Thesis about Activity Space

December 2, 2006

The Activity Space: Analyzing Intentionality in Open Cooperative Work
John Halloran


A conceptual framework – the Activity Space – for analysing intentionality in open cooperative work

We need to lay out the activity both horizontally, that is, elucidate the relations between subject, object, and mediation; as well as vertically, in terms of decomposition into actions and

An activity space is just a set of conflicting intentions, and original intentionality is prior to influence by external representations, an intentional contradiction consists of representations which are propagated around an activity space.

Applying the concept of the Activity Space requires us to take an intentional, rather than a culturalhistorical, perspective, dedicated to characterizing contradictions not as developmental anomalies but as mismatches between what the different subject groups within the activity space are attempting to achieve.

*concentrating on creating a coherent intentional structure – or congruent activity space
This could include recognising changes to artefacts as creators as congruence; reframing or changing objects; attempting to create network congruence; and improving application functionality.

Artefact reconfiguration in an activity space involves considering how use of the artefact is and can be shaped, and how the artefact itself shapes and can shape groupwork.

An intentional contradiction is a process involving the propagation of representations in an activity space.

Representations can be
* beliefs, attitudes, interpretations, expectations
these are used to construct the significance of work, as well as artefacts
* skill sets
knowing how to use a computer tool; knowledge of, for example, programming or software design
* external representations
documents, messages, diagrams, texts, program code, non-computer instruments
* artefacts
computer networks or applications

Intentional contradiction involves both intra-node contradiction and inter-node contradiction. We identified various intra-node contradictions:
subject-object contradictions
object-mediation contradictions
subject-mediation contradictions

Using the concepts of intra- and inter-node contradictions helps us understand how representations can propagate around the activity space, and how they interact with each other.


One comment

  1. What is activity space?
    A set of intentions propagated around an activity space by external representations
    Activity space can be reconfigured by use of artifacts

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