The Authority of Cultural Tools in a Sociocultural Approach to Mediated Agency

  • Wertsch J
  • Rupert L
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Most laboratory studies on the nature of adult-child interactions have focused on the unidirectionality of influence from adult to child and have neglected to address the question of the child's influence on the adult. This study focuses on the importance of task situation definition in naturalistic settings where adults and children interact together, not in isolated dyads, and the children play a much more active role and contribute actively to the flow of discourse. Naturalistic data taken from one child's activities and discourse during an entire day in the home, at school, and in other social settings are presented and analyzed. These data provide evidence for the heterogeneity of speech events and for the use of cultural tools in order to change the authoritative structure of the discourse. An expanded interpretation of the sociocultural approach requires that authority and value should be assumed as essential properties of both intermental and intramental functioning.

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  • James V. Wertsch

  • Leslie J. Rupert

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