Re: Request for Leont'ev's hunting excerpt

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Thu Jan 20 2005 - 14:34:54 PST

Oh, yrjo-- you forgot to use the power available to you even in the
countryside so long as you know about xmca. Is this what you wanted?

The problem of levels in human functioning was theoretically worked
out by A. N. Leont'ev, a collaborator and pupil of Vygotsky.

    "When a member of a group performs his labour activity he also
does it to satisfy one of his needs. A beater, for example, taking
part in a primaeval collective hunt, was stimulated by a need for food
or, perhaps, by a need for clothing, which the skin of the dead animal
would meet for him. At what, however, was his activity directly aimed?
It may have been directed, for example, at frightening a herd of
animals and sending them toward other hunters, hiding in ambush. That,
properly speaking, is what should be the result of the activity of
this man. And the activity of this individual member of the hunt ends
with that. The rest is completed by the other members. This result,
i.e., the frightening of game, etc., understandably does not in
itself, and may not, lead to satisfaction of the beater's need for
food, or the skin of the animal. What the processes of his activity
were directed to did not, consequently, coincide with what stimulated
them, i.e., did not coincide with the motive of his activity; the two
were divided from one another in this instance. Processes, the object
and motive of which do not coincide with one another, we shall call
'actions'. We can say, for example, that the beater's activity is the
hunt, and the frightening of game his action." (Leontyev 1981, 210.)

    "(...) what unites the direct result of this activity with its
final outcome? Obviously nothing other than the given individual's
relation with the other members of the group, by virtue of which he
gets his share of the bag from them, i.e., part of the product of
their joint labor activity. This relationship, this connection is
realised through the activity of other people, which means that it is
the activity of other people that constitutes the objective basis of
the specific structure of the human individual's activity, means that
historically, i.e., through its genesis, the connection between the
motive and the object of an action reflects objective social
connections and relations rather than natural ones." (Leontyev 1981,

It is to be found, among other places, by using the google option for
lchc where it in a
book by some fellow from the FroZEN noRth. A relative perhaps?

On Thu, 20 Jan 2005 23:12:24 +0100, Yrjö Engeström
<> wrote:
> Colleagues, I accidentally deleted the recent message which contained
> the excerpt on primeval hunting from Leont'ev (1981). Being on
> sabbatical in the countryside, I don't have all my books at hand and I
> need the text badly. Could someone please be so kind and send me the
> excerpt once again.
> Many thanks!
> Yrjö Engeström

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