Language and Sociocultural Theory, Vol 3, No 1 (2016)

A dialectical reading of Dynamic Systems Theory: Transcending socialized cognition and cognized social dualism in L2 studies

Saeed Karimi-Aghdam
Issued Date: 4 Apr 2016


Dynamic systems theory (DST) has affordances to be a quintessential metatheoretical architecture for the nuancing of the time-locked mechanisms and processes of the L2 system. The received construal of DST in L2 studies presumes the emergence of structural regularities and the cognitive organization of the L2 system as simply a function of lower-level language use in social milieux. Critiquing some of the bedrock assumptions anchoring the extant reading, this article sketches a complementary dialectical construal of DST. Explicating circular causality, a nexus of causality types, and self-organizational emergence and their attendant implications for an adequate description and explanation of L2 as an emerging, dynamic and complex system are discussed respectively. The article concludes with some interpretive remarks.

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DOI: 10.1558/lst.v3i1.27547


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