Toward a Typology of Activities: Understanding Internal Contradictions in Multiperspectival Activities
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Professional writing scholars have often turned to activity theory (AT) as a rich framework for describing and theorizing human activity. But AT-based studies typically emphasize the uniqueness of activities rather than examining how certain types of activities share configurations. Consequently, these analyses often miss the chance to examine activities’ internal contradictions that are a result of interference between different configurations of activity. This article argues that a typology of activities can deepen our understanding of these internal contradictions. Drawing from a range of literature, it describes the general characteristics of different types of activities, providing examples from other AT-based studies. It concludes by discussing how this typology can help such studies to better analyze internal contradictions in activities.
At the time of publication C. Spinuzzi was at the University of Texas at Austin.