RE: Leont'ev-Vygotsky controversy

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Mon Feb 16 2004 - 15:43:11 PST

I think your question is completely reasonable, Steve. I am simply not
in a position to deviate properly from overdue obligations under conditions
of restricted work capacity to help formulate a productive answer vis a
Vis Leontiev. I did the Chaiklin et al Activity Theory and Practice book
off my shelf and perused it for a couple of minutes with your question in
mind. But there is no subject index and scanning the first few chapters did
not reveal anyone writing about labor/labour. Rather, the opening line
of the intro essay begins: "Activity theory and the cultural-historical
approach to psychology have their roots in the theory and research of LS
Vygotsky and AN Leontiev." (p. 12).

This does speak to the way that Leontiev is positioned vis a vis Vygotsky
and Vygotsky vis a vis activity theory. But I suspect that a fuller answer
to your question needs to be sought in original texts. Nate's fantastic
site probably contains a lot. the online version of Learning by Expanding
should prove interesting to search. And it would not overlook any searchable
Rubenshtein texts.

Sorry to be unhelpful. The spirit is willing, but the body/mind are
working overtime to get back to my normal self (well, a wiser normal self
woudn't be a bad outcome either!).

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