Activity theory–it’s not you, it’s me.

I’m worried that I don’t quite understand activity theory. I read Heather Canary’s article in which she uses activity theory to describe how decisions are made in public policy, and it’s really brilliant. I was so hoping that I could use activity theory in some way in my thesis, but now–stating the obvious here–it’s already been done, and activity theory and I are in a weird place right now.

In my rhetorical theory class (where I worked harder than in any class prior), I got some pretty sweet grades. I got all the points possible on all of the writings, except for the writing on activity theory. Also, I took another class in which we contributed an article to a student publication. Mine was about activity theory. Again, that was the only assignment where I did not get all the possible points. So, going purely on grades, I have to admit that I must be missing something.

Now granted, 3.5 points out of 4 and 49 points out of 50 are not failing grades or anything. I guess the thing that bothers me is, I really thought those essays were awesome. I can’t tell if it’s my tendency to love writing that I slave over so much that I want to marry it (and, for the record, I only love it just before I turn it in…after that, I critique myself mercilessly). Or, do I think I get activity theory, but I really do not.

For right now, I’m going to pass on activity theory. I really like it’s abstract nature, the way it can categorize and predict behaviour, but there’s just something that I’m missing or not quite grasping. It’s not you, activity theory, it’s me.

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