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Activity Theory in HCI

Book Description

Activity theory -- a conceptual framework originally developed by Aleksei Leontiev -- has its roots in the socio-cultural tradition in Russian psychology. The foundational concept of the theory is human activity, which is understood as purposeful, mediated, and transformative interaction between human beings and the world. Since the early 1990s, activity theory has been a visible landmark in the theoretical landscape of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Along with some other frameworks, such as distributed cognition and phenomenology, it established itself as a leading post-cognitivist approach in HCI and interaction design. In this book we discuss the conceptual foundations of activity theory and its contribution to HCI research. After making the case for theory in HCI and briefly discussing the contribution of activity theory to the field (Chapter One) we introduce the historical roots, main ideas, and principles of activity theory (Chapter Two). After that we present in-depth analyses of three issues which we consider of special importance to current developments in HCI and interaction design, namely: agency (Chapter Three), experience (Chapter Four), and activity-centric computing (Chapter Five). We conclude the book with reflections on challenges and prospects for further development of activity theory in HCI (Chapter Six). Table of Contents: Introduction: Activity theory and the changing face of HCI / Basic concepts and principles of activity theory / Agency / Activity and experience / Activity-centric computing / Activity theory and the development of HCI

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half title
  3. Title
  4. Synthesis Lectures on Human-Centered Informatics
  5. Copyright
  6. Contents
  7. Preface
  8. 1 Introduction: Activity theory and the changing face of HCI
    1. Theory in HCI
    2. The objectives of the book
    3. Activity theory in HCI: Selected contributions
      1. Re-framing HCI concepts
      2. Conceptual tools for design and evaluation
      3. Theoretical lens
      4. Some reflections for students
  9. 2 Basic concepts and principles of activity theory
    1. Introduction
    2. The general notion of activity
    3. The origins of activity theory: Russian psychology of the 1920s and 1930s
      1. Lev Vygotsky and the social nature of human mind
      2. The individual/collective dimension: The dynamics of the social distribution of the mind
      3. From inter-psychological to intra-psychological
      4. Sergei Rubinshtein and the principle of unity and inseparability of consciousness and activity
    4. The concept of activity and the evolution of psyche
    5. The structure of human activity
      1. Needs, motives, and the object of activity
      2. Activities, actions, and operations
      3. Functional organs
    6. Basic principles of Leontiev’s activity theory: An overview
    7. Engeström’s activity system model
    8. Current diversity of activity theoretical frameworks
  10. 3 Agency
    1. A Typology of Agents
    2. Artifacts
    3. Conclusion
  11. 4 Activity and experience
    1. Introduction
    2. Analyses of subjective phenomena in activity theory
    3. Activity theoretical vs. phenomenological perspectives on experience in HCI
  12. 5 Activity-centric computing
    1. A historical account of activity-centric computing
    2. Activity-centric computing and activity theory
    3. Current issues and prospects for future research in activity-centric computing
      1. A variety of perspectives in activity-centric computing
      2. Design challenges and solutions
      3. Evaluating activity-centric technologies and environments
  13. 6 Activity theory and the development of HCI
    1. Introduction
    2. hn-HCI
    3. Time, space, scope
    4. Activity theory and hn-HCI
    5. Conclusion
  14. Bibliography
  15. Authors’ Biographies