Vygotsky’s “Height Psychology”: Reenvisioning General Psychology in Dialogue With the Humanities and the Arts

Julia Vassilieva, Ekaterina Zavershneva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The legacy of Russian psychologist Lev Semenovich Vygotsky is most closely associated with the cultural-historical paradigm and, in the West, has found its most extensive application in contemporary developmental and educational psychology. However, Vygotsky’s project was far more ambitious than this perspective implies—in fact, he conceived a new, original program of general psychology that could address human beings in their full measure, foregrounding the human potential for freedom and agency. The distinctive characteristic of Vygotsky’s approach was his profound interdisciplinarity and, specifically, his evolving dialogue with art practices and aesthetics, the scope of which has only become clear with the recent publication of previously unpublished archival material and his writings as an art and literary critic. This article has two aims: to outline a more inclusive and nuanced understanding of Vygotsky’s views on general psychology, on the basis of recent archival discoveries and publications, and attending to these materials closely, to explicate the role that Vygotsky allocated to art in his radical project of creating the “height psychology.”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-30
Number of pages13
JournalReview of General Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • perezhivanie
  • arts
  • drama
  • humanities
  • meaning
  • theater
  • Vygotsky

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