The International Society for Cultural and Activity Research (ISCAR) is a scientific association that aims to promote and develop multidisciplinary theoretical and empirical research on societal, cultural and historical dimensions of human practices, as well as to support scientific communication and research cooperation among its members.
No singular description fully characterizes the intellectual focus of ISCAR, even if the primary frame of reference that has historically brought researchers together from different disciplines into ISCAR has been an interest in a related set of psychologically-oriented theoretical perspectives that were first formulated in the 1920s and 1930s in the Soviet Union by such researchers as L.S. Vygotsky, A.N. Leontiev, A.R. Luria, and S.L. Rubinshtein. The ideas of the Cultural-Historical Theory and Activity Approach started to attract attention of the international community in the 1960s, and gained popularity especially among psychologists, educational researchers and linguists. Subsequently they raised interest of computer scientists, IT specialists and other researchers focusing on collective practices. The diversity of disciplinary backgrounds and specific research interests led to the reception of these theoretical perspectives in differentiated ways, so that theoretical foci were formulated that emphasized a subset of ideas from these perspectives, so that today there is no typical or predominant theoretical perspective within ISCAR.
As a result of cooperation between Moscow State University of Psychology & Education (MSUPE) and International Society for Cultural-historical Activity Research (ISCAR) – in 2010 a unique project was launched - International ISCAR Summer University for PhD students and young scholars. The Summer University has been organized by MSUPE (Moscow, Russian Federation) as an annual event for over 10 years. Participation in the Summer University allows young scholars from all over the world to familiarize themselves with the tradition of the cultural-historical scientific school and discover how the ideas of L.S. Vygotsky and his followers may be applied nowadays both theoretically and empirically.
As the University unit, Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Contemporary Childhood annually contributes to the organization of the Summer University.