syndrome, as stubbornness, aggression and indiscipline, affected the student’s participation in teaching relations. However, in situations where the student was called to participate, based on assumptions of developmental possibilities, the above mentioned features attributed to the syndrome acquired different meanings, turning into curiosity, interest and availability. In face of such results, we draw attention to: 1. the inter/intra regulatory function language; 2. the internalisation of alien/another's words, deeply affecting the personality formation and 3. the characteristics strictly attributed to the individual or to the syndrome as social marks and features, social constructed, susceptible, therefore, of (trans)formation in/through social relations and educational practices.
University of Campinas
Universidade Estadual de Campinas
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