[Research] Few notes about Activity Theory

According to Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Work Research, there seems to be three theoretical generations in the evolution of activity theory. The first generation, centered around Vygotsky, created the idea of mediation.

The second generation of activity theory derived its inspiration largely from Leont'ev's work. In his famous example of "primeval collective hunt" Leont'ev (1981, p. 210-213) explicated the crucial difference between an individual action and a collective activity. The distinction between activity, action and operation became the basis of Leont'ev's three-level model of activity. The uppermost level of collective activity is driven by an object-related motive; the middle level of individual (or group) action is driven by a conscious goal; and the bottom level of automatic operations is driven by the conditions and tools of the action at hand. However, Leont'ev never graphically expanded Vygotsky's original model into a model of a collective activity system

John Halloran in his phd summarizes this hunt:

In his important example of the ‘primeval collective hunt’ Leont’ev (1978) discusses an activity in which a tribe needs to catch animals for food. He points out that the object (or motive) of this activity is to get food through catching animals. The same object is shared across all the participants; but the participants do not all share the same goal. The goal of a beater is to scare quarry. This forces animals out of hiding. On the face of it, this appears irrational in terms of the object, as the animals scatter. However, others involved in the activity are then able to catch the animals; and this is their goal.