Taking a 360° view of the landscape of
cultural-historical activity research:

The state of our scholarship in practice

5th International Congress 
August 28th - September 1st 2017
Quebec, Canada

ISCAR 2017 - Book of Abstracts

ISCAR was formally constituted in June 2002, reflecting a decision to integrate two organizations — International Society for Cultural Research and Activity Theory (ISCRAT) and Conference for Sociocultural Research — that were each oriented to supporting scientific communication about different aspects of sociocultural, cultural- historical and activity theory approaches. These organisations arose out of meetings and activities that had started initially and independently in the early 1980s, which subsequently developed into quadrennial Congresses (five ISCRAT Congresses from 1986-2002, and three Conferences for Sociocultural Research from 1992-2000) — involving researchers from five continents.

ISCAR aims to recognize and respect these diverse origins and interests, and preserve conditions for their expression within the Society. 

ISCAR wants to develop multidisciplinary theoretical and empirical research on the social, cultural and historical human practices and to promote scientific communication and research cooperation among its members. This scientific association has members from a wide range of disciplines such as psychology, education, philosophy, history, sociology, linguistics, anthropology, research on workplace practices, computer science, information systems, knowledge management, clinical neuropsychology and rehabilitation, occupational therapy, criminology, and social work.

Vygotsky’s, Leontiev’s, and Luria’s heritage has taken many forms and shapes in the thinking and doings of theorists, researchers and practitioners. Research communities devoted to the study of human development in context, to the social dimension of learning and to activity can be found on all continents.

ISCAR 2017 wants to look at the past, the present, and the foreseeable future (what’s INsight) of Cultural-historical and Activity Research (CHAT). We will take a 360° view of the CHAT landscape or should we say CHAR landscape given the name of our Society? We will explore together the questions participants ask, the methodologies they refer to and use in their research, and the practices they codesign as they invent the future together with the communities and participants they work with across the world – all dimensions and topics at the core of our dialogue during the meeting, a dialogue simultaneously deeply grounded in and guided by our historical roots. Your contributions in the form of questions, methods, and data interpretations are important for the understanding of the state of our scholarship in practice. 

Themes and subthemes

Foundations: Theoretical and research approaches

  • Social, cultural, linguistic and educational mediation
  • Children’s development and childhood
  • Learning, knowledge and agency
  • Interventionist research approaches and their roots
  • Other topics related to this theme

Practices in context:

  • Learning and development in onsite communities and online spaces
  • Identity and professional learning in new and diverse ecologies
  • The social construction of [dis]ability and difference/homogeneity
  • Cross-national explorations of sociocultural research on learning
  • Intercultural communication and new forms of being
  • Dialogue and the co-construction of knowledge
  • Social movements and community-based alternatives to capitalism
  • Other topics related to this theme

Insight: Qualitative research and new trends in Cultural-Historical and Activity Research

  • Farther reaches of theoretical and methodological explorations
  • Multi-method approaches: Issues, challenges, promising directions and technologies
  • Interventionist methodologies: bringing theory and practice
  • Transformative agency
  • Unit of analysis: historicity, context, and levels of analytic scale
  • Tensions, extensions, and new formulations in Cultural-historical and Activity Research (CHAT)
  • Changing forms of work
  • New technologies and new ways of organizing work
  • Other topics related to this theme

In the PhD Students’ Day, special attention is given to the PhD thesis, focusing on the different phases of doctoral research. There are be spaces/times for dialogues, presentations, posters, and debates, including the participation of Senior Researchers who discuss parts of PhD students’ work and provide some suggestions. For instance, the opportunity of discussing data analysis is given to doctoral students who have already collected their empirical data. There are also parallel sessions, in small groups.