Culture as Self-Perception



An attempt is made to operationalize the content of the “culture” concept in cultural-historical psychology. It is demonstrated that within its framework the culture appears to be a “social environment”, a system of social standards, rather than mediator of human freedom, as a way of self-perception of a man, which helps to reveal creative potential. According to the author, culture as self-perception, its genesis in this capacity, which results in the development of free man, is the basic idea of cultural-historical psychology. It is noted that culture, both historically and ontogenically, at least, in current historical settings, is initially created in personal form, only this enables it to acquire social significance. Culture does not only bring people together based on some formal characteristic, and within it people become significant for each other. The role of imagination in the formation of self-perception is discussed. An assumption on the availability of genetic relation between imagination and spontaneity is put forward. At that, special emphasis is placed on “experiments on consciousness”, including in the form of inversion, which are conducted by means of art.

General Information

Keywords: culture, self-perception, freedom, will, imagination, experiments on consciousness, inversion

Journal rubric: Problems of Cultural-Historical and Activity Psychology

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Kudryavtsev V.T. Culture as Self-Perception. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2016. Vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 113–128. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2016120307.


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Information About the Authors

Vladimir T. Kudryavtsev, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, professor of UNESCO Department of Cultural and Historical Psychology of Childhood, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Expert, Laboratory of Cultural and Historical Models of Education, Institute of Secondary Vocational Education named after K.D. Ushinsky; Professor, Directorate of Educational Programs of the Moscow City University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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