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Lev Simkhovich (Semionovich) Výgodskii
November 17, 1896
|Died||June 11, 1934 (aged 37)|
|Alma mater||Imperial Moscow University (1917) (unfinished);|
Shaniavskii Moscow City People's University
|Known for||Cultural-historical psychology, zone of proximal development, inner speech|
|Roza Noevna Vygodskaia (née Smekhova)|
|Institutions||Moscow State University|
|Notable students||Alexander Luria|
|Influences||Baruch Spinoza, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Alexander Potebnia, Alfred Adler, Kurt Koffka, Kurt Lewin, Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler, Kurt Goldstein, Karl Marx, Jean Piaget|
|Influenced||Vygotsky Circle, Evald Ilyenkov, Urie Bronfenbrenner|
Lev Vygotsky (Russian: ?, IPA: [v?'?otskj]; November 17 [O.S. November 5] 1896 - June 11, 1934) was a Soviet psychologist, the founder of an unfinished Marxist theory of human cultural and bio-social development sometimes referred to as "sociocultural theory" but more commonly and correctly accepted as "cultural-historical psychology" (although the phrase never actually occurred in Vygotsky's writings), a prominent advocate for a "science of Superman", a new psychological theory of consciousness and its relationship to the development of higher psychological functions, as well as the leader of the Vygotsky Circle (also referred to as "Vygotsky-Luria Circle").
Despite his claim for a "new psychology" that he foresaw as a "science of the Superman" of the Communist future, Vygotsky's main work was in developmental psychology. In order to fully understand the human mind, he believed one must understand its genesis. Consequently, the majority of his work involved the study of infant and child behavior, as well as the development of language acquisition (such as the importance of pointing and inner speech) and the development of concepts.
Early in the psychological research period of his career (1920s), which focused upon mechanistic and reductionist "instrumental psychology" in many ways inspired by the work of Ivan Pavlov (his theory of "higher nervous activity") and Vladimir Bekhterev (and his "reflexologist" followers), Vygotsky argued that human psychological development could be formed through the use of meaningless (i.e., virtually random) signs that he viewed as psychological equivalent of instrument use in human labor and industry. It was later during the "holistic" period of his career (first half of 1930s) that Vygotsky rejected this earlier reductionist views on signs.
At some point (around 1929-30) Vygotsky came to disagree with Piaget's understanding of learning and development, and held a different theoretical position than Piaget on the topic of inner speech; Piaget asserted that egocentric speech in the child "dissolved away" as she matured, while Vygotsky maintained that egocentric speech became internalized, what we now call "inner speech". Yet, in early 1930s he radically changed his mind on Piaget's theory and openly praised him for his discovery of the social origin of children's speech, reasoning and moral judgements.
Nearing the end of his life, Vygotsky's later work involved adolescent development. However, his most important and widely-known contribution is his theory for the development of "higher psychological functions," which considers human psychological development as emerging through unification of interpersonal connections and actions taken within a given socio-cultural environment (i.e., language, culture, society, and tool-use). Vygotsky eventually came to dialogue with the mainstream Gestalt line of thought and adopted a more holistic approach to understanding development. Under the increasing influence from the holistic thinking of the scholars primarily associated with German-American Gestalt psychology movement Vygotsky adopted their views on "psychological systems" and--inspired by Kurt Lewin's "Topological (and vector) psychology"--and introduced the enigmatic construct of the "zone of proximal development". It was during this period that he identified the play of young children as their "leading activity", which he understood to be the main source of preschoolers' psychological development, and which he viewed as an expression of an inseparable unity of emotional, volitional, and cognitive development. At this time Vygotsky fully revealed his long-time interest in the philosophy of Spinoza, who would remain one of his favorite thinkers throughout his life. A fervent Spinozist in many respects, Vygotsky was profoundly influenced by Spinoza's thought, largely in response to Spinoza's examinations concerning human emotion. As his work matured, Spinoza's thought became a more central visitation in Vygotsky's later work, increasingly focused on the issue of human emotion and its role in higher psychological functions and development that he largely omitted in his earlier work and utterly needed for creating a holistic psychological theory.
