Vygotsky’s “significant other”: Alexander Luria’s contribution to the development of Vygotsky’s ideas

Eli Lamdan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter provides an introduction into the life and legacy of Lev Vygotsky’s closest ally, collaborator and co-author, Alexander Luria (1902-1977), who worked with him during the whole decade of his academic career in Moscow until his death, was influenced by Vygotsky, but also in a number of interesting and not explicitly discussed ways, in turn, also influenced him. In essence, in this chapter the reader will find at least a partial answer to the question “What was Alexander Luria’s role in Vygotsky’s work?" On the other hand, we know quite a lot about Luria’s post-WWII work on neuropsychology (i.e. brain lesions, aphasia and restoration of psychological functioning in the wounded, etc.), which has earned him a well-deserved reputation as one of the founders of this field of knowledge. Yet, Luria’s pre-WWII work on and contribution to what is now known as “cultural-historical psychology” still remains largely obscure. This chapter provides a brief and general overview of Luria’s legacy, but focuses mainly on his collaboration with Vygotsky, and emphasizes a few specific episodes, crucial to the understanding of Vygotsky’s and Luria’s emergent psychological theory of cultural human development (such as Luria’s import of the holistic framework of contemporary - mostly American and German - scholarly research with which he became familiarized, as a participant, during the 1929 International Congress of Psychology held in the United States at Yale University). Another episode of considerable interest in this context is Vygotsky’s and Luria’s research on psychological development in “primitive”, or “backward”, people that they conducted in Central Asia in early 1930s).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuestioning Vygotsky’s Legacy
Subtitle of host publicationScientific Psychology or Heroic Cult
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781351060622
ISBN (Print)9781138481268
StatePublished - 18 Jul 2018


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