Concrete Psychology and the Activity Clinic Approach: Implications for Interventionist Research in the XXIst Century



This paper discusses the project of concrete psychology, anchored in vital human drama, both for Vygotsky and Politzer, and its methodological implications, especially from within an interventionist, developmental, transformative perspective. How are the concepts of concrete psychology and drama related for Politzer and Vygotsky? How can we push the agenda of concrete psychology foward? What are the methodological implications of a Vygotskian concrete psychology for us today? After discussing both Vygotsky’s and Politzer’s views on concrete human psychology, we will introduce the French tradition of Activity Clinic, and argue that this approach, and its “organized frameworks,” offers the potential to move one step forward in the direction of a concrete human psychology. We will analyze a short sequence of Cross Self Confrontation as a dramatic interaction potentially contributing to development. We conclude by reflecting on the implications of concrete psychology for XXIth century researchers. The paper thus aims at contributing to an urgent need to rethink an epistemology of psychology, which strongly anchors research in practice.

General Information

Keywords: activity clinic, concrete psychology, development, drama, methodology, cross self-confrontation

Journal rubric: Problems of Cultural-Historical and Activity Psychology

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Kloetzer L. Concrete Psychology and the Activity Clinic Approach: Implications for Interventionist Research in the XXIst Century. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2020. Vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 42–50. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2020160206.

A Part of Article

Vygotsky’s writing has increasingly inspired psychology worldwide, ever since the partial translation of his writing into English, beginning in the 1960’s. This worldwide reception provided an important impulse to further developments of the theory, methodology and practice of psychology and education in the long term, all the more as the understanding of this rich heritage outside Russia varied considerably.


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Information About the Authors

Laure Kloetzer, Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor in Sociocultural Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, Neuchatel University, Neuchatel, Switzerland, ORCID:, e-mail:



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