As early as in mid-1920s, Vygotsky's ideas were introduced in the West, but he remained virtually unknown until the early 1980s when the popularity among educators of the constructivist developmental psychology and educational theory of Jean Piaget (1896-1980) started to decline and, in contrast, Vygotsky's notion of the "zone of proximal development" became a central component of the development of the so-called "social constructivist" turn in developmental and, primarily, educational psychology and practice. A Review of General Psychology study, published in 2002, ranked Vygotsky as the 83rd top psychologist of the twentieth century and the third (and the last) Russian on the top-100 list after Ivan Pavlov and Vygotsky's longtime collaborator Alexander Luria.
During the early twenty-first century, several scholarly reevaluations of the popular version (sometimes disparagingly termed "Vygotsky cult", "the cult of Vygotsky", or even "the cult of personality around Vygotsky") of Vygotsky's legacy have been undertaken and is referred to as the "revisionist revolution in Vygotsky Studies". One possible reason for this historical phenomenon is that to study Vygotsky and his work is not a straightforward endeavor because much of his theoretical study was not completed during his lifetime. While many well-meaning educators seek ways to simplify his concepts to promote interest and their use, critics maintain that doing so has had the unfortunate outcome of serious misconceptions about the theoretical work and its development, with increasingly excessive errors propagated over time. Consequently, because of these misrepresentations, it is feared Vygotsky's contributions are diminishing in scholarly value.
Specifically, modern Vygotsky studies conducted within the framework of the "revisionist turn" during the 2010s revealed not only systematic and massive falsifications and distortions of Vygotsky's legacy, but also demonstrated a rapid decrease of this author's popularity in international scholarship that began in 2016-2017 and strikingly accelerated in 2018. This situation has been described as the "Vygotsky bubble" (" ?"; also, informally, the "vygo_bubble") and is a foundational crisis in global "Vygotskiana". The reasons of this crisis are not entirely clear yet and are being discussed in scholarly circles.
Lev Semionovich Vygotsky (Russian: ?, IPA: [v?'?otskj]; November 17 [O.S. November 5] 1896 - June 11, 1934) was born to the Vygodskii family in the town of Orsha, Belarus (then belonging to Russian Empire) into a non-religious middle-class family of Russian Jewish extraction. His father Simkha Vygodskii was a banker. Lev Vygodskii was raised in the city of Gomel, where he was homeschooled until 1911 and then obtained formal degree (with distinction) in a private Jewish Gimnasium, which allowed him entrance to a university. In 1913 Lev Vygodskii was admitted to the Moscow University by mere ballot through a "Jewish Lottery": at the time a three percent Jewish student quota was administered for entry in Moscow and Saint Petersburg universities. He had interest in humanities and social sciences, but at the insistence of his parents he applied to the medical school in Moscow University. During the first semester of study he transferred to the law school. There he studied law and, in parallel, he attended lectures at fully official, but privately funded and non degree granting Shaniavskii Moscow City People's University". His early interests were in the arts and, primarily, in the topics of the history of the Jewish people, the tradition, culture and Jewish identity. In contrast, during this period he was highly critical of the ideas of both socialism and Zionism, and proposed the solution of the "Jewish question" by return to the traditional Jewish Orthodoxy. His own academics, however, included a wide field of studies including linguistics, psychology, and philosophy.
