Re: [xmca] Correct unit of analysis for human activity (in games)

From: bb (
Date: Fri Mar 10 2006 - 08:13:13 PST

I could argue that, given the multiple timescales of the human condition
(lemke), and how culture plays a role in psychology, crossing timescales,
(e.g. the description of prolepsis in 'cultural psychology"), and the
description by Leont'ev of the "hierarchical structure of activity", plus the
historical analysis included in Engestrom's expansive methodology, that one
would abductively think multiple units of analysis, crossing at least many
timescales, if not also some scales along other dimensions, could be
desireable and even practicable. This methodological potential seems
embedded in the CHA of CHAT.

Practically, multiply scaled units of analysis are useful only if such
methods coincide with the goals of the intended study.

I'm sorry I cannot add more -- it's just a passing thought, a humble opinion.
And I have no formal training, so take it for what it's worth.


On Friday 10 March 2006 3:55 am, Patrik Bergman wrote:
> Hi,
> Perhaps you have all gone through this debate before, but I will give it
> try: What do you consider being the correct unit of analysis for
> understanding human activity? I am reading the works of Yrjö Engeström
> quite a lot now and he states that the prime unit of analysis is a
> collective, artefact-mediated and object-oriented activity system. Others,
> such as James Wertsch, state the correct unit is an individual acting with
> mediational means. Meantime, Mike has for example stated that “Mediated
> action and its activity context are two moments of a single process, and
> whatever we want to specify as psychological processes is but a moment of
> their combined properties.”, which to me sounds like something in the
> middle of Engeström’s and Wertsch’s descriptions.
> PhD student that I am, I might be totally off track here, but it would be
> interesting to hear your views on this since I am thinking about this in
> relation to studying the online game World of Warcraft as a learning
> environment. As far as I can see, it can have large effects on a study if
> one chooses to study individuals and their meditational means, compared to
> also incorporating the whole activity system (including its history).
> Best,
> Patrik Bergman
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sat Apr 01 2006 - 01:00:13 PST