Basic ideas and categorical means of activity theory


  • Georgy Shchedrovitsky Candidate of Philosophical Sciences, Professor, Editor-in-Chief of the “Questions of Methodology” journal, founder of STA-metho­dology and methodological movement in the USSR.



person, world, activity, ontology, thinking, language, object of study


Methodological research is devoted to the coverage of intellectual sources, basic fundamental ideas, categorical means, scientific-subject resources, systemic and actually polystructural foundations, reproduction-activity schemes, logical principles and organization-actional norms, as well as invariants of reflexive, naturalistic and actional positioning of the general theory of activity. It summarizes the results of fulfillment of the second major program of the Moscow Methodological Circle by an informal group of self-identified methodologists led by G.P. Shchedrovitsky, namely the creation of the theory of activity and the establishment of actional approach in philosophical-scientific discourse since the 60s of the last century. It is noteworthy that this theory is based on a systematic approach with its attributive characteristics of polystructurality, developmental functionality, morphological and process integrity, productively uses its categorical means and conceptual capabilities of the scientific subject as an epistemological system. In general, the category of activity from the regulatory lever is transformed into a system-forming center of worldviews of broad ontological ideas and from the objective principle – into the main subject of research-construction. First of all, this is confirmed by the schemes of “reproduction of activity and transmission of culture”, “act of activity” and “reflexive way out”, which in complementarity reveal the methodological resources of thinking as activity, ie reveal the mechanism of transmission of cultural norms, paradigms, and actually, ways and means of thinking itself in the socio-cultural, historical course of everyday life. Among the nuclear innovations of methodological thinking, reflection is substantiated, which is initiated by problematic situations and at the same time is a specific mechanism for the development of activity due to the variety of forms and organizations of human cooperation. As a result, the enrichment is got not only by the methodological project itself, which advocates a kind of “totalization” of reflection and reflexive “closure” of the whole aggregate sphere of activity, but also by the prospect of the third major intellectual program emerging in the late 1980s - system-thought-activity methodology or STA-methodology.


Ansoff H.J., Branderburg R.C. A program of research in business planning. Management science. Vol. 13. Baltimore, 1967. N 6.

Behavioral Sciences Division. Report. New York, 1953.

Berelson B. Behavioral sciences. International encyclopedia of social science. Vol. III. New York, 1968.

Berelson B., Steiner G.A. Human behavior. An inventory of scientific findings. New York, etc., 1964.




How to Cite

Shchedrovitsky, Georgy. “Basic Ideas and Categorical Means of Activity Theory”. Psyhology & Society, no. 1, July 2022, pp. 95-126,