Beyond the “practice turn” – what’s next? Conference at the IHS, Vienna

On June 6th and 7th the Sociology Department at the IHS hosts the conference entitled “From ‘practice turn’ to ‘praxeological mainstream’?”. Keynote speakers involve Ted Schatzki, Andreas Reckwitz, Alan Warde and Robert Schmidt.

Theories of practice rely on a variety of backgrounds informing different understandings and concepts. Since the proclamation of a practice turn in the social sciences, the notion of practice has been further developed and taken up in a variety of fields informing different research topics, such as organisation studies, consumer research and, more recently, social change and stability. The conference takes up these developments and asks to what extent the multiple backgrounds shaping the different conceptions do share a common understanding and, moreover, how theories of practice can be linked to existing theories as well as methodological approaches in the social sciences.

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During the conference 45 papers will be presented in twelve sessions. My paper is entitled “Mind the gap! Intranets, theories of practice and the micro-macro divide” and proposes to rethink so-called “micro” and “macro” layers of analysis, a distinction prevalent in the social sciences. In particular, I argue that the conceptual focus on the dynamics and change of practices constitutes a way to move beyond this separation. These considerations are based on my dissertation research on intranet software which takes into account the global distribution of intranets in contemporary office life.

For further information, please check the website or download the programme here.

No conference fee — all welcome!

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On the dynamics of social practice

In February, Elizabeth Shove from the Sociology Department at Lancaster University visited us as a Guest Professor. Apart from discussing her forthcoming book ‘The Dynamics of Social Practice’, we made a one-day ‘crash course’ on how to think and work through a dissertation: from developing conceptual thoughts and carrying out empirical field work to the final writing up. The current practice of bag-carrying served as a starting point for this endeavour imagining the future of the plastic bag. Altogether, we developed four distinct futures in which different elements – infrastructure, competences, meaning, materiality – altered. Below you see future no. 4 where only one bag survives and may be found in the (IHS-) museum:

Last bag preserved

The seminar has been part of our post-graduate programme ‘Sociology of Social Practices’ at the IHS. Previous Guest Professors have been Dvora Yanow from the University of Amsterdam, Adele Clarke from the University of California SF, Marianne de Laet from Claremont, Andreas Reckwitz from Viadrina University and Ted Schatzki from the University of Kentucky.