Culture and Environment
Russia was a country in transition around the turn of the century.2
While in some ways, they were as advanced as western european nations,
they were still behind in other areas. The Czarist government, antiquated
calendar, and frequent use of censorship are examples of this. Being
Jewish in the time that Vygotsky lived in Russia was also not without difficulties.
He faced discrimination particularily early in his life.
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When Vygotsky was young, his family was restricted as to where they were
allowed to live.4 He also had to deal with the quotas
of Jewish students admitted to universities. Finally, the professions
that Jews were allowed to pursue were also restricted, leading in part
to his initial decision to study medicine when he went to Moscow University.
Later in Vygotsky's career, after the Russian revolution of 1917, the social
and cultural environment was ripe for change and new ideas. This
proved to be a benefit for Vygotsky since people were anxious to hear his
ideas and the way he incorporated Marxist ideals into his psychological
Figure 3: The Sretenka street near the Sucharevkaya
Photograph. The end of the 19th - the beginning of 20th century.