Understanding development through the perezhivanie of learning

Nikolai Veresov, Nelson Mok

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


The development of Vygotsky’s cultural-historical theory was in response to the lack of a theoretical and methodological language specific to the study of the uniquely human cultural development of higher mental functions. In the period from 1928 to 1931, when Vygotsky focused his efforts on understanding the sociogenesis of higher mental functions, he developed the foundational concepts of sign, mediation, and internalization. Together with the zone of proximal development (ZPD) and private speech, these concepts have formed the basis for the sociocultural approach to second language acquisition. However, from 1931 to 1934, Vygotsky shifted his focus to analyzing the structure and (re)organization of consciousness, understood as a dynamic, semantic system that includes not only cognition, but also emotional and personal dimensions. From this period emerged the concepts of perezhivanie (approximately translated as “emotional experience” or “lived experience”), the social situation of development, neoformations, and word-meaning. This period was also marked by a shift from analysis by elements, to analysis by units. This chapter explicates the concept of perezhivanie as understood during this period, as well as its consequences for SLA research. Specifically, we seek to discuss 1) the potential to understand development through investigating the perezhivanie of learning, and 2) ways in which the concept can be applied to investigating L2 learning. To do this, we begin with a foundation in the historical and philosophical context from which the concept emerges, briefly examining its implications and interpretations, before examining its particular theoretical and methodological contribution to SLA research. 
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Development
EditorsJames P. Lantolf, Matthew E. Poehner, Merrill Swain
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781315624747
ISBN (Print)9781138651555
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameRoutledge Hanbooks in Applied Linguistics

Cite this