The Problem of Orientation and Navigation of Personality in Anthropology: Methodological Framework



The paper introduces the concept of orientation and navigation of personality as a cultural practice. It draws a distinction between orientation and navigation. Orientation can be seen as a practice of checking with signs and landmarks existing in the space of culture, while navigation is understood as a practice of designing personal routes which one uses in order to find his/her place in the world. The paper explores the transition from orientation in traditional cultures in which the orientation practice was based on the con cept of the World Tree as the universal reference point, to modern societies in which the basic landmarks and foundations ceased to be generally accepted. Ideas and concepts of orientation in human philosophy and psychology are reviewed using the concepts of P.Ya. Gallperin and B.D. El’konin. It is revealed that an individual, navigating not only through the natural space-time, but also through the semantic symbolic field, forms those necessary scaffoldings that become parts of the architectonics of his/her personality.

General Information

Keywords: orientation, orienting activity, anthropological navigation, philosophy of man, landmark, scaffolding, horizon, field, semantic field, psychological field

Journal rubric: Discussions and Discourses

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Smirnov S.A. The Problem of Orientation and Navigation of Personality in Anthropology: Methodological Framework. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2018. Vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 93–101. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2018140210. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Sergei A. Smirnov, Doctor of Philosophy, docent, Leading Researcher, Department of Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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