Lev Vygotsky never completed his formal studies at the Imperial Moscow University and, thus, he never obtained a university degree: his studies were interrupted by the October Bolshevik uprising in 1917 in the country's capital Petrograd and the second largest city Moscow. Following these events, he left Moscow and eventually returned to Gomel, where he lived after the October Socialist Revolution of 1917 occurred. There is virtually no information about his life during the years in Gomel (that administratively belonged to the Ukrainian State at the time) after the German occupation during the WWI, until the Bolsheviks captured the town in 1919. After that, he was an active participant of major social transformation under the Bolshevik (Communist) rule and a fairly prominent representative of the Bolshevik government in Gomel from 1919 to 1923. By the early 1920s, as reflected in his journalistic publications of the time, he informally changed his Jewish-sounding birth name, 'Lev Símkhovich Výgodskii' (Russian: ?), with the surname becoming Vygótskii and the patronymic 'Símkhovich' becoming the Slavic 'Semiónovich'. It was under this pen-name that the fame subsequently came to him. His daughters (subsequently born in 1925 and 1930) and other relatives, though, preserved their original family name 'Vygodskii'. The traditional English spelling of his last name nowadays is 'Vygotsky'.
In January 1924, Vygotsky took part in the Second All-Russian Psychoneurological Congress in Petrograd (soon thereafter renamed Leningrad). After the Congress, Vygotsky received an invitation to become a research fellow at the Psychological Institute in Moscow. Vygotsky moved to Moscow with his new wife, Roza Smekhova. He began his career at the Psychological Institute as a "staff scientist, second class". By the end of 1925, Vygotsky completed his dissertation in 1925 entitled, "The Psychology of Art", that was not published until the 1960s and a book entitled, "Pedagogical Psychology", that apparently was created on the basis of lecture notes that he prepared in Gomel while he was a psychology instructor at local educational establishments. In the summer of 1925 he made his first and only trip abroad to a London congress on the education of the deaf. Upon return to the Soviet Union, he was hospitalized due to relapse of tuberculosis and, having miraculously survived, would remain an invalid and out of work until the end of 1926. His dissertation was accepted as the prerequisite of scholarly degree, which was awarded to Vygotsky in fall 1925 in absentia.
After his release from the hospital Vygotsky did theoretical and methodological work on the crisis in psychology, but never finished the draft of the manuscript and interrupted his work on it around mid-1927. The manuscript was published later with notable editorial interventions and distortions in 1982 and was presented by the editors as one of the most important Vygotsky's works. In this early manuscript, Vygotsky argued for the formation of a general psychology that could unite the naturalist objectivist strands of psychological science with the more philosophical approaches of Marxist orientation. However, he also harshly criticized those of his colleagues who attempted to build a "Marxist Psychology" as an alternative to the naturalist and philosophical schools. He argued that if one wanted to build a truly Marxist Psychology, there were no shortcuts to be found by merely looking for applicable quotes in the writings of Marx. Rather one should look for a methodology that was in accordance with the Marxian spirit.
From 1926-30 Vygotsky worked on a research program investigating the development of higher cognitive functions of logical memory, selective attention, decision making, and language comprehension, from early forms of primal psychological functions. During this period he gathered a group of collaborators including Alexander Luria, Boris Varshava, Alexei Leontiev, Leonid Zankov, and several others. Vygotsky guided his students in researching this phenomenon from three different perspectives:
In the early 1930s Vygotsky experienced deep crises, both personal and theoretical, and after a period of massive self-criticism he made an attempt at a radical revision of his theory. The work of the representatives of the Gestalt psychology and other holistic scholars was instrumental in this theoretical shift. In 1932-1934 Vygotsky aimed to establish a psychological theory of consciousness, but because of his death, this theory remained only unconfirmed and unfinished.
