Classic and Revisionist Sociocultural Theory, and their analyses of expressive language

An empirical and theoretical assessment


  • Carl Ratner Institute of Cultural Research and Education, Trinidad, CA.



liberalism, politics of language, psychology of oppression, social philosophy


This article articulates two approaches to sociocultural theory, Vygotsky’s classic approach and a contemporary revisionist approach. We examine: (1) their principle tenets for understanding psychology in relation to culture; (2) how they characterize and explain language in particular; and (3) how they characterize and explain a sample linguistic specimen of two dialogues from a middle-class child and a lower-class child. I utilize a critical discourse analysis of the dialogues to empirically determine: (1) which of the two approaches better accounts for the discursive differences; (2) which is a more adequate linguistic theory; (3) which is a more adequate approach to SCT; and (4) which is a more viable and progressive social and political philosophy. We find Vygotsky’s classic formulation superior on all counts. This article concerns the politics of language, linguistics, and social theory.

Author Biography

  • Carl Ratner, Institute of Cultural Research and Education, Trinidad, CA.

    Carl Ratner, PhD. is a cultural psychologist. He is the Director of the Institute for Cultural Research and Education.


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How to Cite

Ratner, C. (2015). Classic and Revisionist Sociocultural Theory, and their analyses of expressive language: An empirical and theoretical assessment. Language and Sociocultural Theory, 2(1), 51-83.