Language, culture and activity

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Fri Jun 10 2005 - 07:15:40 PDT

Dear All,

A mini-course/discussion of a model of language for activity theory (as
in the Vygotskian, Leontievian and more current versions of the theory)
will start next week here on xmca. The hope is that we can spur along
dialogue between those working within cultural-historical,
socio-cultural and Vygotskian perspectives on human learning, and those
who are working within the socio-semiotic world of language.

Mike Cole has been a great motivator in getting this going, but I must
say that we should show our appreciation to the scholars implicated
below, who have offered to spearhead the discussions. Also, we might
notice a few new new subscribers to this community, some of whom have
been much more than instrumental in shaping some of the disciplines in
which we will engage over the next couple of weeks.

If all goes to plan (the eccentric reading list can be largely blamed
on me) , we'll start next week with a review of Vygotsky's work on
tools and signs, a look into activity theory applied to foreign
language learning, and a reading of Jim Lantolf and Steven Thorne's
introduction to their forthcoming volume: Sociocultural Theory and the
Genesis of Second Language Development.

Following that, Gordon Wells will facilitate a discussion focused on a
synergy between Hallidayan and Vygotskian theory in educational

Then Harry Daniels and Ruqaiya Hasan will lead a discussion on
unpacking semiotic mediation.

Hopefully further discussions with suggested papers will follow to keep
us all occupied for a longer period over summer and winter breaks.

Please see attached pdf (one page) file for more details.

All the papers will be available at within the next
couple of days
To follow along and/or sign up to the list, go to

I hope this may be of interest to many here, and I encourage everyone
to join in, whether actively or passively.


Phil Chappell

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