An Interdisciplinary Concept of Activity

Andy Blunden


It is suggested that if Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) is to fulfil its potential as an approach to cultural and historical science in general, then an interdisciplinary concept of activity is needed. Such a concept of activity would provide a common foundation for all the human sciences, underpinning concepts of, for example, state and social movement equally as, for example, learning and personality. For this is needed a clear conception of the ‘unit of analysis’ of activity, i.e., of what constitutes ‘an activity’, and a clear distinction between the unit of analysis and the substance, i.e., ultimate reality underlying all the human sciences: artifact-mediated joint activity. It is claimed that the concept of ‘project collaboration’ – the interaction between two or more persons in pursuit of a common objective – forms such a unit of activity, the single ‘molecule’ in terms of which both sociological and psychological phenomena can be theorised. It is suggested that such a clarification of the notion of activity allows us to see how individual actions and societal activities mutually constitute one another and are each construed in the light of the other.


activity; theory; concept; interdisciplinary

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ISSN: 1904-0210

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