An Integrated Theory of Thinking and Speaking that Draws on Vygotsky and Bakhtin/Vološinov

Wolff-Michael Roth


Vygotsky’s social-psychological theory of human development and Bakhtin/Vološinov’s theory of language and the dialogical nature of thought have received increasing interest in the educational research literature but tend to remain unrelated even where co-citation occurs. In this article, I first present a model that integrates the fundamentally common features in the two approaches and present a table with the correspondences of the theoretical terms across four European languages; the model thereby integrates the psychological and sociological dimensions at the heart of the two approaches. I then articulate and elaborate on six main issues that are relevant to and have implications for research: (a) sensual life as integrative unit, (b) self-movement and development, (c) the nested relations between activity and living utterance, (d) signification, (e) vernacular as the origin and locus of development, and (f) unit analysis.


Vygotsky; Bakhtin circle; cultural-historical activity theory; sociocultural theory; socio-historical theory; dialogism; materialist dialectics; unit analysis

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Copyright (c) 2014 Wolff-Michael Roth

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