The mind of a persistent innovator

Brady Wagoner*, Carolin Demuth, Bo Allesøe Christensen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Jaan Valsiner (2010) once described developmental theorist James Mark Baldwin as “a persistent innovator,” a motto that can equally be applied to himself. In Jaan’s publications, lectures, and discussions with students and colleagues, he has always emphasized the need to push ideas forward beyond what has already been established. Building on an impressive depth and breadth of ideas, his writings are attempts to chart a new course for psychology, bringing novel theoretical and methodological approaches into the discipline. Unlike most academics, Jaan does not repeat his lectures (despite giving many) but pushes himself to add something new each time. He also often gives spontaneous and improvised lectures – a skill he learned as a young lecturer in Estonia (Valsiner, this volume). His pedagogical style has a carnivalesque quality that encourages breaking down formal hierarchies and playing with ideas (Murakami, this volume). At the same time, the young students he supervises experience someone who takes their ideas seriously as producers rather than simply consumers of knowledge (the first author owes his early formation to Jaan’s guidance according to this principle). He frequently highlights that innovations in science come from the young, which he actively promotes with his persistent question of what is new in the research under discussion and what can we do to take it forward.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCulture as process : a tributre to Jaan Valsiner
EditorsBrady Wagoner, Bo Allesøe Christensen, Carolin Demuth
PublisherSpringer Nature
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-77892-7
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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