Vygotsky was a pioneering psychologist and his major works span six separate volumes, written over roughly ten years, from Psychology of Art (1925) to Thought and Language [or Thinking and Speech] (1934). Vygotsky's interests in the fields of developmental psychology, child development, and education were extremely diverse. His philosophical framework includes interpretations of the cognitive role of mediation tools, as well as the re-interpretation of well-known concepts in psychology such as internalization of knowledge. Vygotsky introduced the notion of zone of proximal development, a metaphor capable of describing the potential of human cognitive development. His work covered topics such as the origin and the psychology of art, development of higher mental functions, philosophy of science and the methodology of psychological research, the relation between learning and human development, concept formation, interrelation between language and thought development, play as a psychological phenomenon, learning disabilities, and abnormal human development (aka defectology). His scientific thinking underwent several major transformations throughout his career, but generally Vygotsky's legacy may be divided into two fairly distinct periods, and the transitional phase between the two during which Vygotsky experienced the crisis in his theory and personal life. These are the mechanistic "instrumental" period of the 1920s, integrative "holistic" period of the 1930s, and the transitional years of, roughly, 1929-1931. Each of these periods is characterized by its distinct themes and theoretical innovations.
Vygotsky studied child development and the significant roles of cultural mediation and interpersonal communication. He observed how higher mental functions developed through these interactions, and also represented the shared knowledge of a culture. This process is known as internalization. Internalization may be understood in one respect as "knowing how". For example, the practices of riding a bicycle or pouring a cup of milk initially, are outside and beyond the child. The mastery of the skills needed for performing these practices occurs through the activity of the child within society. A further aspect of internalization is appropriation, in which children take tools and adapt them to personal use, perhaps using them in unique ways. Internalizing the use of a pencil allows the child to use it very much for personal ends rather than drawing exactly what others in society have drawn previously.
In 1930s Vygotsky was engaged in massive reconstruction of his theory of his "instrumental" period of the 1920s. Around 1929-1930 he realized numerous deficiencies and imperfections of the earlier work of the Vygotsky Circle and criticized it on a number of occasions: in 1929, 1930, in 1931, and in 1932. Specifically, Vygotsky criticized his earlier idea of radical separation between the "lower" and "higher" psychological functions and, around 1932, appears to abandon it.
Vygotsky's self-criticism was complemented by external criticism for a number of issues, including the separation between the "higher" and the "lower" psychological functions, impracticality and inapplicability of his theory in social practices (such as industry or education) during the time of rapid social change, and vulgar Marxist interpretation of human psychological processes. Critics also pointed to his overemphasis on the role of language and, on the other hand, the ignorance of the emotional factors in human development. Major figures in Soviet psychology such as Sergei Rubinstein criticized Vygotsky's notion of mediation and its development in the works of students. Following criticism and in response to generous offer from the highest officials in Soviet Ukraine, a major group of Vygotsky's associates, the members of the Vygotsky Circle, including Luria, Mark Lebedinsky, and Leontiev, moved from Moscow to Ukraine to establish the Kharkov school of psychology. In the second half of the 1930s, Vygotsky was criticized again for his involvement in the cross-disciplinary study of the child known as paedology and uncritical borrowings from contemporary "bourgeois" science. Considerable critique came from the alleged Vygotsky's followers, such as Leontiev and members of his research group in Kharkov. Much of this early criticism was later discarded by these Vygotskian scholars as well.
There occurred a period of major revision of Vygotsky's theory, a transition from a mechanist orientation of his 1920s to an integrative holistic science of the 1930s. During this period Vygotsky was under particularly strong influence of holistic theories of German-American group of proponents of Gestalt psychology, most notably, the peripheral participants of the Gestalt movement Kurt Goldstein and Kurt Lewin. However, Vygotsky's work of this period remained largely fragmentary and unfinished and, therefore, unpublished.
"Zone of Proximal Development" (ZPD) is a term Vygotsky used to characterize an individual's mental development. He originally defined the ZPD as "the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers." He used the example of two children in school who originally could solve problems at an eight-year-old developmental level (that is, typical for children who were age 8). After each child received assistance from an adult, one was able to perform at a nine-year-old level and one was able to perform at a twelve-year-old level. He said "This difference between twelve and eight, or between nine and eight, is what we call the zone of proximal development." He further said that the ZPD "defines those functions that have not yet matured but are in the process of maturation, functions that will mature tomorrow but are currently in an embryonic state." The zone is bracketed by the learner's current ability and the ability they can achieve with the aid of an instructor of some capacity.
