Socio-Cultural and Cultural-Historical Activity Theory

SCaCHAT-RedSocio-cultural theory is becoming an increasingly important focus of theoretical work, evident from the establishment of research groups and centres across the UK, including the Bath Centre for Sociocultural and Activity Theory Research (CSAT), Oxford Centre for Social Activity Theory (OSAT), and Manchester Socio-cultural Theory Interest Group. Socio-cultural approaches to education draw on the tradition of Vygotsky (e.g. Holland, Rogoff, Lave, Wenger, also drawing on Bourdieu) and often also on post-Vygotskyan Activity Theory (Luria, Leont’ev, Davydov etc). Latterly called ‘Cultural-Historical Activity Theory’ (CHAT) by Cole and Engestrom, this framework also draws on the Bakhtinian tradition and Western cultural anthropology. A common thread among the diverse approaches is a focus on learning as developing through social interaction. These approaches thus have strong links with the study of discourse and social interaction, drawing on the work of Bernstein and Halliday (e.g. Hasan, Wells, Lemke, Lantolf and Gee). Current debates involve issues to do with the integration of perspectives and methodologies, e.g. the linkage of social linguistics and sociology with this theoretical work. The SIG aims to further theoretical developments in socio-cultural theory, with attention to ‘empirical groundings’ providing support for ways in which particular socio-cultural perspectives can inform research, policy and practice. Objectives

  • to provide a network for those working with socio-cultural/CHAT theory in education so as to ground it in educational research
  • to provide an arena for enriching and developing research methodology for educational research
  • to disseminate the findings of our research to a wide audience of academics and practitioners
  • to raise the profile of socio-cultural/CHAT research in education, nationally and internationally
  • to provide a forum for discussion of socio-cultural and CHAT approaches which is inclusive of newcomers to the methodology who are looking for information and ideas to further their learning and understanding of socio-cultural theories

Latest SIG Content

Research and Pedagogy in the Classroom

9 June 2018 | Event

BERA Socio-Cultural and Cultural-Historical Activity Theory SIG, The University of Suffolk, Alliance of Teachers and West Ipswich Teaching School Alliance cordially invite you to the Conference Research and Pedagogy in the Classroom. The aim... [...]

Developing Professional Research: Making an impact

7 June 2018 | Event

In our busy academic world it is often commented on that there is little time for reflection or conversation. Networking and opportunities for personal development are at the heart of this professional learning opportunity. The event is aimed at... [...]

Why we all need liberating from education’s gender war

31 October 2017 | Blog

Statistics released last week show that almost half of all young people in the UK enter higher education. But some groups are still far more likely to go on to university than others.[1] Whereas 55% of young women aged 18-30 become students, only... [...]

Why might BERA wish to thank Margaret Thatcher?

4 September 2017 | Blog

What does BERA owe to Margaret Thatcher?  It sounds like a weird pub quiz question, and may have an even weirder answer.  When BERA’s inaugural conference met in Birmingham in April 1974, Thatcher had already lost her post as secretary of... [...]

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