Until recently, motivation has been considered to be an individual phenomenon. Motivational theorists have accordingly conceptualised key constructs in individualistic terms and emphasised the individual origins and nature of motivation, although they have also long recognised that contextual or social factors have a significant influence on these individual processes. Recently this conceptualisation has been questioned as theorists have suggested, after Vygotsky, that motivation, like learning and thinking, might be social in nature. This idea was first suggested by Sivan (1986) more than twenty years ago but it received a major impetus with the publication of an article by Hickey (1997) eleven years later. Since that time interest in the social nature of motivation has grown as a small number of book chapters and journal articles have been published and conference papers have been presented on the topic. Although some motivational theorists remain sceptical (e.g. Winne, 2004) of this theoretical development, the inclusion of a section on sociocultural approaches to motivation in Perry, Turner, and Meyer's (2006) chapter on classrooms as contexts for motivating learning in the 2nd edition of the Handbook of Educational Psychology suggests that this perspective is being seriously considered by motivational researchers. Similarly, the inclusion of a chapter (Walker, in press-b) on the sociocultural approach to motivation in the 3rd edition of the International Encyclopedia of Education indicates that this approach has achieved some recognition.
Walker, R., Pressick-Kilborn, K., Sainsbury, E. and MacCallum, J. (2010), "A sociocultural approach to motivation: A long time coming but here at last", Urdan, T.C. and Karabenick, S.A. (Ed.) The Decade Ahead: Applications and Contexts of Motivation and Achievement (Advances in Motivation and Achievement, Vol. 16 Part B), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-42. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0749-7423(2010)000016B004
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