Volume 2   Number 1      Fall 2007

Constructing the Internal Infinity:  Dialogic Structure of the Internalization/Externalization Process – A Commentary on Susswein, Bibok, and Carpendale’s “Reconceptualizing Internalization”
Jaan Valsiner
Clark University, USA
pp. 207-221   (pdf)
ABSTRACT. Susswein et al’s analysis of the existing discourse on internalization in psychology continues the dialogue within the socio-cultural field on the prioritization of person-centered (focusing on the “inside”<>”outside” separation) or communion-centered (emphasizing the core meanings of “participation”, “mastery”) tactics for theory construction. Taking the latter axiomatic stand, Susswein et al. decide not to build their account through the use of the internalization concept, persuading their readers to accept the notions of mastery and adaptation instead. In contrast, I start from the axiomatic perspective within which internalization is necessarily the central concept. My theoretical construction prioritizes subjective experiencing as culturally mediated through the personal construction of the self that coincides with re-construction of the cultural (semiotic) mediating devices. The multi-layer model of internalization/externalization guarantees the production of novelty and openness to innovation together with selective buffering of the intra-psychological affective and mental worlds through dialogical processes at the always ambiguous quadratic boundary of the unity of INSIDE/OUTSIDE and PAST/FUTURE functionally related opposites. Possible forms of dialogical processes at the transfer loci are discussed.
Keywords: internalization/externalization, adaptation, axiomata in science, process models, boundary