From Interpsychological to Intrapsychological: Developing Students’ Agency



This paper starts from the contradictions that permeate the Latin American democratic context to dis¬cuss how psychology can contribute to expanding students' agency in public schools located in vulnerable contexts marked by poverty and social exclusion. The contributions of Cultural-Historical Psychology and German Critical Psychology are articulated to substantiate the importance of building participatory spaces for human development. The authors were inserted in a public school from the year 2015 to the year 2017, holding class assemblies with primary school students. The content discussed in these meetings was re¬corded in field diaries, from which three narratives were selected for analysis. The first narrative deals with a discussion of physical education activities; the second presents a student sharing his suffering in the face of bullying as he cries in class; the third reports a discussion about the theft of a pencil. It is concluded that guided by critical perspective, psychology can contribute to the strengthening of subjects, collaborating to the expansion of their agency.

General Information

Keywords: student participation; agency; cultural-historical psychology; German critical psychology; school democratization; child development

Journal rubric: Problems of Cultural-Historical and Activity Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Funding. This paper presents some of the results of a Doctoral thesis. The doctoral research was funded by the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (Capes — Brazil — Process number: 88887.148338/2017-00).

For citation: Meireles J., Guzzo R.S. From Interpsychological to Intrapsychological: Developing Students’ Agency. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2021. Vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 69–76. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2021170310.


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Information About the Authors

Jacqueline Meireles, Doctor of Psychology, Ph.D. in Psychology as Profession and Science, is a professor of the Educational Psychology Graduate Program of Unifieo, Unifieo, Sao Paolo, Brazil, ORCID:, e-mail:

Raquel S. Guzzo, Doctor of Psychology, Ph.D. in School and Developmental Psychology, is a full professor in graduate and undergraduate Psychology courses and coordinates a Research group, Pontifical Catholic University of Campinas, Sao Paolo, Brazil, ORCID:, e-mail:



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