Practices and the Practical Dimension in the Study of Social Life

  • Anders Buch (Arrangør)
  • Theodore Schatzki (Arrangør)

Aktivitet: Deltagelse i faglig begivenhedOrganisering af eller deltagelse i workshop, kursus, seminar eller lignende


In recent decades approaches to social life have proliferated that are organized around conceptions of practices or of the practical dimension of human existence. This development results from dissatisfaction with dominant intellectual traditions that emphasized (and still emphasize) the significance for human and social life of such phenomena as thinking, theory, individual actions, representations and contents, and cognitive forms of teleology and knowledge. In contrast, thinkers focusing on practices and the practical have emphasized such matters as practical knowledge, the contextual, processual, embodied, and temporal aspects of activity, and the organization and patterning of actions over space and time.

One prominent approach that has emphasized practices and the practical dimension is the eponymously named collection of accounts called “theories of practice.” Such theories conceptualize social life and social phenomena as complexes of practices. A second prominent approach is the stream of thought known as pragmatism. Drawing on the work above all of William James and John Dewey, pragmatism conceptualizes social existence, and human life more generally, as developing within the realm of practical action. Other intellectual traditions that have made extensive use of conceptions of practice or the practical include phenomenology, in particular, its postHeideggerian versions, and process theory, which attends to the dynamic character and temporal features of the realm of practice. Any number of contemporary thinkers have essayed to combine elements of these intellectual streams.

The Copenhagen conference will provide a research forum where doctoral and postdoctoral students who draw on one or more of these traditions in studying social life can present, receive feed-back, and interact about research. The Conference will also bring together ideas and researchers from the above intellectual moevements in the hope of fostering better comprehension of the convergences and synergies (differences, too) among them. Greater comprehension of these matters will strengthen research by better enabling researchers to develop and draw on convergent or complementary ideas.

In order to facilitate productive exchange that strengthens the work of conference participants, we invite papers that fall within one of four areas of investigation:

• Learning and Education
• Organizations and Institutions
• Social Change and Social Movements
• Materiality and Sustainable Transformations

Participants whose research focuses on a given topic will form a group. Group members will read one another’s research papers before the conference and prepare comments on them. At the conference, participants will first meet in groups to exchange comments and to discuss convergences, differences, and synergies in their concepts and approaches. Participating faculty members will work with these groups. Then, participants will take turns presenting their research to the entire conference. Over the course of the conference, each faculty participant will also deliver a talk on a relevant topic.

The four faculty members are:
• Professor Jorgen Sandberg, University of Queensland
• Professor Theodore Schatzki, University of Kentucky and Aalborg University
• Professor Elizabeth Shove, Lancaster University
• Professor Anders Buch, Aalborg University Copenhagen

The conference is free of charge, but participants must pay for their own transportation and accommodation. Lunches and refreshments will be sponsored by Aalborg University.
Periode9 jul. 201811 jul. 2018
PlaceringCopenhagen, DanmarkVis på kort
Grad af anerkendelseInternational


  • Practice Theory