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Re: [xmca] The 'activity' concept in CHAT
I am a big fan of Lave and Wenger, but I don't see them as representing
the mainstream of CHAT. There certainly are commonalities between CHAT and
their Communities of Practice (CoP) approach, but I don't think they're
For one thing, while CHAT focuses on Activities and Activity Systems, CoP
focuses on Practices and Communities of Practice.
I don't know whether it would fit in your seminar, but you could certainly
explore disciplinary perspectives on practices, as well as perspectives on
activities. Bourdieu is just one source who comes to mind on practices.
This could be interesting b/c I think it would reveal different kinds of
problematics motivating the alternative discourses. In Bourdieu's case, at
least (which Lave has been quite attentive to), the dialectic between
structure and agency has been a key problematic, in a way that I think has
not been the same for CHAT.
I'm tempted to venture suggestions for what might be the counterpart in
CHAT, put I'd better leave that for those here (pretty much everybody else
here, in fact) who know more than I do about CHAT.
On Wed, 20 Jul 2011, Nathaniel Dumas wrote:
I hope all is well. I am currently designing a syllabus for an anthropology
seminar, ?Activities as Ethnographic and Analytical Foci,? and one of the
first questions we ask in the seminar is ?What is an activity?? from
different disciplinary perspectives (including anthropology, psychology, and
sociology). That said, could anyone recommend a few titles from CHAT that
deal particularly with this question? The classics that come to my mind is
the Lave and Wenger's works in addition to Leont'ev's essay on the activity.
Thus, I'm curious if there are any other contemporary writings on this
concept. Feel free to reply to me offline at firstname.lastname@example.org, if
UC President's Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Santa Barbara
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are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
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