Vygotsky viewed the ZPD as a better way to explain the relation between children's learning and cognitive development. Prior to the ZPD, the relation between learning and development could be boiled down to the following three major positions: 1) Development always precedes learning (e.g., constructivism): children first need to meet a particular maturation level before learning can occur; 2) Learning and development cannot be separated, but instead occur simultaneously (e.g., behaviorism): essentially, learning is development; and 3) learning and development are separate, but interactive processes (e.g., gestaltism): one process always prepares the other process, and vice versa. Vygotsky rejected these three major theories because he believed that learning should always precede development in the ZPD. According to Vygotsky, through the assistance of a more knowledgeable other, a child is able to learn skills or aspects of a skill that go beyond the child's actual developmental or maturational level. The lower limit of ZPD is the level of skill reached by the child working independently (also referred to as the child's developmental level). The upper limit is the level of potential skill that the child is able to reach with the assistance of a more capable instructor. In this sense, the ZPD provides a prospective view of cognitive development, as opposed to a retrospective view that characterizes development in terms of a child's independent capabilities. The advancement through and attainment of the upper limit of the ZPD is limited by the instructional and scaffolding related capabilities of the more knowledgeable other (MKO). The MKO is typically assumed to be an older, more experienced teacher or parent, but often can be a learner's peer or someone their junior. The MKO need not even be a person, it can be a machine or book, or other source of visual and/or audio input.
Perhaps Vygotsky's most important contribution concerns the inter-relationship of language development and thought. This problem was explored in Vygotsky's book, Thinking and speech, entitled in Russian, Myshlenie i rech, that was published in 1934. In fact, this book was a mere collection of essays and scholarly papers that Vygotsky wrote during different periods of his thought development and included writings of his "instrumental" and "holistic" periods. Vygotsky never saw the book published: it was published posthumously, edited by his closest associates (Kolbanovskii, Zankov, and Shif) not sooner than December, 1934, i.e., half a year after his death. First English translation was published in 1962 (with several later revised editions) heavily abbreviated and under an alternative and incorrect translation of the title Thought and Language for the Russian title Mysl' i iazyk. The book establishes the explicit and profound connection between speech (both silent inner speech and oral language), and the development of mental concepts and cognitive awareness. Vygotsky described inner speech as being qualitatively different from verbal external speech. Although Vygotsky believed inner speech developed from external speech via a gradual process of "internalization" (i.e., transition from the external to the internal), with younger children only really able to "think out loud", he claimed that in its mature form, inner speech would not resemble spoken language as we know it (in particular, being greatly compressed). Hence, thought itself developing socially.
Vygotsky died of tuberculosis on June 11, 1934, at the age of 37, in Moscow, Soviet Union. One of Vygotsky's last private notebook entries gives a proverbial, yet very pessimistic self-assessment of his contribution to psychological theory:
This is the final thing I have done in psychology - and I will like Moses die at the summit, having glimpsed the promised land but without setting foot on it. Farewell, dear creations. The rest is silence.
Immediately after his death, Vygotsky was proclaimed one of the leading psychologists in the Soviet Union, although his stellar reputation was somewhat undermined by the decree of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of 1936 that denounced the mass movement, discipline, and related social practice of the so-called pedology. Yet, even despite some criticisms and censorship of his works--most notably, in the post-Stalin era in the Soviet Union of 1960s-1980s by his Russian alleged and self-proclaimed best students and followers--Vygotsky always remained among the most quoted scholars in the field and has become a cult figure for a number of contemporary intellectuals and practitioners in Russia and the international psychological and educational community alike.
