Chapter 8 Problematizing Questions about Development in Adulthood and Freedom in Developmental Intervention

The Relevance of the Concept of Zone of Proximal Development

In: Doing CHAT in the Wild
Authors:
Frédéric Saussez
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Philip Dupuis-Laflamme
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Abstract

The latest developments in Vygotsky’s theory of the historical development of specifically human capacities are intrinsically linked to a philosophy of education (Yvon & Zinchenko, 2011). The Ethics of Spinoza could be one of Vygotsky’s sources of inspiration (Léopoldoff, 2014). In this chapter, we defend the idea that The Ethics provides Vygotsky with a normative orientation to define education and, in general, for any developmental intervention. These are then conceptualized as the source of the development of a person’s power to act (agendi potentia) in and on the social world and his own subjective universe, and also as the process of intellectualizing the relation (rapport à) to the world (Brossard, 2008; Saussez, 2017).

Such a vision of developmental intervention raises the question of agency and freedom in reference to the idea that systematic concepts have a liberating power. The purpose of intervention is to create the conditions for the person to progress on the path of freedom, to free herself from the sadness linked to inappropriate ideas.

Thus, the transformative imperative addressed to a science of the human psyche (Vygotsky, 1927) is embodied in the development of people’s power to act. For the researcher, transforming the social activities means to help people transform their own situations. This position raises different epistemological, ethical and methodological issues that we will discuss in connection with the idea that intervention is an artificial space-time, an intermediary living environment between theory and practice.

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