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A Case of Interpretations of Social: A Response to Steffe and Thompson

Stephen Lerman 

March 2000, Volume 31, Issue 2, Page 210

In their response to my (1996) article, Steffe and Thompson argued that I have taken an early position of Vygotsky's and that his later work is subsumed in and developed by von Glasersfeld. I argue that the two theories, Vygotsky's and radical constructivism, are, on the contrary, quite distinct and that this distinction, when seen as a dichotomy, is productive. I suggest that radical constructivists draw on a weak image of the role of social life. I argue that a thick notion of social leads to a complexity of sociocultural theories concerning the teaching and learning of mathematics, a perspective that is firmly located in the debates surrounding cultural theory of the last 2 decades.

Research Summaries
Calculus and Higher Level Mathematics
Conceptual Development
Higher Education
Higher Education
Professional Development / Teacher Education
Reasoning and Proof