Activity Theory: An Introduction

Levant, A., Murakami, K. and McSweeney, M. (ed.) 2024. Activity Theory: An Introduction. Stuttgart and Hannover, Germany Ibidem Press.

TitleActivity Theory: An Introduction
EditorsLevant, A., Murakami, K. and McSweeney, M.

This collection introduces Activity Theory to the current generation of theorists and researchers. Originating in early Soviet psychology, suppressed by Stalin, and later rediscovered, this rich theoretical tradition and intellectual movement proliferated globally and developed in different directions across a variety of disciplines. However, until recently it remained “the best-held secret of academia” (Engeström 2009). Activity Theory presents a unique approach to studying the nature, origin, and development of human subjectivity. Its core proposition is that the mind cannot be reduced to individual brain or body functions, nor can be understood as a discursive or cultural phenomenon. Instead, Activity Theory posits that the mind emerges and develops inter-subjectively, and is internalized by individuals always embedded, along with their culture and language, in the context of object-oriented social practices. By refocusing the lens of inquiry from the individual onto the patterns of activity in which they move, this method illuminates a special reality—the materiality of human practice, which shapes the subject in ways that biological and cultural explanations cannot fully capture.

KeywordsActivity Theory
sociocultural theory
PublisherIbidem Press
Publication dates
Published06 Feb 2024
Place of publicationStuttgart and Hannover, Germany
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
Web address (URL)

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