Re: [xmca] Fwd: Your criticism of Activity Theory

From: <ERIC.RAMBERG who-is-at>
Date: Mon Aug 06 2007 - 08:48:38 PDT

Hello all interested parties:

I would certainly agree with Alex Kozulin that Fichtner's paper is a
curious read indeed. Self-reflection in learning is indeed emotionally
charged and can be the motivation behind choosing a job as a fish
cultivator or a garbage hauler. Has anyone else taken the time to read
this paper?

On another note, I would certainly agree with Kozulin's criticism of
activity theory as too ethereal and not abiding to Vygotsky's original
intent of providing an explanation for the individual/societal combine.
However, Kozulin's criticism is with Leontiev and not, I believe, with the
activity theory now referred to as CHAT. In my view CHAT is not ethereal
in nature but very pragmatic in its approach to focusing on the connect
between cultural artifacts and the internalization thereof.

what do others think?

                      "Mike Cole"
                      <lchcmike@gmail. To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
                      com> cc:
                      Sent by: Subject: [xmca] Fwd: Your criticism of Activity Theory
                      07/30/2007 07:34
                      Please respond
                      to mcole; Please
                      respond to
                      "eXtended Mind,

>From Alex Kozulin, who I invited to join the discussion. I have not read
paper and
imagine we will have a few differences of opinions and lessons to learn

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Alex Kozulin <>
Date: Jul 30, 2007 5:20 AM
Subject: Re: Your criticism of Activity Theory

 Dear Mike,

My critique of Activity Theory (Leontiev and some other members of Kharkov
group) has been summarized in my book *Psychological Tools*, pp.24-31.

Three main points of this critique:
1) Leontiev and Co. neglected the cultural aspect of Vygotsky's theory and
attempted to derive the forms of psychological activity directly from
material (labor) activity bypassing the symbolic aspect;
2) Leontiev's activity theory obscured the distinction between activity as
an exploratory principle and activity as a target of
psychological investigation. As a result the phenomena of activity were
"explained" through the category of activity;
3) Leontiev and his followers' choice of Marxist terminology forced them
to elaborate the relationships between such categories as "production" and
"objectification" belonging to a societal level with the category of
belonging to individual level. They, however, were unable to elaborate
relationships in a productive way.

Attached please find a curious paper that can be used for your XMCA

Alex Kozulin,

----- Original Message -----
*From:* Mike Cole <>
*To:* Alex Kozulin <>
*Cc:* eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity <>
*Sent:* Sunday, July 29, 2007 6:34 PM
*Subject:* Your criticism of Activity Theory

Hi Alex--

A colleague on our discussion group, XMCA, referred approvingly to your
criticism of activity
theory. I am away from my library and cannot look up what, in particular,
the reference is.

What do you take to be the main criticism(s) of activity theory.
By activity theory, what enemble of ideas are you referring to:
More modern interpretations of the idea:

Perhaps you could provide us text or a reference to help guide our

ps-- you are of course welcome to join in. That would be great.
(See attached file: Reflective Learning.doc)
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Received on Mon Aug 6 08:50 PDT 2007

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