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ERIC Number: EJ864902
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1911
Reflections on Activity Theory
Bakhurst, David
Educational Review, v61 n2 p197-210 May 2009
It is sometimes suggested that activity theory represents the most important legacy of Soviet philosophy and psychology. But what exactly "is" activity theory? The canonical account in the West is given by Engestrom, who identifies three stages in the theory's development: from Vygotsky's insights, through Leontiev's articulation of the fundamental structure of activity, to a still-emerging third generation incorporating difference, discourse and dialogue into the framework. This paper argues that the resulting position is in fact in tension with the concerns of the Russian founders of the tradition. While the latter saw the concept of activity as a fundamental category to address profound philosophical questions about the possibility of mind, activity theory in the West has principally become an empirical method for modeling activity systems. The paper explores the strengths and weaknesses of views on both sides of the contrast and examines its consequences for the future of the activity-theoretical tradition. (Contains 4 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Russia