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JRP Submission for Review (ID#126) -- Principle of Contradictions

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  • Debiprasad Dash
    JRP Submission ID#126 Submitted on Dec 4, 2007 TITLE: Using Activity Theory s Principle of Contradictions as a Research Tool ABSTRACT: Contradictions are one
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      JRP Submission ID#126
      Submitted on Dec 4, 2007

      TITLE: Using Activity Theory's Principle of Contradictions as a
      Research Tool

      ABSTRACT: Contradictions are one of the principles of Activity Theory
      (AT). This paper analyses how contradictions have been conceptualized
      and why they are important particularly in contexts of change in
      professional practice. It highlights how individuals may use the
      principle to approach inquiry into innovation and transformation in
      professional practice in particular and human activity in general in
      order to bring sense and meaning to the complexities of change. The
      paper first synthesizes how contradictions have been conceptualized in
      the theoretical and empirical literature. It then highlights their
      usefulness as an analytical tool in research and subsequently outlines
      how researchers have approached inquiry using contradictions in term
      of their methods.

      KEYWORDS: Activity Theory; contradictions; professional practices;
      innovation.

      EXCERPTS:

      Typically, analysis of contradictions using Engeström's model of AT
      involves identifying contradictions in the activity system under study
      . . . In a healthcare setting, Engeström identified "systemic
      contradictions giving rise to disturbances" (p. 965). One
      contradiction was between rules emphasising physicians' individual
      work and the object of activity (patients and their health). Engeström
      articulated the contradictions in the following terms: "Multiproblem
      patients who move between different care providers require
      collaboration across institutional boundaries. However, the
      traditional rules of the hospital organization emphasize that each
      physician is alone responsible for the care of his or her patients"
      (p. 965). . . .

      The process of conducting analysis of contradictions from, for
      example, interview data can be aided by coding techniques . . .

      Once the contradictions have been coded, they can be grouped by theme
      or category . . . In a study of contradictions in teachers' practice
      in the physical and virtual classroom, Authors (in press) used keyword
      analysis to identify contradictions related to: time and workload,
      visual cues . . .


      Potential reviewers may respond soon, within the next 12 hours please,
      as I will be away from my computer after that.

      DP
      --

      PS: I will have limited access to e-mail during Dec 6-21, 2007.
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