This paper explores cooperation as contradictory and therefore with a constant possibility for conflict. Consequently it is called conflictual cooperation. The notion is presented on the basis of a participatory observation in a control room of a district heating system. In the investigation, cooperation appeared as the continuous reworking of contradictions in the local arrangement of societal con- ditions. Subjects were distributed and distributed themselves according to social privileges, resources, and dilemmas in cooperation. Here, the subjects’ activities and understandings took form from each other, their dilemmas, and their previous experience. This meant that they had each their perspective on ongoing praxis. Three observations from the collaboration in the control room are presented, one on stabilizing the function of an object, another on standardizing a procedure, and one on regulating who can use what in what way. Contradictions in the observed activity are discussed. It is argued that for the participants the connec- tions of acts appear in such contradictions in cooperation. This conception is dis- cussed in relationship to the notions of practice, as expounded by Bourdieu and MacIntyre and Schatzki. As a contrast a notion of praxis is set up in which actions are reciprocally differentiated under contradictory conditions, and habitualiza- tions, institutionalizations and conflictual cooperation are identified on this basis.
- Conflictual cooperation