[xmca] action/activity

From: Mike Cole <mcole who-is-at ucsd.edu>
Date: Sat May 17 2008 - 08:46:27 PDT

Dear Colleagues;

Thanks to ongoing work by Etienne here at UCSD, we have been able to address one of the goals of making XMCA a more effective medium of academic communication: It is now possible to access the entire archive going back into the the 1990's, as you can see from the message below -- an exchange between Arne Raeithel, who did not long after this message was sent, and Keith Sawyer, who has gone on to write important work on
emergence, improvisations, and creativity.

My hope is that this capacity will enable XMCA discourse to, perhaps, be able to minimize its tendency to slide across the range of core concepts of socio-cultural-historical activity ........ approaches to understanding human nature and perhaps achieve more effective and generalizable conceptual tools to work with.

Lets see if this now appears, at it should, as a new message on xmca, a current
discussion with our past, and our future.
On 04 April 1996 @ 5:55 AM Arne wrote:
>At 14:58 3 Apr 1996, Keith R Sawyer wrote:
>>Just to clarify/follow up on my original confusion: It's not simply
>>definitional, but my own observation that Soviet activity theory, based
>>as it is in a Marxist theoretical tradition, is in social theoretic circles
>>significantly opposed to "action theory" as personified by Weber.
>this issue of action versus activity is not only somewhat complicated
>as Mike already wrote, but it gets still more complex by pulling Weber's
>voice into the circle of disagreeing debaters. Being a psychologist,
>I had not seen Weber as an action theorist to speak of, from sociology
>only Habermas would come to my mind. So I cannot really comment on your
>observation other than I do below -- which is quite oblique to your
>original question, I fear.
>For Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, the distinction of action and
>activity is not one between two camps of schools of social theory,
>rather it is an internal distinction, primarily as prescribing different
>methods of research, dependent on whether you want to look at consciously
>regulated behavior of individuals (action) or at the joint activeness
>and (re)production of a community of practice (activity). So this might
>be called an epistemological distinction. Another sense is ontological:
>Activity and action are two different, autonomous process levels with
>their own internal "laws" of development -- that is, activity theorists
>like me regard social reality as if there were these two levels, and
>more, both "below" and "above".
>Therefore, whatever others say that still hold fast to the Marxist
>roots of activity theory, I see no contrast to speak of between a
>Weberian perspective and the more recent (and more encompassing)
>framework of CHAT.
>Having written this, I am curious why the question is important for
>you. What different consequences follow, if any ?
> Dr. Arne Raeithel Verlag der Zeichenschmiede
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Received on Sat May 17 08:48 PDT 2008

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