Riegel, Dialectics, and MulticulturalismMeacham J.
State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, N.Y., USA
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Riegel’s dialectical theory of development, which considers transactions occurring among major developmental progressions – biological, psychological, and cultural-historical – has much in common with Soviet psychology of the 1930s and 1940s, in particular with Rubinstein’s theory of constitutive relationism. Biology, the individual, history, and culture do not preexist independently of each other; instead, the nature of each is determined through its relationships with all of the others. It is in this sense that Riegel’s developmental theory, drawing upon Rubinstein’s theory of constitutive relationism, is dialectical. Riegel’s dialectical theory originated within the context of American society in the 1970s, yet continues to have relevance for our understanding of issues of multiculturalism and diversity in psychology. Ethnic and racial identities and communities need to be defined not independently but through their relationships with each other.
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