Working With Cultural-Historical Activity Theory
This article focuses on the experiences of two researchers, Wolff-Michael ROTH and Luis RADFORD, using cultural-historical activity theory in mathematics education. The aim is to provide insights into the ways these researchers see and engage with activity theory, how they have come to adopt and expand it, and some of the challenges and concerns that they have had using it. These questions are not usually addressed within typical scientific papers. Yet, they are important for understanding both the dynamics of research and the practical use of cultural-historical activity theory. Since the format of research report papers is not necessarily well suited to convey personal experiences and thinking, the present article takes the form of a conversation, which provides an effective vehicle for exploring and articulating these matters. This provides a basis for understanding more deeply the underlying assumptions of this theory; its dynamics and how it is applied in research of mathematics practice, thinking, and learning; and insights into the manner in which experienced researchers grapple with the theoretical dimensions of their research.