Vygotsky’s, Leontiev’s and Engeström’s cultural-historical (activity) theories: Overview, clarifications and implications
At the social turn in education, Vygotsky’s cultural-historical/sociocultural theory (VST) has become particularly influential. There are other cultural-historical traditions associated with VST, including Leontiev’s and Engeström’s versions of cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT). These approaches are frequently conflated, resulting in confusion that can be consequential in interpreting educational research findings. Unravelling these frameworks is thus an important and urgent task. In addressing this gap, the paper first provides an overview of the origins and fundamental tenets of these cultural-historical perspectives, followed by a critical evaluation of and comparison among them. Implications for utilising these cultural-historical traditions are discussed.