Research Article Open Access

The Rise of Abstract Thinking in History. The Developmental Approach Illuminates the Foundations of the Russian Socio-Historical Psychology

Georg Oesterdiekhoff1
  • 1 Karlsruhe Institute for Sociology, Germany

Abstract

Luria's empirical study in Uzbekistan and Kirgistan belongs to the core of the Russian School of Socio-Historical Psychology. The goal of this article is to examine that research again and to disclose their true fundamentals. All the tests Luria had used in Central Asia come from developmental psychology. However, neither Luria nor his followers fully understood the foundations and consequences of that research, something the article makes very clear. The article exposes that the results really show that illiterate people from Central Asia have the same negative test results as preschool or primary school children, while the literate people solved the test items as successfully as older school children do. The present paper shows firstly that Luria does not always make it clear that the test procedures originate in developmental psychology. The study secondly works out that Luria does not present the test results won by child psychology and does not compare them with his test results obtained in adults. It is demonstrated thirdly that the positions of Luria, Cole and Scribner, according to which the test results are not useful for demonstrating similarities between children and adults of pre-modern cultures, are wrong. The article fourthly evidences the parallels between ontogenetic cognitive structures and those of pre-modern adult cognitive structures as something Luria had actually proven without realizing it. The article fifthly evidences that every single task Luria had used originates in developmental psychology.  This study shows for the first time that neither Luria himself nor his subsequent interpreters have really understood the scientific significance of his empirical results.

Journal of Social Sciences
Volume 18 No. 1, 2022, 69-83

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3844/jssp.2022.69.83

Submitted On: 10 January 2022 Published On: 2 April 2022

How to Cite: Oesterdiekhoff, G. (2022). The Rise of Abstract Thinking in History. The Developmental Approach Illuminates the Foundations of the Russian Socio-Historical Psychology. Journal of Social Sciences, 18(1), 69-83. https://doi.org/10.3844/jssp.2022.69.83

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Keywords

  • Piagetian Theory
  • Russian Cultural-Historical School of Psychology
  • Developmental Stages
  • Higher Psychological Processes
  • Literacy and Illiteracy
  • Education and Socialization
  • Cultural Relativism