The Activity of Writing/the Writing of Activity: A Special Issue of Mind, Culture, and Activity


Published by Routledge, 1998
ISBN 10: 0805898492 / ISBN 13: 9780805898491
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Synopsis: Writing has long held fascination for cultural-historical activity theorists. Until recently, however, the study of high-level literacy among adults in relation to their activities has received little attention. The articles in this special issue provide evidence that the study of writing-in-activity is well on its way. It begins by recounting that the teaching of writing at the university has in recent years spurred a vigorous investigation of the writing practices that pervade the academy, the professions, and all the institutions of modern society which depend on the technology of writing. This investigation is distinctive from literacy approaches to written texts because it has turned from primary attention to the language of the text or even the creative processes of the authors to the cultural-historical activities that the texts mediate. Writers, readers, and texts are seen as part of complex, social, discursive systems, and the activity of text and author are understood in relation to multi-dimensional genres, extending in time and space through the mediation of material inscriptions.

As the intellectual, professional, and cultural forms of work mediated by writing are often counted among the most developed of human accomplishments -- accomplishments that create and transform the social sphere in which we grow up and live -- the study of writing within complex systems of interaction then becomes a site for the study of higher cognitive functions, in the Vygotskian tradition. The study of the organized, situated practices of writing that people come to participate in can tell us much about the enactment of power and influence in the modern world as well as about the formation of the collective and individual minds that inhabit this modern world. The editors hope that this special issue will make evident how useful the study of writing can be for developing activity theory.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Activity of Writing/the Writing of ...
Publisher: Routledge
Publication Date: 1998
Book Condition: Good
Edition: 1st Edition.

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