Joel Rudnert

Joel Rudnert

Malmo University

Research supervisor: Prof. Per Iliasson

My two basic methodological problems are the following.

Besides being in great need of meeting scholars with large experience in the field Cultural-historic theory I will mention two methodological problems that I struggle with:

Methodologically my thesis will foremost be inspired by the methods of examining concept formation first developed by Sakharov and Vygotsky (Vygotsky 1999) and then Shif3 (van der Veer & Halsiner 1993) and also the research on proverbs done by Luria (1990). Under the heading Conceptual Change other useful methods have also been developed for the study of concept formation.4 The problem is that this theory is deeply rooted in a constructivist theory where conceptual change is seen as a result of a cognitive conflict instead of an interdependently development of both the everyday concept and the scientific concept (Vygotsky 1994). Stella Vosniadou addresses this problem in a preface to an anthology on Conceptual Change and points in the direction of sociocultural theory (Vosniadou 1999). This request has however, to my knowledge, not been addressed, at least not in the field of history teaching. Therefore, in my work Iwill try to expand Conceptual Change with the help of Cultural-Historic theory. I think for instance that Gal’perin and Zinchenko can be helpful. Gal’perin because he expanded on Vygotsky’s theories to formulate a method for research in educational psychology (Gal’perin 1978) and Zinchenko (1981) because of his article on Microstructural analysis (what in the west is called Microgenetic research with a slightly different focus according to Wertsch, (?).I would like to discuss how this method can be developed in the frame of the Summer University.

Zinchenko’s article mentioned above takes me to my second problem. I still haven’t decided if I should do a cross-sectional study with three age groups (6, 9 and 12 years old which corresponds to different parts of the history curriculum) or if I should concentrate on just one smaller group and analyze the material microgenetically. Or, if it is possible to combine the two methods? What is clear is that the microgenetic method is closer to Vygotsky’s own research and that cross-sectional study only describe development in stages and do not give the researcher the opportunity to address change. This problem would also be interesting for me to address at the Summer University and an excellent opportunity to get to know more contemporary research in Cultural-Historic educational psychology.