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CUP book

Sociocultural Realities: Exploring new horizons

20 November 2023

Edited by Angus Macfarlane, Sonja Macfarlane and Melinda Webber


October 2015
224pp, Softback
228 x 152 mm
ISBN 978-1-927145-72-2

Sociocultural Realities: Exploring new horizons examines sociocultural approaches in the education sector, from early childhood to tertiary. With few publications covering such a range, there is a common struggle to gain a better understanding of the impact of social and cultural discourses on learning and teaching; this book aims to encourage the discussion and application of the theory and practice by researchers, policy-makers and teacher educators in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Canada and elsewhere. 

The evolution of sociocultural theory is illustrated, and its links to cultural diversity across these three geographically distinct settings are shared. By way of a range of personal experiences, and some innovative research that showcases sociocultural theory in practice, the book offers practical examples for educators to employ in today’s diverse learning contexts. Three key messages recur: the importance of people working in partnership, the worthiness of protecting diversity and uniqueness, and the significance of participation as an enabler of success.

Sociocultural Realities: Exploring new horizons is a reference for teachers, special education advisors, psychologists, university lecturers and paraprofessionals.

Angus Macfarlane is Professor of Māori Research at the University of Canterbury and Kaihautū (Senior Māori Advisor) of the New Zealand Psychological Society.

Sonja Macfarlane is a senior lecturer in the School of Health Sciences and Co-Director of the Māori Research Laboratory at the University of Canterbury.

Melinda Webber is a senior lecturer in the School of Learning, Development and Professional Practice at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland.


“This book is a timely contribution offering a refined understanding of sociocultural traditions of thought. It provides directions for practice, scholarship and critical conversations, connecting different academic disciplines and sectors of society involved in education. Macfarlane, Macfarlane and Webber have done an excellent job in bringing together a range of experienced voices to address key issues affecting educationalists across the sectors. The authors espouse with great appreciation the philosophies, constructs, and interpretations about what socioculturalism means to their respective areas of work in education. They say how it matters and why it connects to outcomes for individuals, groups, and organisations. The 12 chapters of Sociocultural Realities: Exploring new horizons effectively combine theory, research and practice resulting in a valuable contribution that will be useful for policy-makers, academics, teachers, students and families.”

Vanessa Andreotti, Associate Professor, Department of Educational Studies, University of British Columbia

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