Bridging Concept and Activity: a Dialectical Synthesis Proposal



This work is a theoretical discussion about concept formation in a cultural-historical perspective that articulates Vygotsky’s system of concepts within Leontiev’s structure of activity. This effort has led to a theoretical proposition that we call concept-activity, a dialectical unity formed by a concept and its genetic activities, i.e., the systematised activities in which concepts emerge directed to a purpose. Taking volition and conscious awareness as analytic categories, we initially relate scientific concepts with actions — concepts-action — and everyday concepts with operations — concepts-operation. The articulation of these elements drives the emergence of conceptual thinking as an activity, framed by the term concept-activity. In other words, while scientific concepts are related to actions because both arise from a conscious and voluntary dimension, everyday concepts are related to operations through a non-conscious and non-voluntary dimension. A discussion on how the concept-activity synthetises the movement between these two forms of conceptualisations and its implication to concept formation is provided.

General Information

Keywords: concept formation, Activity theory, volition, conscious awareness

Journal rubric: Problems of Cultural-Historical and Activity Psychology


For citation: Lago L., Mattos C.R. Bridging Concept and Activity: a Dialectical Synthesis Proposal. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2021. Vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 29–36. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2021170203.


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Information About the Authors

Leonardo Lago, University of São Paulo, Sao Paolo, Brazil, ORCID:, e-mail:

Cristiano R. Mattos, PhD in Physics and Matematics, Professor, Institute of Physics, University of Sa~o Paulo, Sao Paolo, Brazil, ORCID:, e-mail:



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