Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Steve Lerman

Activity Theory in Mathematics Education

  • Wolff-Michael RothEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-77487-9_4-13

Definition

Activity theory is the result of an attempt to construct a psychology that draws on and concretely implements epistemological principles of materialist dialectics as K. Marx presented them (Leont’ev 1978; Vygotsky 1997). Like Marx’s Das Kapital, activity theory is intended to explain change, learning, and development as an immanent feature of a system rather than in terms of externally produced cause-effect relations.

History of Activity Theory

L. S. Vygotsky generally is recognized as the founding father of activity theory because he introduced the idea of tool-mediated activity as a way of overcoming on-going psychological ideas consistent with stimulus–response or disembodied thinking approaches to cognition. Responding to the crisis of psychology, he explicitly stated the need for developing a Marxist psychology. Expanding on Vygotsky’s work, A. N. Leont’ev articulated what is now known as second-generation cultural-historical activity theory in his Activity,...

Keywords

Vygotsky Leont’ev Dialectics Consciousness Personality Change 
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References

  1. Engeström Y (1987) Learning by expanding: an activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Orienta-Konsultit, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
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  3. Leont’ev AN (1978) Activity, consciousness and personality. Prentice Hall, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  4. Roth W-M, Lee YJ (2007) “Vygotsky’s neglected legacy”: cultural-historical activity theory. Rev Educ Res 77:186–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Roth W-M, Radford L (2011) A cultural-historical perspective on mathematics teaching and learning. Sense, RotterdamCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Roth W-M, Lee YJ, Boyer L (2008) The eternal return: reproduction and change in complex activity systems. The case of salmon enhancement. Lehmanns Media, BerlinGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Applied Cognitive ScienceUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Yoshinori Shimizu
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TsukubaGraduate School of Comprehensive Human ScienceTsukuba-shiJapan