Helena Worthen hworthen@uic.edu hworthen@igc.org
Activity Theory and Labor Education
This is a working draft of a paper with a very specific purpose -- namely, to engage others in my field of labor education, which is often sited in departments or institutes of industrial relations, in activity theory.  It is directed at practitioners here in the US who may have no familiarity with activity theory.  I am posting it on xmca in the hopes that I can find like-minded persons who are interested in talking about this application of activity theory but I am also anxious about getting it right.  I don’t want to be out there advocating for a theoretical framework if I have missed some of the main points or got it wrong.  So I welcome comments of all sorts from xmca participants. Thanks very much to all.

Mike Cole
The Illusion of Culture-free Intelligence Testing

In this chapter, I will argue that the notion of culture-free intelligence is a contradiction in terms. I begin by reviewing the historical background of efforts to understand the relation between culture and thought that formed the scholarly background against which IQ testing came into being. After summarizing briefly the strategy developed by the pioneers of IQ testing, I will present a "thought experiment" to help clarify the issues and some empirical evidence from research which has sought to approximate the conditions of the thought experiment. I close by offering some comments on how to think about culture and IQ testing given the impossibility of a culture-free test of intellectual ability.

Reijo Miettinen, (1997):
The Concept of Activity in the Analysis of Hetereogenuous Networks in Innovation Process
Reijo Miettinen, from an activity theoretical (AT) approach, attempts find common methodological endeavors with Actor network theory (ANT). They include avoidance of monocausal explanations, an attempt to find a non-dualist account of society and nature, taking seriously the significance of material artifacts and studying the concrete networks of actors instead of interrelationships between macro- and micro-phenomena.

Katie Vann: kvann@weber.ucsd.edu
What Contexts are Learners Learning For?
Katie Vann review the book Contexts for Learning: Sociocultural Dynamics in Children's Development (1993). The paper links to corresponding discussions on XCMA in which the book was discussed in 1995. Katie Vann's review focuses on the "robust" way "context" was used both in the XCMA discussions and the book.

Yrjö Engeström, (1996): engestro@cc.helsinki.fi
Development as Breaking Away and Opening Up: A Challenge to Vygotsky and Piaget
Yrjö Engeström using Peter Høeg's autobiographical novel Borderliners (Høeg, 1994), points toward three major challenges to the developmental theories of Vygotsky and Piaget:

Vera John-Steiner and Holbrook Mahn: vygotsky@unm.edu
Sociocultural Approaches to Learning and Development: A Vygotskian Framework
Vera John-Steiner and Holbrook Mahn offer a good overview of sociocultural approaches to teaching and learning. The paper is divided into three sections; introdyction to sociocultural theory, Vygotsky's methodology, and educational research and practice. The authors introduce the concepts of co-construction and cognitive pluralism in which to re-think contemporary educational practice.

Aksel Mortensen, (1990):
Culture and Microcosmos of Individuals: The Idiosyncratic Room of the Person

Aksel Mortensen looks at psychological ways of functioning in different embedded cultures and subcultures with an empasis on children with learning disabilities in school. He begins by mentioning some cross-cultural paradoxes that arise from the neglect of context in the study of psychological functioning (Griffin, Cole, Diaz, & King 1987).