Annalisa Sannino


    Research areas

  • 516 Educational sciences - cultural-historical activity theory, formative interventions , discourse, double stimulation, agency

Description of research and teaching

Annalisa Sannino's research and teaching are primarily focused on understanding transformative agency as a dialectical process of mastering historical contradictions and related conflicts of motives. She has written on the relations between discourse and activity, on the interventionist nature of cultural-historical activity theory, and key epistemological principles characterizing formative interventions within this theoretical framework. More specifically, in her recent work she has developed foundations for an intervention methodology based on the principle of double stimulation and on the principle of ascending from the abstract to the concrete. Her work demonstrates how transformative agency can be discursively identified, supported and enhanced within communities, educational and work activities. 

Beside her numerous refereed journal articles, she is the leading editor of the volume Learning and Expanding with Activity Theory (co-edited with Harry Daniels and Kris Gutierrez) by Cambridge University Press and Learning and Collective Creativity (co-edited with Viv Ellis) by Routledge.

Education information

She completed her PhD in Psychology in 2000 at the University of Nancy in France. 


Curriculum Vitae

Annalisa Sannino works at the Center for Research on Activity, Development and Learning (CRADLE) in the Faculty of Education at University of Helsinki, Finland. Currently on leave from her position as University Lecturer in Educational Sciences, she holds an Academy Research Fellowship (2012-2017) with a project focused on “The Emergence of Agency: Foundations for Educational Change from Below.” She holds Visiting Professor positions at University West, Sweden (2016-2017) and at Rhodes University, South Africa (2016-2019).

Significant past experiences include a post-doctoral Fulbright Fellowship in the Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition and the Department of Communication at the University of California San Diego in 2002-2003. Also, from 2001 to 2008 she worked as researcher in psychology with a tenured full-time position in the Department of Education at the University of Salerno in Italy.

Latest publications

  1. Defensive and Expansive Cycles of Learning: A Study of Home Care Encounters

    Nummijoki, J., Engeström, Y. & Sannino, A. 2018 In : Journal of the Learning Sciences. 27, 2, p. 224-264 41 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  2. Accepted/In press

    Formative Interventions for Expansive Learning and Transformative Agency

    Sannino, A., Engeström, Y. H. M. & Lemos, M. 2018 (Accepted/In press) Cultural-Historical Activity Theory Approaches to Design-Based Research. Routledge, 50 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

  3. Co-generation of societally impactful knowledge in Change Laboratories

    Sannino, A. & Engeström, Y. H. M. Feb 2017 In : Management Learning. 48, 1, p. 80-96 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Latest activities

  1. University West, Trollhättan, Sweden

    Sannino, A. (Visiting researcher)
    30 Oct 20173 Nov 2017

    Activity: Visiting an external institutionAcademic visit to other institution

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