Conceptualising and examining connections beyond practices – plenary at BSA workshop

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Practice Theory: Connections and Methodologies was a great mix of talks and activities, reaching from philosophical inquiry – for example on the basis for claims of relationality and contesting ideas of where the action of the social is sited – to collaborative empirical project design. The event was very timely, as empirical work with practice theory increasingly includes recognition of its potential to engage larger social phenomena and processes, by attending to the connections between practices across locales and times.

The workshop was organised by Torik Holmes and Carolyn Lord at Lancaster University, with support from the British Sociological Association. The inestimable Ted Schatzki got things off to an excellent opening plenary with a relaxed and insightful talk engaging with sections of his current book project on social change, which I eagerly await. Alison Hui organised a reflective insight into the timelines of participants’ research, a generative way of getting people talking to each other about where they’re coming from. Dale Southerton and Stan Blue each ran reading discussions based on recent articles.

So, a great run of activities to follow with a closing plenary.  With Elizabeth Shove, we reviewed ideas from the Dynamics of Social Practice, involving a reprise of my elements juggling, last seen in the British Library years ago… That provided framing for some initial reflections on where (and which) ideas from the book have been taken forward in others’ research and writing.

Author: Matt Watson

A Human Geographer at the University of Sheffield, interested in how everyday human action and social orders make each other, with implications for sustainability and wellbeing. Currently looking at energy including how to tackle demand for it.

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