Properties of Mediated Action

James V. Wertsch

in Mind as Action

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780195117530
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199846917 | DOI:
Properties of Mediated Action

Show Summary Details


The original formulation of sociocultural analysis is revised in this chapter. The task of a sociocultural approach is to explicate the relationships between human action, and the cultural, institutional and historical contexts in which this action occurs. It is shown that almost all human action is mediated action. A set of basic claims that characterize mediated action and the associated cultural tools is presented, and each of these claims is illustrated with some concrete examples. Ten basic claims are specifically examined, namely, mediated action is characterized by an irreducible tension between agent and mediational means, mediational means are material, mediated action typically has multiple simultaneous goals, mediated action is situated on one or more developmental paths, mediational means constrain as well as enable action, new mediational means transform mediated action, the relationship of agents toward mediational means can be characterized in terms of mastery, the relationship of agents toward mediational means can be characterized in terms of appropriation, mediational means are often produced for reasons other than to facilitate mediated action, and mediational means are associated with power and authority.

Keywords: sociocultural analysis; human action; mediated action; power; authority; cultural tools; mastery

Chapter.  21310 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.