In the Soviet Union, the work of the group of Vygotsky's students known as the Vygotsky Circle was vital for preserving and, in many respects, distorting the scientific legacy of Lev Vygotsky. The members of the group subsequently laid a foundation for Vygotskian psychology's systematic development in such diverse fields as the psychology of memory (P. Zinchenko), perception, sensation, and movement (Zaporozhets, Asnin, A. N. Leont'ev), personality (Lidiya Bozhovich, Asnin, A. N. Leont'ev), will and volition (Zaporozhets, A. N. Leont'ev, P. Zinchenko, L. Bozhovich, Asnin), psychology of play (G. D. Lukov, Daniil El'konin) and psychology of learning (P. Zinchenko, L. Bozhovich, D. El'konin), as well as the theory of step-by-step formation of mental actions (Pyotr Gal'perin), general psychological activity theory (A. N. Leont'ev) and psychology of action (Zaporozhets). Andrey Puzyrey elaborated the ideas of Vygotsky in respect of psychotherapy and even in the broader context of deliberate psychological intervention (psychotechnique), in general.Laszlo Garai  founded a Vygotskian research group.
In North America, Vygotsky's work was known from the end of the 1920s through a series of publications in English, but it did not have a major impact on research in general. In 1962 a translation of his posthumous 1934 book, Thinking and Speech, published with the title,Thought and Language, did not seem to change the situation considerably. It was only after an eclectic compilation of partly rephrased and partly translated works of Vygotsky and his collaborators, published in 1978 under Vygotsky's name as Mind in Society, that the Vygotsky boom started in the West: originally, in North America, and later, following the North American example, spread to other regions of the world. This version of Vygotskian science is typically associated with the names of its chief proponents Michael Cole, James Wertsch, their associates and followers, and is relatively well known under the names of "cultural-historical activity theory" (aka CHAT) or--yet more distant from Vygotsky's legacy--"activity theory".Scaffolding, a concept introduced by Wood, Bruner, and Ross in 1976, is somewhat related to the idea of ZPD, although Vygotsky never used the term.
A critique of the North American interpretation of Vygotsky's ideas and, somewhat later, its global spread and dissemination appeared in the 1980s. The early 1980s criticism of Russian and Western "Vygotskian" scholars  continued throughout the 1990s. Thus, different authors emphasized the biased and fragmented interpretations of Vygotsky by representatives of what was termed "neo-Vygotskian fashions in contemporary psychology" or "selective traditions" in Vygotskian scholarship. Characteristically, the most fashionable "Vygotskian" phraseology in wide circulation in Western scholarly and educational discourse--such as the so-called "zone of proximal development"--in the critical literature of this period were referred to as "one of the most used and least understood constructs to appear in contemporary educational literature", the construct that was "used as little more than a fashionable alternative to Piagetian terminology or the concept of IQ for describing individual differences in attainment or potential".
Other authors also suggest clearly distinguishing between Vygotsky's original notion of "zona blizhaishego razvitiia" (ZBR) and its later Western superficial interpretations known under the umbrella term, "zone of proximal development" (ZPD). The criticism continued and reached a peak in the 2000s. Most often these critiques address numerous distortions of Vygotsky's ideas, mere "declarations of faith", "versions of Vygotsky", the "concepts and inferences curiously attributed to Lev Vygotsky", "multiple readings of Vygotsky", some of which--for instance, "activity theory"--are referred to as "dead end" for cultural-historical psychology  and, moreover, for methodological thinking in cultural psychology.
Some publications question "if anyone actually reads Vygotsky's words", whether it is "too late to understand Vygotsky for the classroom", and suggest "turning Vygotsky on his head." Inconsistencies, contradictions, and at times fundamental flaws in "Vygotskian" literature were revealed in the ocean of critical publications on this subject and are typically associated with--but certainly not limited to--the North American legacy of Michael Cole and James Wertsch and their associates. These criticisms contributed significantly to the increasing awareness of numerous "challenges of claiming a Vygotskian perspective".
