Activity Theory in HCI

Activity Theory in HCI
Fundamentals and Reflections

Victor Kaptelinin, Bonnie Nardi
ISBN: 9781608457045 | PDF ISBN: 9781608457052
Copyright © 2012 | 105 Pages | Publication Date: 01/01/2012

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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

About the Author(s)

Victor Kaptelinin, University of Bergen and Umea University
Victor Kaptelinin is a Professor at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen, Norway, and the Department of Informatics, Umea University, Sweden. He has held teaching and/or research positions at the Psychological Institute of Russian Academy of Education, Moscow Lomonosov University, and University of California, San Diego, USA. His main research interests are in interaction design, activity theory, and educational use of information technologies.

Bonnie Nardi, University of California, Irvine
Bonnie Nardi is an anthropologist in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. She is interested in social life on the Internet and works with activity theory as her principal orientation. Bonnie's recent book on virtual worlds, My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2010. A forthcoming book Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method (with T. Boellstorff, C. Pearce. and T.L.Taylor) will be published in August 2012 by Princeton University Press.

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