To Leave a Praxis to Itself May Be to Upset It in Unintended Ways

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Abstract

The presentation is based on a preliminary study in the building business. We investigated how a dormitory for students was built close to Roskilde University.

The study was undertaken in the following way. Data about the cooperation was established through a method that includes documents, observations, interviews and other conversations. The gathering of material was carried out over some time. It was collected contemporarily, during the period that is discussed, and afterwards in the form of participants' and users' comments on the process in retrospect, and in the form of particular meanings of the dormitory for the users. The present text is based on the material in different ways. We have performed readings of material that is produced during the cooperation. This includes drawings, dated in relation to the design and production process, as well as minutes from meetings between the participants, in particular meetings that involved the contractor. We have also used statements from interviews with participants, users, administrators. Some of these have been audiotaped and transcribed. Others are supported with notes only. Most of them have a character of ongoing dialogue. These materials are organized by the researchers on a conception of situated praxis, of conflictual cooperation, and on an interest in morals and the meaning of upsetting practices. The organization of the material may hopefully provoke discussions around praxis as part of its further development.

Thus, our presentation is based on a notion of praxis. Praxis is formed by the reciprocal differentiations of acts. In order to be able to act here, we try to arrange things to be done in specific ways there. In order to build the house here, we arrange a supply of inhabitants here, a conglomerate of producers there etc.. Furthermore, what we achieve here in our acts is formed by the ongoing activities around us, by the supply of inhabitants and conglomerate of producers, etc..

We are going to argue that praxis is constantly developing, and therefore constantly upset. Sometimes we must be upsetting in order to ensure the development of praxis, and sometimes we are upsetting because we try to defend a certain line of development or certain aspects of status quo. Sometimes we are upset because we fail to interfere into relevant practice.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2008
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Event24th annual EGOS colloquium : Upsetting Organizations - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 10 Jul 200812 Jul 2008

Conference

Conference24th annual EGOS colloquium
CountryNetherlands
CityAmsterdam
Period10/07/200812/07/2008

Cite this

Olsen, P. B., & Axel, E. (2008). To Leave a Praxis to Itself May Be to Upset It in Unintended Ways. Paper presented at 24th annual EGOS colloquium , Amsterdam, Netherlands.