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[Xmca-l] Re: Leontyev's activities

I think that this notion of "motive" gets a lot closer to where I'm trying
to get to. If we want to speak of motivations, then we need to speak of
them as distributed between people. This articulation of "motive" does it
very nicely.
(I'm not thrilled with the distinction between "only understood motives"
vs. "really effective motives")
The one place where I might still suggest some tweaking is in the sense in
which a motivation appears as a highly intentional thing - as if it is
something that is reflected upon and then undertaken. I think most activity
does not have this quality - we too often find ourselves doing things that
we didn't necessarily plan to do. Or to put this another way, we are often
captured by moods such that it is only in retrospect that we construct a
"motivation". And, of course, there are habitual actions that we engage in
all the time, but which lack any sense of reflection.
But this is not to say that there aren't many instances of intentional
reflection upon one's motivations.

On Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 8:44 PM, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

> Greg,
> 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?
> Andy
> 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.

Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602