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[Xmca-l] Re: Leontyev's activities
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- Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Leontyev's activities
- From: Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2013 12:47:12 +1000
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The reservations you mention are precisely the issues. That is why I
look to concepts or ideals from which one can deduce norms of belief,
action and meaning, rather than just relying on intentional pursuit of
an externally existing aim.
Greg Thompson wrote:
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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
Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/