University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Thesis: The development of the concept of labour. A psychogenetic study with children and adolescent from different social positions
Research supervisor: Dr. José Antonio Castorina
I have chosen to participate in the Summer University because I am interested in the Cultural-Historical Activity approach. In Argentina, there is a poor tradition in scientific psychology and the psychological field is predominantly clinical. During decades, the areas of educational and developmental psychology were not fields of research but places where the psychoanalytical theory was applied. Nevertheless, there was one tradition that developed in Argentina and produced important research results. This tradition was the Piagetian Genetic Psychology, which Emilia Ferreiro initiated here as a research tradition and others like José Antonio Castorina continued. The educational and developmental psychology were enriched by these investigations and the problems raised by the Vigotskian approach impacted in the Piagetian tradition. But the Vigotskian approach never developed as a scientific research programme although it was introduced here in a theoretical way.
I am currently studying the Master’s Degree programme in Social Sciences at the School of Social Sciences and the PhD Degree programme in Psychology, both at the University of Buenos Aires. The aim of the research project in which I participate is to investigate the development of the cognitive processes by which the children and adolescent understand the society in which they live in. To achieve this, we consider that social sciences are a necessary aid because the individual who constructs its knowledge is not isolated from society and its impact in his knowledge. In this sense, the problems we face in our research project are related to the ways in which the society interrelates with the development of the individual’s system of thought.
My basic research problem is the development of the concept of labour in children and adolescent. The research uses the Piagetian clinical method in order to explore the system of thought of the individuals. But the questions asked to the individual are based in problems raised in the history of the economic science: how is the richness of the nations created? Why this richness produces poverty as its necessary complement? Which is the active element in the creation of richness? Who participates in the creation of richness and which are their roles in it? How do they distribute the products of the process of labour? The epistemological problems faced by the science of economics are used the elaborate the questions asked to the individuals. The approach of the social sciences helps to enrich this investigation because the individuals have different social experiences depending on their social class position, their educational status, and different social variables. I think that some concepts and methodologies developed by the Cultural-Historical Activity approach can help me in bridging the gap between the psychological research and the social situatedness of individuals.
I would very much like to learn from the professors and participants of the Summer School because I think this would give me a chance to broaden my knowledge in the Cultural-Historical Activity approach. This would be an important aspect in the development of my research since the presentation of the design of the investigation and the preliminary results would give me a feedback that could help me solve the problems in the interpretation of the results and the writing of the conclusions of the research.