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[Xmca-l] Re: Leontyev's activities

Pardon my ignorance on this issue (I can assure you this is more than just pretense!), but if conversation is activity, what is the object of this activity?

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 11, 2013, at 7:28 AM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com> wrote:

> FYI, Greg.
> Activity is defined by its object.  See p. 363 in The Development of Mind
> (Problems of Dev.)
> Huw
> On 9 August 2013 04:24, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>> Greg Thompson wrote:
>>> Andy, I think I need still more help.
>>> I got lost at, well, "an activity (generally) exists". Wondering what
>>> this could mean.
>>   xmca didn't exist when Mike Cole launched it. But for the many
>>   thousands who have joined it since, it *existed*. Thus is
>>   "generally" exists. On the whole, we *join* rather than create
>>   activities (projects).
>> Then the middle part seems to make some sense for me: activities don't
>>> simply and reasonably follow the intentions of their participants, but then
>>> lost you again at the end, with "the outcome in '*immanent* in the project
>>> itself". Not sure what exactly that means either.
>>   As Vygotsky says somewhere, the problem which stimulates the
>>   activity (the development of the concept) cannot in itself account
>>   for the project (or concept). The *means* utilised, which
>>   corresponds to how the problem or task is conceived by the agents,
>>   is what is crucial. I.e., not the problem or task as such, but the
>>   conception of the task, constitutes the ideal. But what this ideal
>>   is, is *only realised by the work of the project itself*.
>>> And as a bigger question, I am trying to figure out "where" the activity
>>> exists? And "who" is a part of it?
>>   OK, but just don't expect to find an abstract empirical (logical
>>   positivist) answer to that. An activity (or project) is an aggregate
>>   of *actions* not *people*. These actions are the fundamental (micro)
>>   unit of an activity, which is a molar unit of human life as a whole.
>>   So an activity exists in its artefact-mediated actions, not a group
>>   of people.
>>  For example, with XMCA, is each thread or discussion an activity? What
>>> about all the intersections and overlaps with previous and soon-to-be
>>> discussions? Or is the whole history of XMCA an activity?
>>> And as to "who", is it just the people talking (i.e. writing!), or are
>>> the "lurkers" part of the activity? And are non-XMCA folks with whom the
>>> writers and lurkers speak, and who have significantly influenced the
>>> writers' ideas - are they a part of the activity?
>>   (1) Like all the concepts which are part of a science, projects are
>>   *nested*. An aggregate of actions may have ideal or object which
>>   makes sense only as part of one or more larger projects. All the
>>   concepts of a science obviously have complex interactions and
>>   interdependncies. No clear boundaries or lines of demarcation. Their
>>   truth is part of the *whole*. (2) The question of "who" is part of
>>   it  is the wrong question. An activity is an aggregate of actions,
>>   not individual persons. Also, a project is the particular of a
>>   concept. As a particular, the project has a relatively definite
>>   location in time and space. But it is an instance realising a
>>   concept which is a unit of an entire social formation. So the scope
>>   of a project, being part of a family of such projects, may be larger
>>   than the immediate participating actions.
>>> In short, what are the bounds of an activity?
>>> (oh, and where does a "project" fit into all of this?)
>>   Boundary questions are the royal road to confusion. The question is
>>   what is the concept (or in common parlance the "essence") of a project.
>>   "A project" is just another word for "an activity." But it has its
>>   own history and connotations in our culture. (BTW "project" and
>>   "design" are the same word in Russian: "proyekt" and the etymology
>>   of "de-sign" is interesting too) and also, by using a different word
>>   I can get away from the orthodoxy of what ANL or someone else says
>>   is the case for "an activity." So if I say that the object of a
>>   project is immanent within the project, I am not directly
>>   contradicting an Activity Theorist for whom the Object or motive is
>>   given for the Activity. I want to re-discuss all the concepts of
>>   Activity Theory without being stumped by orthodoxy, so a new word helps.
>>   Andy
>> -greg