Practice Theory Methodologies


April 2016

Join the discussion

If you are interested in the relationship between practice theories (broadly writ) and methodologies, we would be interested to hear your responses, reactions, and revisions to the Propositions for Discussion. Please get in touch with Hilmar ( or Allison ( to find out more about contributing your own post to this blog.

Panel discussion on practice theory and methodology

We have discussed methodological issues of practice theory in a panel during the conference What Energy is For: The Making and Dynamics of Demand at Lancaster University, which was organised by the DEMAND Centre.

The panel members Ben AndersonAlison BrowneRussell Hitchings, and Frank Trentmann engaged with the propositions presented in this blog in relation to their own work. The panel was organised by Allison Hui and Hilmar Schäfer.

You can listen to the audio recording of all panel presentations and the discussion.

In addition, the contribution by Alison Browne can be read here on the blog.


Alison L. Browne – What do Mixed Methods Make? Practice theory, qualitative and quantitative data

Asking questions of methodology is a vitally important project. Asking what practice theoretical research makes is also important (Law, 2009, Law and Urry, 2004). In setting up the critique of the ABC as a collective project, we often lambast not just theory but how particular ontological and epistemological assumptions about the nature of resource demand, consumption and sustainability are brought forth and made real in these research and policy traditions.

I am reflecting particularly on the use of mixed methodology and working across qualitative and quantitative data. This involves reflecting on what these different forms of data make. I am addressing two of the propositions of this blog, and linked DEMAND conference session:

Continue reading “Alison L. Browne – What do Mixed Methods Make? Practice theory, qualitative and quantitative data”

Frank Hillebrandt – Body-Object-Associations and the Principles of Sociology of Practice

HillebrandtMy contribution is related to Theodore Shatzki. He says in his input: “On my view, perhaps the most important contribution that theory makes to social research is the provision of concepts with which researchers can describe, explain, and interpret social phenomena. “ In my view, there are some ideas in social theory that can be added to what Theodore pointed out in his contribution.

In my view, the interplay of the material body and material objects (body-object-associations) produces the observable praxis as a reality (Hillebrandt 2014). If the praxis is researched, in this way, as a materialistic and bodily constituting process, then one avoids the scholastic regulation of operative intentions as well as of structural properties. Instead of this, it becomes possible to determine the conditions for the origin of complex and variable practices, without thereby placing theoretical logics over the logic of practice. Only in this way does praxis become visible as a reality. Consequently, a sociological theory of praxis adheres to a definition of the body involved in praxis, in order then to relate this to a second, closely connected step for the definition of materialistic components of praxis.

Continue reading “Frank Hillebrandt – Body-Object-Associations and the Principles of Sociology of Practice”

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