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[xmca] MCA Call for papers: Psychology of Emotions and Cultural Historical Activity Theory

Mind, Culture, and Activity: An International Journal*
*Call for Papers

Special issue on “Psychology of Emotions and Cultural Historical Activity Theory”

Abstracts submission: March 15, 2011
Manuscripts submission: September 15, 2011

Guest Editor: Manfred Holodynski <mailto:manfred.holodynski@uni-muenster.de> (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)

Emotions are essential to human existence and experience. Not surprisingly, their nature has been a major subject of inquiry for philosophers (from Aristotle to Spinoza and Sartre), psychologists (from James to Lazarus and Ekman), and biologists (from Darwin to Trivers and Damasio). In several moments of his work, Vygotsky himself showed a conceptual curiosity for human emotions. At the end of his life, Vygotsky devoted one of his /Lectures on Psychology/ (1932) to the topic of emotions, whose major theses were elaborated at length in /The Teaching about Emotions/ (1931-1933). In these works, Vygotsky discussed in detail the major conceptual trends and tensions in the literature of his time, indirectly advancing his own position. Vygotsky called for the realization of the "intimate connection and dependency that exists between the development of the emotions and the development of other aspects of mental life" (/Lectures on Psychology/, 1932/1987, p. 332). He criticized both the views that reduce emotions to the remnants of instinctive reactions and the views, such as James', that strip emotions from consciousness. Instead, Vygotsky advanced a perspective on emotions as processes in close connection with culture and the higher achievements of human kind (such as art and aesthetics), and "within the same structure as the other mental processes" (1932/1987, p. 226). Vygotsky also called for a developmental stance on emotions that would underscore their change over time in the context of social interaction. In /On the Problem of the Psychology of the Actor’s Creative Work /(1932/1999), Vygotsky argued:

Like all other mental functions, emotions do not remain in the connection in which they are given initially by virtue of the biological organization of the mind. In the process of social life, feelings develop and former connections disintegrate; emotions appear in new relations with other elements of mental life, new systems develop, new alloys of mental functions and unities of a higher order appear within which special patterns, interdependencies, special forms of connection and movement are dominant.

The landscape of theories of emotions has changed since Vygotsky's days. There have been several revisions of the James-Lange theory, which has been central in the literature on emotions and to which Vygotsky paid great deal of attention. Yet, the questions underlying many of the classical theories are not sufficiently answered. Tensions between biological views and psychological ones still remain; questions about the universality of emotions are still controversial; and analysis of emotions in tandem/ /with some psychological processes, such as motivation and volition, are unfortunately rare.

This special issue addresses in different ways cultural historical perspectives on the psychology of emotions and emotion development. Contributions are sought that investigate, from a cultural historical perspective, the genesis of emotions in the context of social practice, the relationship between emotions and other psychological functions, and the cultural and historical variations of emotions. If your work has important implications for characterizing emotions and the way they contribute to the organization of people’s mind and lives, we would like to encourage you to submit an article for consideration. We are especially interested in articles that illuminate the relationship of emotions to the three categories that are on the journal's masthead (mind, culture, and activity). We encourage potential contributors to look back over prior issues of MCA to see what topics have been visited and especially how the authors' work contributes to the problematics of MCA.


Potential contributors should first submit an abstract of their manuscript. Abstracts should be up to 500 words in length. Selected abstracts will be then asked to submit manuscripts up to 8,000 words in length. Manuscripts will be subject to peer review process. Manuscripts should be prepared according to the /Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association /(5th ed.) For further information and abstract submission, please write to contactmca@lchc.ucsd.edu <mailto:contactmca@lchc.ucsd.edu>_.* *_

*Please circulate as widely as possible*

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