New View On Education: From Paradigm Of Technology To Paradigm Of Value


The article discusses the transformation of Russian education in the situation of modern challenges. The necessity of transition from education models, based on economic and technological values, to pre-adaptive education models as a space of freedom and opportunities, is justified. They are focused on personalization, variability, openness of the system to new experience and are developed through the optics of the humanitarian standard “culture of dignity”. The models, based on the values of “culture of usefulness”, are being criticized. The conceptualization of pre-adaptive education models is based on the cultural and psychological analysis of modernity and the historical-genetic approach to the study of evolution of Russian education and society. The reasons of the incompleteness of the Russian modernization are identified. The Russian style in the formation of the education system is analyzed. The Russian model of social development is compared with the European model of sociocultural modernization of society. It is shown that in the domestic history beginning with the reforms of Peter the Great only the technological side of modernization was adopted, but humanitarian essence, including humanization of society, quality of everyday life, human dignity, was not recognized. The meaning of the construct “reformation in education” is revealed, the difference of this concept from the existing ideas about education reforms is emphasized.

Keywords: Methodologysocio-cultural modernization of educationpersonalityhumanismeducational reforms


Nowadays the evolutionary meaning of cultural modernization of society and its education system is determined by the tasks of transition from an industrial to post-industrial and informational type of culture, from a stagnant economy to a scientific and technological breakthrough but most importantly to a different humanitarian standard of relations between a state and a person.

First, positive modernization of Russian education system requires answers to the questions about its humanitarian meaning and purposes, about the proposed implementation mechanisms that affect fates of specific generations – of both students and their families. Only the one which improves life quality and humanitarian standard of development is justified for carrying out reforms that weigh down the everyday life of Russians.

In order to achieve success in the socio-cultural modernization of education, it is necessary to study the socio-cultural context of the education system and consider the obstacles that arise on the way of modernization.

The studies of Russian philosopher Shpet (2005) and German philologist Burdakh (2004) provide an important historical material for understanding the Russian style of education reforming.

In the modern world it is quality education that is the psychological resource that allows individuals to respond сonstructively to the challenges of uncertainty, complexity and diversity of life. A new look at the problems of education proves that questions about the value meaning of education, about what education gives a changing person in a changing world, come to the fore.

Historical-genetic analysis by G.G. Shpet

The Russian education system was originally developed during the government reforms, it was born out of the technocratic spirit of a reform as a special style of social action. Shpet (2005) has made historical-genetic analysis of these processes.

He showed that utilitarianism, technocratism, a scornful and cautious attitude towards knowledge as such were the values of reforms in the formation of the traditions of national education. His work suggests that utilitarianism and disregard for the cultural standards of human culture were the leading reformist style in Russia from Peter the Great to our days. Another feature of Russian tradition of reformation was its centralization and the tendency of state to control both – the life of society and the life of individual.

In addition, Shpet (2005) revealed that any historical movement involves the natural confrontation between two tendencies: on the one hand, the free development of culture, and on the other hand, the conservative spirit of the state. Thus, two different social styles determined the sociocultural context of the Russian modernization of society and its education system.

Cultural-historical analysis by K. Burdakh

According to the works of Burdakh (2004) the Renaissance is a “mental revolution”, the source of which was the striving of an individual for a new national, ethical and social order. The essence of the Renaissance was to change the anthropological optics: the discovery of human in the history of culture and the discovery of human by himself. It was a pan-European cultural movement that spontaneously erupted everywhere from steadily evolving spiritual transformations. Its essence was to deepen and revive e the spiritual life, the liberation of an individual, the awakening of personal feelings, attention to nature and experience, a realistic style in art, etc.

The Renaissance in the history of culture was followed by a Reformation. Essence of the Reformation was the requirement that the renewal of the church community and its religious life should stem from the renewal of the individual's religiosity. Thus, from an evolutionary perspective this was a consistent trend of individualization and personalization of a person.

Basing on the study of the fundamental cultural-historical work by Burdakh (2004), we argue that it is precisely the activity of people of the historical eras of the Renaissance (giving rise to humanism), the Reformation (stimulating personalization processes and personal autonomy), Enlightenment (raising the critical thinking of the individual at the mass level) that directly relate to humanistic modernization of society and its education system.

Problem Statement

The concept of reform has negative connotations in the Russian socio-cultural environment. The problem here lies in the value discord between the motives of an individual and the unfriendly technocratic attitude of the state towards people. This value dissonance is manifested in the trauma of the mass consciousness as a reaction to social injustice, to the loss of sensitivity of officials to the destinies of an individual and to his human dignity.

We assume that an understanding of the prospects for education system modernization and the related personality development requires an analysis of the socio-cultural environment.

The historical-genetic, socio-cultural and cultural-psychological analysis of the evolution of education and society shows that there are two systems of social actions, aimed at the transformation of education: authoritarian reforms and humanistic reformation.

In the light of cultural-historical and socio-cultural analysis

In an ideal scenario the state should be led by a developing modern society, but the technocratic political system in Russia does not allow this. This contradiction becomes on the one hand a prerequisite for a systemic crisis and leads to a value dissonance between the state and society and on the other hand it manifests itself in unpredictable events and a complicated ontology of Russian life, fraught with psychological trauma and social risks.

