Vol 44 No 1 (2014)

Community service-learning and cultural-historical activity theory

Alison Taylor
Department of Educational Policy Studies University of Alberta
Published March 31, 2014


This paper explores the potential of cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT), to provide new insights into community service-learning (CSL) in higher education. While CSL literature acknowledges the influences of John Dewey and Paolo Freire, discussion of the potential contribution of cultural-historical activity theory, rooted in the work of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky, is noticeably absent. This paper addresses this gap by examining four assumptions associated with activity theory: the rejection of a theory/practice divide, the development of knowledge as a social collaborative activity, the focus on contradictions in and across activity systems, and the interventionist approach aimed at transformation.



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