Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 42 (3):345-360 (2012)
The new social theories of practice have been inspired by Wittgenstein's late philosophy, phenomenology and more recent sociological theories. They regard embodied skills and routinized, mostly unconscious habits as a key foundation of human practice and knowledge. This position leads to an overstatement of the significance of the habitual dimension of practice. As several critics have suggested this approach omits the problems of transformative agency and change of practices. In turn classical practice theories, activity theory and pragmatism have analyzed the mechanisms of change. Pragmatism suggests that a crisis of a habit calls for reflection. Through working hypotheses and experimentation this leads to a transformation of a practice. Activity theory introduced the concept of remediation. A collective elaboration of shared mediational artefacts is needed to transform an activity
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