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Developmental Approaches to the Self

PDF Each of the three great schools of developmental psy- chology represented in this vo1ume—psychoana1ytic, cogni- tive-developmental, and Vygotskian—diverges in important ways. But more recent changes in each discipline have led to new possibilities for theoretical integrations. Each ori- entation has begun to focus upon the problem of meaning construction, that is, how a person's subjectivity and con- sciousness is created through his interaction with signifi- cant others. Each discipline also discovered that as it switched to meaning and interpretation as the foci of their work, they had to reformulate and, in some cases, reject po- sitions taken by their founding figures. The papers in this volume attempt to describe the newest developments in each of these fields and to foster a theoretical dialogue around the concept of the self. The papers in this book emerged out of discussions at a Conference on the Self, sponsored by the Center for Psychosocial Studies in Chicago.For the psychoanalytic and cognitive-developmental ap- proaches, we can observe a transition from what we call the bio10gism of both traditional Freudian and Piagetian memta- psychologies to a more communicative-interactionist point of view. Psychoanalysts have focused on the subjective expe- rience of their patients as constituting a reality in its own right, and therefore have always focused upon problems of communication and interpretation. But Freud's emphasis on bio-sexua1 development led him to create a metapsycho1ogy in which the basic organizing principle is that of drive re- duction.

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