Perezhivanie as a Phenomenon and a Concept: Questions on Clarification and Methodological Meditations



This paper is an attempt to show possible ways to unpack the theoretical content of the concept of perezhivanie by clarifying the place and role of this concept within cultural-historical theory and examining the connections of this concept with other concepts, principles, and laws of the theory. There is an important distinction between the two meanings of perezhivanie presented in Vygotsky’s original texts — perezhivanie as a psychological phenomena/process which can be empirically observed and studied (P1) and perezhivanie as a concept, a theoretical tool for analysis of the process of development (P2). This distinction is an important step forward in developing the generative understanding of the concept of perezhivanie within the cultural-historical theoretical framework. Perezhivanie as a concept is not about a phenomenon how the particular child interprets, understands and relates to a certain situation. Perezhivanie as a concept is not about what the particular child experiences in a particular situation. Perezhivanie as a concept has its own theoretical content within the theory. Questions on clarification and methodological meditations are in line with Vygotsky’s ideas on perezhivanie as a concept, which relates to (1) the process of development; (2) the role on social environment and (3) the laws of development.

General Information

Keywords: Perezhivanie, cultural-historical theory, social situation of development, unit of analysis, drama

Journal rubric: Problems of Cultural-Historical and Activity Psychology

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Veresov N.N. Perezhivanie as a Phenomenon and a Concept: Questions on Clarification and Methodological Meditations. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2016. Vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 129–148. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2016120308.


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Information About the Authors

Nikolay N. Veresov, PhD in Psychology, associate professor, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Member of the editorial board of the journal “Cultural-Historical Psychology”, Melbourne, Australia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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