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Hardcover | Out of Print | 352 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 17 illus. | October 2006 | ISBN: 9780262112987
Paperback | $25.00 X | £19.95 | 352 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 17 illus. | August 2009 | ISBN: 9780262513319
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Acting with Technology

Activity Theory and Interaction Design


Activity theory holds that the human mind is the product of our interaction with people and artifacts in the context of everyday activity. Acting with Technology makes the case for activity theory as a basis for understanding our relationship with technology. Victor Kaptelinin and Bonnie Nardi describe activity theory's principles, history, relationship to other theoretical approaches, and application to the analysis and design of technologies. The book provides the first systematic entry-level introduction to the major principles of activity theory. It describes the accumulating body of work in interaction design informed by activity theory, drawing on work from an international community of scholars and designers. Kaptelinin and Nardi examine the notion of the object of activity, describe its use in an empirical study, and discuss key debates in the development of activity theory. Finally, they outline current and future issues in activity theory, providing a comparative analysis of the theory and its leading theoretical competitors within interaction design: distributed cognition, actor-network theory, and phenomenologically inspired approaches.

About the Authors

Victor Kaptelinin is Professor in the Department of Informatics at Umeå University, Sweden, and Professor in the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. He is coeditor of Beyond the Desktop Metaphor: Designing Integrated Digital Work Environments (MIT Press, 2007).

Bonnie A. Nardi is Professor of Informatics in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, and Cofounder of Center for Research in Sustainability, Collapse-preparedness, and Information Technology there. She is the coauthor of Acting with Technology (MIT Press).


“With elegance and clarity, Acting with Technology outlines a theoretical perspective that helps interaction design meet its future. This book delves into the intricacies of collective activities and mediated cognitive systems, while offering a principled guide for codeveloping technology and societal practices. It is essential reading in an age when computers and software have long since escaped the confines of individual users and workstations.”
Sampsa Hyysalo, Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Work, University of Helsinki