He, he, vain hope I suppose, that there would be some easily accessible,
'consensus' understanding in the discourse where it is the central concept!
But your excerpts are certainly useful. Perhaps one of 'the Russians' will
offer me some alternatives?
It is just that I am fulfilling my promise to write up "The Subject"
properly. With Fichte I am already using the term 'activity' as it is THE
substance, the fundamental category in Fichte's philosophy, though this is a
fact which is widely overlooked, even by Hegel, (who even goes so far as to
say that "the I is pure activity" but gives no credit for having borrowed
this from Fichte). 'Activity' can clearly be read into Hegel but that would
not be true to Hegel's own definition of his system, and now with Marx I am
using 'activity' to indicate a category which includes 'labour' but is not
limited either to reproduction of the means of life or labour in commodity
production, but just human self-creative purposive ... activity. I am
working chronologically, soCS Peirce is next and after that I will be coming
to Vygotsky & Leontyev, so thought I had better try to get my ideas
Thanks for your contribution Mike. You have said enough that I will be able
to manage. Even the knowledge that there is no settled and definitive
definition is very helpful! ... I can invent my own then, can't I?
At 08:27 PM 7/01/2006 -0800, you wrote:
Cultural psychology p. 139, bb. But ask any Russian and you will learn
that my understanding of the concept of activity is hopelessly misguided!
On 1/7/06, bb <email@example.com> wrote:
> From where does the following text come Mike, from CP? I'm away from my
> library, so i can't check personally.
> > *Following the Activity Thread*
> > Activity theory is anything but a monolithic enterprise. Within Russia
> > are at least two schools of thought about how best to formulate Marx's
> > in psychological terms (Brushlinsky, 1968; Zinchenko, 1985). There is
> > German tradition of activity theory research (Raeithel, 1994), a
> > Scandinavian/Nordic tradition ( Hydén, 1984; Engeström, 1993) and
> > perhaps, an American tradition (Goodwin and Goodwin, in press; Nardi,
> > Scribner, 1984). A good statement of general tenets of this approach
> > provided by Engeström, who writes that an activity system,
> > integrates the subject, the object, and the instruments (material
> > well as signs and symbols) into a unified whole.
> > An activity system incorporates both the object-oriented productive
> > and the person-oriented communicative aspect of human conduct.
> > and communication are inseparable (Rossi-Landi, 1983). Actually a
> > activity system always contains the subsystems of production,
> > exchange, and consumption (p. 67).
> > The attractiveness of this formulation in light of the discussion of
> > artifact mediation at the beginning of this chapter should be
> > Engeström's formulation promises a way to incorporate ideas about
> > duality of artifacts but does not privilege production over social
> > Engeström represents his conception of activity in a manner that
> > includes and enlarges upon the early cultural-historical
> > notions of mediation as individual action. Once again we see a
> > now it is a set of interconnected triangles (See Figure 5.3). At the
> > the figure is the basic subject-
> > [Insert Figure 5.3 about here]
> > mediator-object relationship depicted in Figure 5.1. This is the
> > mediated action through which the subject transforms the object in the
> > process of acting upon it. But action exists "as such" only in
> > the components at the bottom of the triangle. The *community* refers
> > those who share the same general object; the *rules* refer to explicit
> > and conventions that constrain actions within the activity system; the
> > *division
> > of labor* refers to the division of object oriented actions among
> members of
> > the community. The various components of an activity system do not
> > isolation from each other; rather, they are constantly being
> > renewed, and transformed as outcome and cause of human life.
> > Engeström echoes contemporary dissatisfaction with conceptions that
> > treat contexts as "containers" of behavior, untouched in themselves by
> > actions or as contained within interpersonal interaction. Jean Lave
> > summarized the shortcomings of these two conceptions by declaring that
> > has system without individual experience, the other experience without
> > system (Lave, 1988, p. 150)."
> > In activity theory as summarized in Figure 5.3, contexts are activity
> > systems. The subsystem associated with the subject-mediator-object
> > relationships exists as such only in relationship to the other
> > the system. This is a thoroughly relational view of context.
> > Jean Lave (1993) provides a succinct summary of several themes uniting
> > scholars interested in activity and practice theory:
> > 1. An emphasis on the dialectical character of the fundamental
> > constituting human experience (in Lave's terms, human agency is
> > determined, partially determining").
> > 2. A focus on experience in the world that rejects the structure and
> > dynamics of psychological test procedures as a universally appropriate
> > template.
> > 3. A shift in the boundaries of cognition and the environment such
> > Lave's phrasing, cognition "is stretched across mind, body, activity
> > setting" (a perspective sometimes referred to as "distributed
> > (Hutchins, 1991; Norman, 1991; Salomon, 1993).
> > On 1/7/06, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > >
> > > Can anyone help me with a succinct (NB) definition of 'activity' as
> > > used in the CHAT literature.
> > > I am sure this is a hotly contested topic, but if there is any kind
> > > lowest common denominator or consensus on this I would be very
> > >
> > >
> > > Andy Blunden
> > >
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> > >
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