Home > tasks > Task 8: Activity theory in comparison to other postcognitivist theories

Task 8: Activity theory in comparison to other postcognitivist theories

Hi everyone,

this week I want us to take a (second) look at Activity Theory in comparison to other post-cognitive theories that are somewhat influential in Interaction Design. For that I have selected some additional parts of Kaptelinin & Nardi (2006) as our basic reading material.

I want you study the following parts:

6 Objectively speaking – only page 137-143

These few pages address some important terminological problem with the English translation of certain concepts in Activity Theory. They also outline some important differences between Leontiev’s conceptualisation of activity and the Helsinki based school of thought that is lead and promoted by Engeström. I suggest that these aspects are really good to know for any further reading in the area of cultural-historial thinking and theorising.

9 Postcognitivist Theories in Interaction Design – page 195-236

This is the main text for this week. This chapter discusses some differences and commonalities between activity theory and other postcognitivist approaches (such as distributed cognition, actor-network theory, …). In their review the authors focus in particular on intentionality, and fissures in routine activity arising from creativity, reflexivity, and resistance. I think this chapter might help to place activity theory into a wider landscape of approaches. Furthermore, it highlights some additional aspects that might enrich analysis in Interaction Design.

I ask you again to summarise the main insights (or issues) you gathered from the overall text (and our ongoing discussion) in one blog post. I want to encourage you all to actually quote certain parts of the original text to illustrate your summary, argument, etc. Make sure you use proper citation style if you quote (quotation marks, page numbers at the end of paragraph).

In addition I want to keep the discussion on the board going. So, I suggest that you put out some questions, observations, comments, and so forth, while you are going through the text. As a point of reference… let’s set the minimal level of engagement on the board at 3 contributions during this week (starting from Tuesday, October 9). You are free to either start your own discussion topic, or respond to new topics or comments that others have posted. You can always engage as much as you want. Don’t shoot for the minimal level… if you don’t have to. 😉

Reminder: the deadline for your 5 contributions to the task 7 related discussion ends only on Monday, October 8 at 24:00.

Please, don’t hold back your contributions to the ongoing exchange on the discussion board until the very last day… which you will probably want to use for writing up your blog post anyway 😉

The deadline for Task 8 (weblog post + discussion) is: Sunday, October 14th, 24:00 (Estonian time).

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