- Planting contemporary practice theory in the garden of information science
- Information Research Journal
- Volume | Issue number
- 16 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam Business School Research Institute (ABS-RI)
Introduction. The purpose of this paper is to introduce to information science in a coherent fashion the core premises of contemporary practice theory, and thus to engage the information research community in further debate and discussion.
Method. Contemporary practice-based approaches are summarised in an ensemble of five core premises by means of a broad conceptual analysis of the relevant literature. Differentiated from its historical antecedents by central ideas from science and technology studies, particularly actor-network theory and the sociology of translation, this current practice movement builds on the latest practice 'turn' which is then used to answer the question of how practice theory could contribute to information science.
Results. Capturing the distinct ontology, epistemology and methodology of current practice theory, the five key premises provide novel insights in transcending the macro-objectivist and micro-subjectivist levels of analysis, in sociomateriality, in stretching interactions to action nets to conceptualize dynamic organizing, in the sharing of tacit knowledge, in the emergent nature of knowing and learning, and in social order and change as dynamic outcomes of the tightly interwoven processes of doing, knowing and organizing.
Conclusions. This paper distinguishes the everyday notion of practice, mostly understood as practices, from contemporary practice theory which aspires to integrate practice ontology, epistemology and methodology into a coherent theoretical framework. This upcoming theory offers a dedicated vocabulary and approach to all of those information scientists who either focus on macro-structures or micro-interactions in their studies, but feel at risk of ignoring or missing important dimensions of social order and change in action.
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