Re: [xmca] Re: LCA: Activity Theory

From: Ana Marjanovic-Shane (
Date: Thu Jun 30 2005 - 13:08:46 PDT

I am very interested in your article. Please make it available.
Also, I am very interested in your remarks that "person" and ""object" are not quite separable and opposable -- that part of the "object" -- the vision part is in the "person" and part of the person is "in" object.
I need to know more about it. It seems to me that once again, we have different concepts of "person", "subject" and "object". The reason for this might be that we apply these words differentially in different contexts, and that they really do refer to different but very close connected concepts. And when you describe the relationships between the "subject" and the "object" -- out of a precise context -- it becomes unclear what are the other parts of this equation. For instance: if you say that "the object is both material and vision" and that therefore a "part of the object is in the person" -- then the questions might be:
Everyone can have a different "vision" part of the object -- so we must then talk of a plurality of "objects", true? Or , is a "vision" part of the object -- social more then personal? or at least a bit more social ? How do we ever know what another person is actually understanding or seeing? etc.. But I do want to read your article first, and then ask questions. -- and this is taking us away from the LCA discussion, so maybe it should be tabled for a second part of the summer?

-----Original Message-----
From: Wolff-Michael Roth []
Sent: Thursday, June 30, 2005 06:29 PM
Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: LCA: Activity Theory

Hi Gordon and all,
the problem with such representations is that you equate "person" with
"subject", so that subject and object become polar opposites. If
Leont'ev is right and the object is both material and vision, then part
of the person is in the object, and, conversely, part of the object is
in the person. But in your representation, person and subject and
material object are separated.

As to the changing of the goal, some readers might be interested in a
paper David Middleton and I have come out:

Roth, W.-M., & Middleton, D. (in press). The making of asymmetries of
knowing, identity, and accountability in the sequential organization of
graph interpretation. Cultural Studies of Science Education.

I can make it available to anyone who cares reading it.



On 30-Jun-05, at 11:22 AM, Gordon Wells wrote:

>> Eric wrote:
>> I do know most of the problem lies in my behavioristic training but
>> nebulous ideas and lengthly descriptions that sound nice are a hard
>> thing
>> to support when so many educators are hell bent on test scores. I
>> don't
>> think test scores are the answer but then what? How could the
>> triangle be
>> applied for an individual? Should it be? Once again Phil I like your
>> summary of Activity Theory, it points to the usefulness of how
>> Activity
>> Theory is a useful tool for social theorists when discussing how it is
>> people interact and accomplish activities.
>> eric
> Engestrom gives a couple of examples of how an individual (himself)
> and then a group (participants at a conference) might engage in
> actions within a joint activity: that of developing activity theory.
> You can find this in the first chapter of Engestrom et al (Eds)
> Perspectives on Activity Theory (Cambridge University Press, 1999).
> But very little work in activity theory addresses the interaction over
> time of participants in an action, in which goals are negotiated as
> the action proceeds through talk and other media, including gesture,
> body posture as well as artifacts such as texts, computers, etc. I
> tried to develop a way of describing an example of this kind in my
> paper in MCA, The role of dialogue in activity. In it, I include the
> attached diagram to show two (or more) subjects bring their individual
> mediating resources to bear on the same object to produce a joint
> outcome and, in the second diagram, how this can represent working in
> the zpd when one of the participants who has greater relevant assists
> the other and provides an occasion for appropriation. While the
> diagram is static, the analysis of the interaction attempts to capture
> the emergen nature of the participants joint action. Perhaps this
> would be relevant for yhour work, Phil.
> Gordon
> --
> Gordon Wells
> Dept of Education,
> UC Santa Cruz.
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