On Practices, Change, Recruitment, and (Mis)Fitting

Getting Things Changed

A Think Piece by Dr Stanley Blue

Theories of practice are diverse and varied, but one central idea is that social scientists should take social practices as their main focus and unit of enquiry. Although ‘practice’ is variously understood, taking a ‘social practice approach’ does not equate to focussing on best practice, or people’s practices. Instead it is a term that denotes a ‘routinized’ type of social activity (Reckwitz 2002). This approach amounts to a significantly different ontological and epistemological view than in most social research, a significantly different way of seeing and studying the world. Rather than starting with an understanding of the world as made up of people, their motives, desires, and needs or symbols, signs, cultural and material objects, etc. we start with routinised social activities as entities that consist of various elements and that interconnect and interrelate to form the social world and establish social order…

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