Ferienuni – Organizing the Crisis
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Panel 3: Stetsenko & Sannino - The legacy and continuation of the cultural-historical approach
Discussant: Ines Langemeier
Moderation: Till Manderbach

From Vygotsky’s initial works onwards, development was a key dimension to the cultural- historical conception of human subjectivity, as was the centrality of thinking mind in society. The same might apply to cultural-historical psychology itself. The approach has seen a myriad of developments and interpretations, always strongly connected to its changing societal environments, during its almost 100 years of existence. Emerging in the spirit of optimism of the early Soviet Union, being then censored in the same state, just to be rehabilitated and established again. In the meantime, cultural-historical theory has traveled around the world and has - while the approaches’ further development decentered - proven to be useful to tackle a variety of questions in the humanities and social sciences in a variety of places, most notably is its increasing influence the global south. One development has been the establishment of cultural-historical activity theory as a theoretical framework, that is, however, not shared by all. Naturally, the questions of what the essence of Vygotsky’s legacy is and which of its developments should be seen as innovations or distortions is highly disputed. The contributors to this panel recently took up the task to situate the legacy and future of the approaches. They have at the same time contributed to the cultural-historical approach and cultural-historical activity theory with their own work, which will serve as a starting point to discuss the continuation of Vygotsky’s project.

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Ines Langemeyer,
Ines Langemeyer is full professor for science education, vocational education and the philosophy of education at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. She holds a diploma in psychology and a doctorate in philosophy with a special focus on vocational education. Her research focuses on teaching and learning relations research, exploring the many roles digital and other modern technologies play in mediating developing knowledge. She is interested in daily learning practices, and epistemic cultures in higher and other adult education. In her research she is drawing on historical and critical psychological theorizing.

Till Manderbach,
Till Manderbach, MSc, studied Psychology in Klagenfurt, Austria. His master's thesis dealt with agency and political orientation in the context of social exclusion and right-wing populism. He is currently working in a project for adolescents and young adults with special needs at a social welfare facility in the area of Berlin, Germany.

Annalisa Sannino,
Annalisa Sannino is Professor of Education at Tampere University, Finland. She is distinguished research fellow at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia and visiting professor at University West, Sweden and at Rhodes University, South Africa. Her research focuses on collective learning and agency formation processes in educational settings, workplaces and communities. Her work is increasingly recognized as a substantive contribution to cultural-historical activity theory and formative intervention methods with a novel theory of transformative agency. With the help of these theoretical and methodological tools, her work aims at bringing interdisciplinary scholarship in the learning sciences into active engagement to address acute challenges of societal renewal. Results of her research have been published in numerous publications across disciplines among which there are two edited books published by Cambridge University Press (2009) and Routledge (2013). Other publications include special issues she edited in the Journal of Educational Change (2008), Theory and Psychology (2011), Mind, Culture and Activity (2012), and Learning, Culture and Social Interaction (2015).

Anna Stetsenko,
Dr. Anna Stetsenko is a full Professor in Psychology and Urban Education PhD Programs at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (with previous work experiences in Russia, Germany and Switzerland). Her research is situated at the intersection of human development, philosophy, and education with particular interest in topics of agency and social transformation. Rooted in Marxism and its extension in Vygotsky's project, her works advance this project and bring out its political-critical edge while connecting to contemporary critical projects of resistance and activism. Her works have culminated in the Transformative Activist Stance approach with implications for research and a pedagogy of daring. This is reflected in the recent book The Transformative Mind: Expanding Vygotsky’s Approach to Development and Education (Cambridge University Press, 2017), which brings together and critically examines a wide spectrum of approaches to situate and further develop activist agendas of social justice and equality. She is widely published in English and Russian, and in translations into German, Italian and Portuguese.