NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1118073
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1361-3324
White Historical Activity Theory: Toward a Critical Understanding of White Zones of Proximal Development
Leonardo, Zeus; Manning, Logan
Race, Ethnicity and Education, v20 n1 p15-29 2017
Best known for arguing that individual development is part of social and historical development Vygotsky's entry into education may be captured by his concept of the "zone of proximal development" (ZPD). ZPD has not yet been synthesized with a critical study of whiteness. When ZPD is used to explain racial disparities in the service of inclusion, it is usually connected with the lives of people of color. This leaves out a critical understanding of racially dominant experiences, or whiteness. This article argues that a progressive union between Vygotsky and the field of race studies generally, Whiteness Studies specifically, benefits educators insofar as the concept of ZPD is applied to the particular ideological development of white identity. Likewise, Whiteness Studies gains an explanatory framework to account for the cognitive development of the dominant racial group, in short, a learning theory of whiteness. A Whiteness Studies intervention within Vygotskian theory pushes the limits of developmental theory when it analyzes the contours of a white ZPD. When racialized to consider whiteness, certain terms and concepts, such as Vygotsky's genotypic and phenotypic analyses, take on a different significance, even different meanings. As a racially sensitive framework, particularly within a US-based understanding, Vygotskian theory is limited without critical attention to the development of white identity and whiteness as an ideology. By focusing on this nexus, Vygotskian theory fulfills part of its historical mission as a concrete study of cultural relations.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A