[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Xmca-l] Re: Leontyev's activities

I like the idea of a "well-motivated argument" as used in classical and contemporary logic.  So I say stick to motivated.
It works so nicely with the distinction between "merely understood" and "really effective" -- and the transition as merely understood motive becomes really effective.  The subject may engage in the actions that are motivated by two different activity systems with two different motives -- but say the second is merely understood by the subject and the first is really effective for the subject.  When the human conflict-ing (Luria) mash-up happens and the person lapses into a mosaically related but contradictory action -- poof -- the merely understood is now the motive!
So the child you and Leontyev describe doing homework is first really effectively motivated by play with adult rules of priority/timing etc. but when that child scrunches up his homework paper and throws it in the waste basket and starts all over -- poof-- the really effective motive/activity falls apart and the merely understood socio-cultural motive/activity is ready and willing and takes up the slack.  Having alluded to both Luria and Leontyev, I now bring in the Beatles -- it's a long and winding road.  Not a one-time enlightenment! But praxis makes possible.

When we at LCHC, ages ago, were running the after-school school we called "Field College" (pun and polysemy intended), a funding program officer (Marge Martus) commented that she hadn't seen a single child off task in two hours.  And believe me they were not school or adult governed children!  It was because Field College was strewn with motives that virtually begged for children to engage but also to transition from really effective to merely understood and hence to "grow" into a new activity.  It would be, I told Marge, like being in a rainstorm and trying to avoid the raindrops if a child were off-all-the available operating tasks!
We had "center table" rituals and "fifth dimension" constitutions that exposed the merely understood motives. And we had participant structures, tasks, procedures, a lot of bells and whistles that fit in dual activity systems/motives, some combonation of which elicited the child's voluntary engagement in a really effective way.


 From: Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> 
Sent: Monday, August 19, 2013 10:44 PM
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Leontyev's activities

perhaps we could try some alternative words to "motivation"?
What about "ideal" or "concept"? The ideal or concept of a project defines the norms which characterise the activity, and give us the best go at making sense of the "motivation of an activity". I say "the best go" because "motivation" seems to me to be a word which is applicable only to individual persons. Leontyev used the word "motive" for what defined an activity in a way that is ambiguous. It can be, as in Manfred Holodynski's interpretation, the end which is being served by the immediate goals of the actions making up the activity, in the subjective sense that a person is going to the window (goal) because they want give a speech (motive), but also in the objective sense, for example, that an arms factory is producing guns because the community needs guns. In this latter sense, the motive of "producing guns for the community" is an "only understood motive," and what motivates the factory worker (sets her in motion) is the need to earn a wage to
 raise their family - that is the "really effective motive." But the concept of "arms production" does not rely on the questionable idea of "corporate motivation", just the norms of participation in "arms production".

Does that assist at all in your issue, Greg?

Greg Thompson wrote:
> ...
> p.s. ... I think Larry described nicely
> what I am trying to achieve - a notion of activity that does not have at
> its center a sovereign subject. My post questioning the merging of
> phenomenology with activity theory speaks to the central intellectual
> concern and the "for what" of what I'm hoping to do in my work.