As the aim of this site is to encourage further discussion about the relationship between practice theories, methods and methodologies, we decided to write a series of propositions that might spark discussion and debate. The individual contributors to this blog in their posts may accept, refute, explore, explode, add to, and subtract from this list. You can see their engagement with specific propositions by exploring the ‘browse by proposition’ menu.

  1. Established methods offer both opportunities and dangers for working with practice theories.
  2. Practice theories make specific methodological demands of those who work with them.
  3. Considerations of space, time and embodiment are essential aspects of practice theory methodologies.
  4. Inventive and multiple methods, units, samples, etc. are particularly useful for exploring practices at different scales, in relation to changing social patterns and variably interconnected actors.
  5. Practice theoretical methodologies need to be able to capture macro structures or large scale phenomena.
  6. Practice theoretical methodologies always have to adapt to the field of practice they are studying.
  7. Practice theory is a conceptual framework which is particularly susceptible to change. It is shaped by its empirical findings.

Elizabeth Shove has proposed to add an eighth proposition in her contribution, which also provides a thorough commentary on the whole list:

8. Taking “practice” as a central conceptual unit of enquiry generates a range of distinctive questions. The choice of methods depends on which of these questions you want to take up and pursue. Using practice theory is thus not directly tied to certain methods, but the choice of methods is – as always – dependent upon your specific research question.

Advertisements