SYMP 219 - Expanding units of analysis: Steps toward fourth generation activity theory

Track:
3.1 Farther reaches of theoretical and methodological explorations
What:
Symposium (Symp)
When:
Thursday Aug 31   01:30 PM to 03:30 PM (2 hours)
Where:
Discussion:
0
Third-generation activity theory has treated activity systems as reasonably well-bounded, although interlocking and networked, structure units. However, in new modes of production which have emerged during the last twenty years, for example, social production and peer production, the boundaries and structures of activity systems seem to fade away. Processes, therefore, become simultaneous, multidirectional, and often reciprocal, and movements of information create textures that are constantly changing. In light of these developments, the symposium argues that Cultural-Historical Activity Theory needs a fourth generation of activity theory to analyse the above trend in the organisation of work. The symposium tackles the above challenge by posing the following question – what is the appropriate unit of analysis (UoI) for fourth generation activity theory? - in the following ways. Two papers use the concept of ‘coworking’ (Spinuzzi, 2012) to address manifestation of constantly changing textures and the challenges they set for formulating a new fourth generation UoI. One paper introduces a new unit of analysis – “culturally more advanced central activity” – and explores empirically the challenges associated with researching with this new UoI (Engeström, 2015). The final paper offers a hybrid perspective that engages with coworking and culturally more advanced forms of central activity.
Presenter
University College London (UCL) - Institute of Education
Presenter
University of Helsinki
Presenter
University of Helsinki
Presenter
University of Texas at Austin
Presenter
Università Cattolica, Milano
Presenter
Università Cattolica, Milano

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