In the conceptual framework of the cultural-analytical approach a theoretical model was developed that differentiated between the ideal self of the country (mythologized ideas about society) and the real self of the country (empirically given but not always realized ontology of modernity). Over the past decades in the scientific discourse it has often been suggested that Russia did not survive its Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment as not just cultural epochs but as necessary cultural and psychological stages experienced by European countries during the waves of modernization: when moving from feudalism to absolutism first (centralized national state) and then to the modern (legal, democratic, secular and civil) society (Guseltseva, 2015, 2018).

From the perspective of socio-cultural analysis modern Russia is represented by mixed strata of traditional, industrial and post-industrial cultures where along with advanced and socially mobile communities there are widely represented sections of the population that still find themselves in the cultural-psychological time before modernization – in traditional society. This reality is also reflected in the education system which has not experienced social actions of the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment (Asmolov, 2012; Guseltseva, 2015).

In the light of historical-genetic and interdisciplinary analysis

It should be noted that the methodology of interdisciplinary analysis is not sufficiently used to study the socio-cultural modernization in general and the education system in particular. However, thanks to the achievements of evolutionary biology and the social sciences and humanities, methodological updating of the modern human science is taking place today. The phenomenology of non-adaptive manifestations in biology, sociology and psychology is viewed today as not failures and evolutionary errors but unobvious developmental possibilities where pre-adaptation to an unpredictable future plays an important role. Thus, preadaptation to uncertainty becomes the strategy of navigation for developing systems, acts as a factor in generating redundancy of biological, cognitive, social and psychological diversity. From this point of view evolution is viewed as solving various kinds of problems for uncertainty and is associated with two complementary modes of sociocultural dynamics: adaptive evolution, creating stability, and specialization of type-specific and socially approved forms of behaviour and pre-adaptive evolution ensuring readiness for changes and generating new forms of life (Asmolov, Shekhter, & Chernorizov, 2017).

Research Questions

It is necessary to understand the factors and determinants of dynamics of the socio-cultural modernization of education in Russia. Research tasks included:

  • understanding the evolutionary and socio-cultural essence of education as a process, contributing to the modernization of society and the transformation of the values of the younger generations;

  • identify the main stages of the socio-cultural modernization of education and society;

  • detection of the evolutionary meaning and value-sense of each stage of sociocultural modernization of education and society.

Purpose of the Study

The purposes of this study are:

  • affirmation of a new view on education as a resource of socio-cultural modernization of education in the situation of transformation from an authoritarian model of life to a humanistic and human-friendly model;

  • justification through historical-genetic, cultural-historical and socio-cultural analysis of the evolutionary advantages of humanistic education reform in relation to the authoritarian and technocratic process of its modernization;

  • demonstration of advantages of the educational trends of personalization and individualisation (relevant pre-adaptive humanistic model of life) contrary to the trends of reducing education to the system of knowledge and skills, instrumental technologies, and the repertoire of instrumental techniques (relevant technocratic and authoritarian model of life).

Research Methods

In this methodological study the following methods were used:

  • Historical-genetic analysis using the works of the Russian philosopher Shpet (2005).

  • Cultural-historical analysis using the work of the German philologist Burdakh (2004).

  • Socio-cultural analysis of the state of modern Russian education and society, based on the original author's models (Asmolov, 2012, 2015; Guseltseva, 2015, 2018).

  • Interdisciplinary and comparative analysis.


We propose a humanistic reformation of education in contrast to the utilitarian Russian reforms that are not human-friendly and do not prioritize the task of making people's everyday lives less difficult. The essence of the humanistic reformation of the education system is the priority of humanistic values ​​of attitudes over utilitarian pragmatic attitudes as well as the change of methodological optics which opens prospects for strengthening the civic initiative and personal participation of actors in the process of transformation concerning their immediate life and the future of their children. On these attitudes an anthropological (human) approach to the modernization of education is based.

Our thesis is that it is necessary to move on from the historical tradition of reformation (where a state dominates a human) to reformatory innovations (where state is subordinated to the society and serves the interests of human development).

The historical traditions and socio-cultural situation of the formation of the Russian educated society was determined by the fact that enlightenment and humanistic ideas broke through rather in spite of state policy, and development itself did not flow through the mainstream Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment and general humanization of society but by latent currents and movements emanating from all-seeing the eye of the state. In fact, this style of latent modernization of Russian life is still going on.

First, positive modernization of Russian education system requires answers to the questions about its humanitarian meaning and purposes, about the proposed implementation mechanisms that affect fates of specific generations – of both students and their families. Only the one which improves life quality and humanitarian standard of development is justified for carrying out reforms that weigh down the everyday life of Russians.

In our study the leading value-senses were found out at various stages of the sociocultural modernization of education by means of historical-genetic, cultural-historical and socio-cultural analysis.

