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Practice Theory and Methodology

The Course is fully booked. there will not be a waitinglist

Practice theoretical approaches have made their entry in the social sciences and humanities over the last 30 years. Still more scholars in different disciplines and with different research interests and backgrounds have focused on the day-to-day practices of actors in their studies. Philosophers like Theodore Schatzki, Joseph Rouse, and Andreas Reckwitz have sketched out the fundamental ontological and epistemological presumptions of practice theories in relation to agency, the social and society and described how practice theories draws on philosophical insights from mainly the late Wittgenstein and the younger Heidegger, but also significantly the early Giddens, Bourdieu, Butler and the late Foucault. In organizational studies social scientist like Silvia Gherardi , Davide Nicolini, Wanda Orlikowski  and others have theorized and analyzed the role of technology within organizational development and change and learning theorist like Paul Hager, Jean Lave, and Etienne Wenger have demonstrated how learning processes are best understood as transformations of and within practices. In another intellectual tradition, namely activity-theory, Yrgö Engeström and others have studied work practices and stressed the interplay with the material environment and the role of tools as essential features of human practices. The practice theoretical approaches have spread to other areas of research like consumption and sustainability studies (e.g. in the works of Elizabeth Shove and Alan Warde). In Science and Technology Studies practice theoretical approaches have appeared most notably in the works of Karin Knorr Cetina and Joseph Rouse, but practice theoretical approaches are held in common with many STS approaches, e.g. in the traditions of ethnomethodology, actor-network theory and other post-humanist perspectives (e.g. in the works of Andrew Pickering). Several scientific journals have devoted special issues to the discussion of the new practice approaches within the social sciences (e.g. Organization 2000, The British Journal of Sociology 2002, Human Affairs 2007 and Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 2015) – thus practice theoretical approaches have come to the fore and significantly influenced contemporary social science. Many scholars have observed this impact and describe the increasing attention to social practices as a ‘practice turn’ in social science (Schatzki et al. 2001) or a ‘bandwagon’ of practice based studies (Corradi et al. 2010). 

However, it is only more recently that practice-based scholars have started to explicitly and systematically focus on the methodological implications of pursuing a practice theoretical perspective (e.g. Silvia Gherardi, Davide Nicolini, Paul Richard Trowler, Marcelo Bispo, Dubravka Cecez-Kecmanovic et al. This PhD course intends to introduce, explore and critically reflect upon different methodological approaches to the study of practices. The PhD-course aims to introduce various epistemological-ontological-methodological frameworks that are sensitive to the unfolding of practices. We will investigate how these frameworks sets out to bring forward the social, material, discursive, bodily, affective, aesthetic and ethical dimensions of practices. 

The course will consist of a mixture of lectures and workshops. The lectures will introduce different practice-based frameworks and critically reflect on methodological problems. In the workshops, participants will be invited to present their own empirical material and engage in discussions about how practices can be approached, investigated and represented in scholarly work.

Participants should have some prior knowledge of theories of practice to appreciate the course, and your empirical research should be practice oriented.



Professor emerita Silvia Gherardi, University of Trento

Professor Antje Gimmler, Aalborg University

Professor (mso) Anders Buch, Aalborg University


Datoer: 22.-24. May 2017

Sted: Aalborg University Copenhagen


Registration: The Cource is fully booked. There will not be a waitinglist.

Deadline: February 15th 2017


Contact Professor mso Anders Buch buch@learning.aau.dk if you have any questions regarding the academic content of the course

Contact Jeanette Arboe jma@learning.aau.dk,  if you have any questions regarding registration or other practical issues.



Program Director Lektor Lars Birch Andreasen
Phone 9940 2361

PhD secretary Jeanette Arboe
Phone 9940 3062