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  • Beyond the local. Making sense of ‘large phenomena’ from a prac9ce- based perspec9ve

    Davide Nicolini Ikon, University of Warwick

  • Central issue !   How can we use a prac;ce-based

    sensi;vity to address big issues and ‘large scale phenomena’

    !   Examples of large phenomena: func;oning of the financial market, large ins;tu;onal arrangements, the educa;on system, bureaucracy and the future of the planet


  • Three broad strategies

    !   Rhizoma;c sensi;vity !   Examine the global in the local prac;ce !   Study and do scalography


  • Prac9ce-based orienta9on

    The basic domain of study of the social [are] social prac;ces ordered across space and ;me


    (Giddens 1984, p. 2)

  • Flat vs. mul9level ontology !   Prac;ce theory orients towards a flat

    ‘rela;onal’ ontology !   Not all prac;ce oriented scholars believe in

    a flat ontology !   Bourdieu, Giddens, Fairclough, Glynos &

    Horwarth do not believe in flat ontology


  • How to opera9onalise a rhizoma9c sensi9vity

    !   Large scale phenomena as a fabric of interconnected prac;ces: from metaphor to method

    !   Bundle, nexus , texture, mesh, ac;on net are metaphors and similes

    !   How do you do it in prac;ce?


  • Kemmis: analysing prac9ces and their architectures (‘contexture’)


    !   People bring sociomaterial prac;ces into being but not under condi;ons of their choosing

  • Kemmis: analysing prac9ces and their architectures (‘contexture’)

    Elements of the prac9ce Prac9ce architecture

    Project guiding the prac9ce Prac9ce landscape

    Sayings Discursive condi9ons

    Doings Material economic arrangement

    Rela9ngs Social poli9cal arrangement

    Disposi9ons (Knowledge, skills, rela;onal orienta;on)

    Prac9ce tradi9on


  • Analysing ecologies of prac9ces !   Interdependencies, influence and

    hospitability (Schatzki meets Habermas)


  • Example: educa9on as an ecology of prac9ces (Kemmis et al., 2014)


  • Uncovering nested rela9onality by tracing trans-situated prac9ces

    !   Large scale social phenomena emerge from the ac;ve rela;onships between highly localized forms of ac;vi;es

    !   Rela;onal presence: each of these prac;ce cons;tute the context for each other locally first and trans-locally later.


  • Example: reinsurance market (Jarzabkowski et al. 2015)


  • Finding the global in the local !   Iden;fy a specific site of engagement !   Adend to social arrangement, historical

    body, lived experience !   Iden;fy what are the crucial discourses

    opera;ng in the scene !   Naviga;ng these discourses “as a way of

    seeing how those moments are cons;tuted out of past prac;ces and how in turn they lead to new forms of ac;on…”


  • Nexus analysis (Scollon & Scollon)

    !   Performing and perpetua;ng racial inequality


  • Studying scalographic prac9ces !   Scalography: the study of the scoping

    technologies and the representa;on ac;vi;es through which specific classes of prac;;oners construct and circulate ‘large scale phenomena’

    !   Army command rooms; railway control centres; stock market; city control centres


  • Doing reflexive scalography !   Crate macro-prac;ces out of collec;on of

    local instances !   Use to construct narra;ves of growth,

    survival and disappearance at a large spa;al and temporal scale

    !   Explain dynamic based on local events


  • Example: showering vs bathing compe99on


  • Big issues and ‘large scale phenomena’ from a PB perspec9ve !   Rethink some entrenched dis;nc;ons !   Differences in scale are produced in

    prac;ce and through prac;ces !   Use more than one scale at the same ;me

    moving skilfully from one another !   Resist the tempta;on to study nexuses,

    assemblages and bundles of prac;ces in and of themselves