Between the Tag and the Screen - Arkitektur- og designhøgskolen i ...

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Between the Tag and the Screen - Arkitektur- og designhøgskolen i ...

B E T W E E N T H E T A G A N D T H E S C R E E NAn activity can be divided into three levels according to Leont’ev (1978):activity, actions and operations, as shown in Figure 2.12. The top level is theactivity directed toward motives. The motive gives the activity meaning forthe subject. Hence, motives are a necessity for an activity to exist. Theactivity is achieved by a sequence of conscious actions directed by goals. Theactions are individually performed but always connected to various activities.Further, the actions are carried out by a set of operations. The operations areautomatically performed and steered by conditions enabling and limiting theoperations.Activities, actions and operations are not fixed entities. A key concept ofactivity theory holds that the elements of the different levels of activity canmove. An activity losing its motive may become an action. Further, an actioncan move up to become an activity and so forth.Together, the concepts introduced by Leont’ev make up a powerful analyticalframework that may be applied for analysing materials related to industrialand interaction design. Leont’ev’s work allows us to see materials asembedded in design praxis when mediating design activity. This relationshipmay further be understood according to activities, actions and operations.Activity theory does not end with Leont’ev. Multiple people have expandedupon Leont’ev’s work, both extending the general framework of activitytheory itself and refurbishing it for different fields of research.Expanding the activity modelActivity theory continued its development in the late 1980s in the West.Here, an important development was led by Engeström (1987), whosystematised Leont’ev’s model even further and introduced new elements ofthe basic structure of an activity. Engeström is the director of the Center forResearch on Activity, Development and Learning (CRADLE, 2011). He hasbeen instrumental in the development of what is often called ScandinavianActivity Theory. In particular his work is oriented toward analysingcollaborative work and processes of learning.Engeström illustrated Leont’ev’s structure of an activity into a trianglediagram inspired by Vygotsky’s model of mediation of actions. However, heexpanded the triangular model to include community mediated bycollaboration and rules. This structure has been used extensively in differentcommunities as a way of analysing collaborative work processes.In Engeström and colleagues’ work (2009), which he addresses as part of thethird generation of activity theory, the focus is expanded to deal not onlywith an individual’s activities, but with larger spaces of intersectingactivities. This view sees two intersecting activity systems as the minimalunit of analysis. By seeing multiple activities as the minimal context of38

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