Re: [xmca] Exchange from the past, part two.

From: maria judith (
Date: Fri Dec 16 2005 - 10:37:10 PST

Dear Yrjo

this is really interesting. learning is always a difficult process to put in
during classes we try to solve some of communication problems of learning
your ideas open a new way. how can I get your book?
thank you

----- Original Message -----
From: "bb" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2005 4:22 PM
Subject: [xmca] Exchange from the past, part two.

> ---------- Forwarded Message ----------
> Subject: Jon Tudge's comments
> Date: Tuesday 24 November 1987 1:59 am
> From: wp208
> To: xlchc
> Cc: cole, wp208
> Dear Jon, thanks for interesting comments. Here are my reactions:
> 1) Why should the inner points in the triangles be called subprocesses?
> I suspect that your question arises partly out of the difficulty to read
> my diagrammatic model in the screen. If you are interested, I'll send you
> a copy of my book 'Learning by Expanding' (1987) where you can see both
> model and its grounding and applications. The inner points are actually
> smaller subtriangles within a complex triangle. My assertion is that any
> activity system necessarily contains the aspects or subprocesses of
> production, distribution, exchange and consumption (I'm here talking of
> human activity systems). I don't quite understand why they should be
> products instead of processes. For me, the important thing is to study
> the dynamic transitions within activity systems. Take a simplified
> If we study the work activity within a factory, the immediately visible
> process is a worker using a machine to mold some raw material: the
> subtriangle of 'production' in the limited sense. Soon we realize that
> individual worker is a part of a complex workforce - the work community
> the factory. What tasks he has to fulfill and what rewards he gets out of
> his performance are continuously negotiated and reconstructed: the
> subtriangle of
> distribution. Furthermore, we realize that the worker continuously
> communicates with other members of the community, exchanges experiences
> and establishes cultural patterns and norms, while being also subject to
> rules and regulations such as time schedules etc.: the subtriangle of
> exchange. Finally, in the consummation of each work action, the worker
> also lets his own workforce be consumed by the object, as does the whole
> work community: the subtriangle of consumption. So, I would reserve the
> concept 'product' to describe whatever changes the activity accomplishes
> its objects. In other words, the object of the activity has two faces,
> of actuality or 'givenness' and that of potentiality or projected future
> form. It is important to notice that an activity system always has those
> subprocesses or subtriangles as its integral parts. In historical
> development, new activity systems grow out of the subprocesses (e.g., the
> separation of private consumptive activity from work), but this does not
> eliminate the subprocesses.
> 2) I am not sure that I agree with your idea of consumption being just a
> product of lower mental processes. Marx pointed out that even when an
> animal and a human being are eating the same food, there is a tremendous
> difference between them - man eats his food with a spoon or fork, for one
> thing. When you go to a fine restaurant to consume your dinner, I think
> you feel like a pretty complex mental being, being able to perform the
> notorious 'restaurant script' with dignity. Marx wrote for good reason
> 'productive consumption' and 'consumptive production'. I think that
> consumption is certainly subordinated to the other three subprocesses in
> man's societal activity - but it is in no way a 'lower' process.
> 3) I find it very difficult to analyze developmental changes in time with
> the help of pyramids. Perhaps you could expand on that - I would gladly
> see your idea presented graphically in a normal mail letter. For me, an
> activity system always exists in an network of activity systems. The
> activity we are studying (e.g., the factory work) has a number of vital
> neighbour activities: its products become instruments or objects for the
> activity system(s) they are produced for; it receives instruments for
> activity system(s) that produce instruments, etc. These are essentially
> horizontal connections between activity systems. However, there is also a
> vertical dimension. There are practically always culturally and
> technologically more advanced forms of the same activity system somewhere
> around; they exist as external realities and as projected ideas or models,
> blueprints, plans, visions. And there are also 'yesterday' forms of the
> same activity: these too exist as real functioning systems and as mental
> models, habits, embedded structures within formally modernized activities.
> This idea is familiar from El'konin and Leont'ev in the analysis of
> ontogenesis (the sequence of leading or dominant activities of the
> individual). But today it is becoming increasingly important to realize
> even such leading activities as play and school learning are not just
> of individual movement through time - they move and develop themselves.
> When we turn to work activities, we see that perhaps more clearly (maybe
> that is why so few developmental psychologists have taken a serious look
> at work activities - some challenges are too evident to avoid graciously
> there). - All this elaboration of the triangles is, however, insufficient
> for depicting developmental processes effectively. For that purpose, we
> need an additional model. You'll find an attempt in my book. Here I only
> want to point out that such a model of developmental transitions must
> fulfill at least two requirements: (1) it has to account for the emergence
> of qualitative crisis and changes, which means that traditional linear
> conceptions of development as gradual quantitative accumulation,
> interrupted by mysterious upheavals, are useless; (2) it has to account
> the creation of objectively, societally novel artifacts and social
> structures as the essence of development, i.e., conceptions which depict
> development solely or predominantly in terms of internalization and
> acquisition of given culture are insufficient.
> Best regards,
> Yrjo Engestrom
> -------------------------------------------------------
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