Critical analysis of Vygotsky's ideas revealed that the alleged "Vygotsky's theory of play" never existed as such: instead, it was proposed that "Vygotsky's brief writings about play do not constitute a theory according to scientific definitions of psychological theory, and would be better acknowledged merely as part of the historical evolution of ideas about children's play. Of greater significance is that the theoretical relevance of Vygotsky's opinion about play can seriously be called into question upon the basis of current research in the area". In addition, recent studies discuss highly problematic nature of Vygotsky's theorizations from contemporary linguistic standpoint, reveal the author's conceptual flaws and propose alternative sources of inspiration in psycholinguistic research in lieu of Vygotsky's conceptualizations: "It is shown that some of Vygotsky's observations are problematic but that, even if they are accepted, Vygotsky's theoretical account suffers from fundamental difficulties. Thus the support claimed from Vygotsky in accounts of second language acquisition is misplaced, first because of those difficulties and, second, because many who claim support from Vygotsky, do not need or even use his theory but instead focus their attention on his empirical observations and assume incorrectly that if their own empirical observations match Vygotsky's, then Vygotsky's theory can be accepted".
The revisionist movement in Vygotsky Studies was termed a "revisionist revolution" to describe a relatively recent trend that emerged in the 1990s. This trend is typically associated with growing dissatisfaction with the quality and scholarly integrity of available texts of Vygotsky and members of Vygotsky Circle, including their English translations made from largely mistaken, distorted, and even in a few instances falsified Soviet editions, which raises serious concerns about the reliability of Vygotsky's texts available in English. However, unlike critical literature that discusses Western interpretations of Vygotsky's legacy, the target of criticism and the primary object of research in the studies of the revisionist strand are Vygotsky's texts proper: the manuscripts, original lifetime publications, and Vygotsky's posthumous Soviet editions that most often were subsequently uncritically translated into other languages. The revisionist strand is solidly grounded in a series of studies in Vygotsky's archives that uncovered previously unknown and unpublished Vygotsky materials.
Thus, some studies of the revisionist strand show that certain phrases, terms, and expressions typically associated with Vygotskian legacy as its core notions and concepts--such as "cultural-historical psychology", "cultural-historical theory", "cultural-historical school", "higher psychical/mental functions", "internalization", "zone of proximal development", etc., -- in fact, either occupy not more than just a few dozen pages within the six-volume collection of Vygotsky's works, or never even occur in Vygotsky's own writings. Another series of studies revealed the questionable quality of Vygotsky's published texts that, in fact, were never finished and intended for publication by their author, but were nevertheless posthumously published without giving proper editorial acknowledgement of their unfinished, transitory nature, and with numerous editorial interventions and distortions of Vygotsky's text. Another series of publications reveals that another well-known Vygotsky's text that is often presented as the foundational work was back-translated into Russian from an English translation of a lost original and passed for the original Vygotsky's writing. This episode was referred to as "benign forgery".
Scholars associated with the revisionist movement in Vygotsky Studies propose returning to Vygotsky's original uncensored works, critically revising the available discourse, and republishing them in both Russian and translation with a rigorous scholarly commentary. Therefore, an essential part of this revisionist strand is the ongoing work on "PsyAnima Complete Vygotsky" project that for the first time ever exposes full collections of Vygotsky's texts, uncensored and cleared from numerous mistakes, omissions, insertions, and blatant distortions and falsifications of the author's text made in Soviet editions and uncritically transferred in virtually all foreign translated editions of Vygotsky's works. This project is carried out by an international team of volunteers--researchers, archival workers, and library staff--from Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, and Switzerland, who joined their efforts and put together a collection of L. S. Vygotsky's texts. This publication work is supported by a stream of critical scholarly studies and publications on textology, history, theory and methodology of Vygotskian research that cumulatively contributes to the first ever edition of The Complete Works of L.S. Vygotsky. Currently, this collection of Vygotsky's research is available and still in print in a series consisting of six total volumes of his work with added commentary/foreword.