Psychological Reality of a Subjective Action



The article regards action in two aspects: as a unit of psychological analysis and as a kind of psychological reality, that may be observed in a person's life and differently presented at different stages of ontogenesis. The start point for investigation of this unit of analysis was a well-known statement by L. S. Vygotsky, elaborated in the context of relationships between thinking and speech. As the unit of analysis the present research takes action as it was defined by A. N. Leontyev and then generally by D. B. Elkonin. Following D. B. Elkonin, action is discussed in relation to its both aspects — meaning and operational. Relations between these two aspects in different periods of development are discussed. Two types of actions, their contents and mediation are analyzed: actions — emotional experiences (perezhivaniya) and actions — de-objectifications. The authors argue that contradictions between the meaning and the operational aspects of an action and the emerging reflection are the conditions for developing subjectivity. Supposed that reflection mediating subjectivity of actions — emotional experiences (perezhivaniya) procreates consciousness and reflection mediating actions — de-objectifications procreates object-related thinking.

General Information

Keywords: subjective action, meaning aspect of an action, operational aspect of an action, quasi-object actions, quasi-tool-related actions, mediation, actions - emotional experiences (perezhivaniya), actions - de-objectifications, consciousness, thinking.

Journal rubric: Theory and Methodology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Zhulanova I.V., Medvedev A.M. Psychological Reality of a Subjective Action. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2011. Vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 63–71. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Irina V. Zhulanova, PhD in Psychology, Assistant professor at the Psychology chair, Volgograd State University of Education, Volgograd, Russia, e-mail:

Aleksandr M. Medvedev, PhD in Psychology, Assistant professor at the Psychology chair, Volgograd State University of Education, Volgograd, Russia, e-mail:



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