Problems and Methods
Chapter 3: Sensible knowledge and knowledgeable bodies
In the two previous chapters I have sought to illustrate, through the description of research experiences, the interpretative opportunities brought by the ‘practice turn’. But I have not made a theoretical presentation of what is meant by the term ‘practice’. I shall further postpone this issue, being content that I have shown at least one opportunity furnished by the practice-based approach. When working practices are studied, description of the activities comprised in a practice is less important than the pattern of connectedness which holds it together. This pattern ties the actions occurring within the practice to the actors of that practice, whether human or non-human, so that they actively construct its situational context. As Lave (1991) notes, one should bear in mind that ‘situation’ is not simply another term for the immediate, physical context. A situation has to be explored in social and historical terms. As we have seen in the case of the coordination centre, people in a room are not inevitably and identically situated, and the situated constraints on practice do not simply arise in and through such isolated interactions. The people and the constraints have social and historical trajectories that should be understood within the texture of connections linking one practice to another and the texture of practices in cultural and historical terms (Gherardi, 2006). A context is not a container of practices; rather, practices create their own context (Fox, 1997).
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