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Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design
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Acting with Technology: Activity Theory and Interaction Design

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  40 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Activity theory holds that the human mind is the product of our interaction with people and artifacts in the context of everyday activity. Acting with Technology makes the case for activity theory as a basis for understanding our relationship with technology. Victor Kaptelinin and Bonnie Nardi describe activity theory's principles, history, relationship to other theoretica ...more
Hardcover, 333 pages
Published October 6th 2006 by MIT Press (MA) (first published October 1st 2006)
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Brent Wilson
This book is intended as an intro to socio-historical activity theory (CHAT). I would say "intro" at a doctoral level - haven't yet seen how master's students would really benefit. What I found most helpful about the book was

- placing CHAT in context with related theories - ethnomethodology, phenomenology, etc.

- differentiating different CHAT theorists (Engestrom, Leontiev, etc.

- understanding the critical role of intentional agency in CHAT processes, in contrast to some other frameworks like a
Fernando Telles
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
The authors do a good job in comparing Actor-Network Theory, Heidegger's Phenomenology and Distributed Cognition to Activity Theory. But they seem to have a very superficial knowledge of the contributions of Actor-Network Theory to their field. In most of the book, they are trying to rescue human intentionality from the theoretical conceptualizations left on the field by Actor-Network Theory, missing most of the points that explain the principle of generalized symmetry that they seem so decided ...more
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is quite an elaborate book as it's incredibly dense with useful information for anyone interested in understanding activity theory. It situates activity theory amongst other disciplines and takes care to explain both its history and its potential future. I suggest that after reading its example cases, to make sure to read the appendix where It also provides detailed templates on how to *use* activity theory.
Kgalyen Galyen
Dec 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
If activity theory confuses you, and you want a more recent take by respected people in the field of human-computer interaction and interaction design, get this book. It will help you apply the framework to multiple technological contexts.
Susanna Nocchi
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very good book for whoever needs a framework for analysing Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and computer-mediated activities.
Activity Theory is a useful framework and this book clearly explains the main tenets of the theory and its current and future issues.
Oct 26, 2007 added it
We're reading this in my activity theory reading group with Bonnie Nardi.
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“Ethnomethodology, a small but influential subfield of sociology founded by Harold Garfinkel (1967), took as its project the description of how people produce orderly social conduct. Ethnomethodologists argue that orderliness is enacted as people draw on resources in their environments, resources with which to improvise meaningful action. Action is not preordered by anything that can be reduced to theoretical principles; rather, the analyst considers specific instances of organized action, and describes those. An” 0 likes
“Therefore, according to activity theory, the ultimate cause behind human activities is needs. Needs” 0 likes
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