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    Canary, Heather E. May, Kris Rinehart, Marc D. and Barlow, Jahn B. 2018. Institutional policy process improvement: using structurating activity theory to inform practice. Journal of Applied Communication Research, Vol. 46, Issue. 2, p. 202.

    Bingham, Andrea J. Pane, John F. Steiner, Elizabeth D. and Hamilton, Laura S. 2018. Ahead of the Curve: Implementation Challenges in Personalized Learning School Models. Educational Policy, Vol. 32, Issue. 3, p. 454.

    Bányai, Fanni Griffiths, Mark D. Király, Orsolya and Demetrovics, Zsolt 2018. The Psychology of Esports: A Systematic Literature Review. Journal of Gambling Studies,

    Hunzicker, Jana 2018. Teacher Leadership in Professional Development Schools. p. 19.

    Amory, Alan Bialobrzeska, Maryla and Welch, Tessa 2018. Learning design for multiple modes of provision: the Zambian community school teacher development programme. Distance Education, Vol. 39, Issue. 2, p. 241.

    Jóhannsdóttir, Thurídur 2018. Creating a school that matters: networking for school-community development. Journal of Curriculum Studies, Vol. 50, Issue. 3, p. 297.

    Jonasson, Charlotte 2018. Gamification in Education. p. 453.

    James-MacEachern, Melissa 2018. A comparative study of international recruitment – tensions and opportunities in institutional recruitment practice. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, p. 1.

    Díaz Andrade, Antonio and Doolin, Bill 2018. Temporal enactment of resettled refugees' ICT-mediated information practices. Information Systems Journal,

    Schuh, Kathy L. Van Horne, Sam and Russell, Jae-eun 2018. E-textbook as object and mediator: interactions between instructor and student activity systems. Journal of Computing in Higher Education,

    Jensen, Thomas Vatrapu, Ravi and Bjørn-Andersen, Niels 2018. Avocados crossing borders: The problem of runaway objects and the solution of a shipping information pipeline for improving international trade. Information Systems Journal, Vol. 28, Issue. 2, p. 408.

    Chizhik, Estella Williams and Chizhik, Alexander Williams 2018. Using Activity Theory to Examine How Teachers' Lesson Plans Meet Students' Learning Needs. The Teacher Educator, Vol. 53, Issue. 1, p. 67.

    Booth, Dawn Karen 2018. The Sociocultural Activity of High Stakes Standardised Language Testing. Vol. 12, Issue. , p. 217.

    Mora, Raúl Alberto Pulgarín, Carla Ramírez, Natalia and Mejía-Vélez, María Camila 2018. Learning Cities. Vol. 8, Issue. , p. 37.

    Thorgeirsdottir, Hjordis 2018. The Change Room promotes teachers’ agency to change their practice. Educational Action Research, p. 1.

    Galleguillos, Jeannette and Borba, Marcelo de Carvalho 2018. Expansive movements in the development of mathematical modeling: analysis from an Activity Theory perspective. ZDM, Vol. 50, Issue. 1-2, p. 129.

    Fernandes, Geraldo W. Rocha Rodrigues, António M. and Ferreira, Carlos Alberto 2018. Professional Development and Use of Digital Technologies by Science Teachers: a Review of Theoretical Frameworks. Research in Science Education,

    Tay, Su Lynn and Yeo, Jennifer 2018. Analysis of a physics teacher's pedagogical ‘micro-actions’ that support 17-year-olds’ learning of free body diagrams via a modelling approach. International Journal of Science Education, Vol. 40, Issue. 2, p. 109.

    Penalver, Antonio Juan Briones 2018. Handbook of Research on Knowledge Management for Contemporary Business Environments. p. 212.

    Crampton, Anne E. Scharber, Cassandra Lewis, Cynthia J. Majors, Yolanda J. Majors, Yolanda and Ortlieb, Evan 2018. Meaningful and Expansive: Literacy Learning Through Technology-Mediated Productions. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Vol. 61, Issue. 5, p. 573.

  • Print publication year: 1999
  • Online publication date: June 2012

1 - Activity theory and individual and social transformation



The internationalization of activity theory in the 1980s and 1990s has taken place in the midst of sweeping changes in the political and economic systems of our planet. During a few months, the Berlin Wall came down and Nelson Mandela was freed from prison. Those were only two among the visible symbols of the transformations that continue to amaze the most sophisticated observers.

Many of the current changes share two fundamental features. First, they are manifestations of activities from below, not just outcomes of traditional maneuvering among the elite of political decision makers. Second, they are unexpected or at least very sudden and rapidly escalating. These two features pose a serious challenge to behavioral and social sciences.

The behavioral and social sciences have cherished a division of labor that separates the study of socioeconomic structures from the study of individual behavior and human agency. In this traditional framework, the socioeconomic structures look stable, all-powerful, and self-sufficient. The individual may be seen as an acting subject who learns and develops, but somehow the actions of the individual do not seem to have any impact on the surrounding structures.

This traditional dualistic framework does not help us to understand today's deep social-transformations. More than ever before, there is a need for an approach that can dialectically link the individual and the social structure. From its very beginnings, the cultural-historical theory of activity has been elaborated with this task in mind.

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Perspectives on Activity Theory
  • Online ISBN: 9780511812774
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