Meaning of the cultural practices and social activities of the Renaissance

The Renaissance was a cultural practice of rethinking the old traditions: reworking the heritage of antiquity and critical points of medieval thinking. It was the time, when individuality was born and humanism as a civilizational paradigm of social life was formed. In the conceptual framework of the cultural-analytical approach the Renaissance as a psychological and value transformation is an important movement in the socio-cultural modernization of education (Guseltseva, 2015).

Meaning of the cultural practices and social activities of the Reformation

The Reformation was the next stage in the modernization of mental life of a human and society and brought them cultural practices of freedom of conscience, free-thinking, non-interference of religious organizations in private life of an individual. An important aspect of this process was the secularization of society, the separation of church and state and its participation in educational matters.

Meaning of the cultural practices and social activities of the Enlightenment

The value-sense of the Enlightenment was formulated by Kant (1966), who defined the Enlightenment as the achievement of a human of full age and the ability to use his own mind himself. The works of the Enlightenment activists such as I. Kant, J. Herder, J. Locke, F. Voltaire, D. Diderot, C.-L. Montesquieu, and others laid down a new paradigm of relations between society and the state, the concept of the rule of law, civil society and personal dignity. Free-thinking and self-esteem are inalienable human rights, the cultivation of which leads society to positive modernization. However, mastering these rights requires personal courage and civic responsibility.

We see here a distinct personalization trend (Table 01 ). The paradigm shift was realized in changing the practice of interaction between a person and a state: in the transition from a “person for state” model to a “state for person” model. A new model of education was developed by W. Humboldt. The paradigm shift from the utilitarian approach to human – to the development of the individual as the goal and meaning of the state – was the basis for modernization as a civilizational process, as a sociocultural transformation of society into modernity.

Table 1 -
See Full Size >

In the competition for a scientific and technological breakthrough those who are focused on the strategy of pre-adaptation – preparedness for change, benefit. With the current level of complexity, uncertainty and diversity of the socio-cultural space, authoritarian modernization, relatively effective at the industrial stage of development of society, lose its leading role. The advanced development of the modern economy requires not a hierarchical structure of the state, not centralized management but the development of network structures and diverse horizontal links. The scientific and technological breakthrough is rooted in the humanitarian standard of modern human’s everyday life. The human potential and creative initiative is more important for the post-industrial information development of society than the government and its controlling functions.

The main reason for the failure of the Russian modernization waves is the rejection by the management elites of such values ​​as the autonomy and self-identity of the individual; priority ideals of the person over the interests of the state. The essence of successful modernization lies in the paradigm shift from “person for the state” to “state for human development”. In this regard society does not need a school that prepares children for state but needs a state that serves to develop education and unleash human potential.


Historical-genetic, cultural-historical and socio-cultural analysis have shown that the modernization of education is a rather complex and layered process. Two processes of modernization took place in the evolution of Russian society: the first was official modernization (technocratic, industrial, the initiator and beneficiary of which was the state that is the minority of the management elite and the main population of the country received cultural injuries and suffered hardships); and the second is latent modernization (lower), occurring spontaneously due to the processes of cultural self-organisation.

From these positions we have shown, that in the modern world reforms as technocratic management styles and strategies unfriendly to human are becoming less productive. Technocratic reforms, unlike the humanistic reformation, lead to value discord between the state and society, society and the person, creating prerequisites for all sorts of social conflicts.

Successful modernization is based on the transformation of values. The logic of history, the latent self-organization of society, the creative activity of a subject and the renewal request born at the intersection of these aspirations become sources of sociocultural modernizing movements.


  1. Asmolov, A.G. (2012). Optics of Enlightenment: Sociocultural Perspectives. Moscow: Prosveshchenie.
  2. Asmolov, A.G. (2015). Psychology of modernity: the challenges of uncertainty, complexity and diversity. Psikhologicheskie issledovaniya, 8(40), 1.
  3. Asmolov, A.G., Shekhter, E.D., & Chernorizov, A.M. (2017). Preadaptation to uncertainty as a strategy of developing systems navigation: The ways of evolution. Voprosy psikhologii, 4, 3–26.
  4. Burdakh, K. (2004). Reformatsiya. Renessans. Gumanizm. Moscow: Rossiyskaya politicheskaya entsiklopediya Publ.
  5. Guseltseva, M.S. (2015). Images of worthy future as a factor of positive socialization of children and adolescents: the idea of modernization. Obrazovatel'naya politika, 2, 6–26.
  6. Guseltseva, M.S. (2018). The study of identity in the context of cultural changes. Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya, 11(58), 1.
  7. Kant, I. (1966). Foundations. Moscow: Mysl' Publ.
  8. Shpet, G.G. (2005). Philosophical and psychological works. Moscow: Nauka.

Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

14 July 2019

eBook ISBN



Future Academy



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Psychology, educational psychology, counseling psychology

Cite this article as:

Asmolov, A., & Guseltseva*, M. (2019). New View On Education: From Paradigm Of Technology To Paradigm Of Value. In T. Martsinkovskaya, & V. R. Orestova (Eds.), Psychology of Subculture: Phenomenology and Contemporary Tendencies of Development, vol 64. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 33-39). Future Academy.