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Cultivating Minds is a ground-breaking unification of the ideas of Simmel and contemporary perspectives in cultural psychology. The theoretical framework proposed is based on an integration of core philosophical, sociological, and psychological ideas from the intellectual traditions of pragmatism, socioculturalism, constructivism, and transactionalism.
The primary focus of this work is on cultivation as a metaphor for identity formation. According to this idea, each and every human agent is an active producer of its own development and identity. The cultivation model expands existing sociocultural perspectives by elaborating further how an individual's cultivation of the sociocultural environment is mediated through artefacts and objects, a concept exemplified by the identity processes demonstrated by graffiti artists. The idea of the cultured mind has profound implications not only for cultural psychology but also for theories of identity and, of course, development. It affects the way we understand the formation of the self and, in the end, the growth of the person. The result is a theory which captures the convergence between identity, culture and development in new and far-reaching ways.
Part 1. Identity and the Significance of Meaning. The Semiotic Mediation of the Self. The Self as Act. Part 2. Identity through Culture. The Rediscovery of Georg Simmel's Work on Culture. Simmelian Cultivation: The Mutuality of the Person-culture Process. Part 3. The Cultivating Minds Paradigm. Identity, Culture, and Development Under Transactional Issues. Cultivating Meanings as Mediating Possibilities for the Self. Behavior Settings as Media for Children's Cultivation. The Writing on the Wall: Cultural Piracy to Struggle with the Self.