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Social practices from the viewpoint of trans- subjective existentialism

Dimitri Ginev University of Konstanz, Germany

European Journal of Social Theory 2014, Vol 17(1) 77–94 ª The Author(s) 2013 Reprints and permission:

DOI: 10.1177/1368431013505013 est.sagepub.com Abstract The principal aim of this article is to examine

Abstract The principal aim of this article is to examine the capacity of existential analytic to suggest alternatives to entrenched dichotomies and dilemmas in practice theory, and more generally, in social theory. In this regard, the doctrine of trans-subjective existentialism is developed. The underlying aim is to inform hermeneutic engagement with social prac- tices’ potentiality-for-being in order to illuminate a possible existential ontology of prac- tices. It is argued that the concept of chronotope should be central in this ontology. Thus, the possibility of hermeneutic realism about social practices becomes open to scrutiny.

Keywords characteristic hermeneutic situation, practical appropriation of possibilities, projection of horizon, trans-subjective existentialism

Practices and possibilities

The question of how to situate practice theory in the general typological space of the social theory’s versions continues to be at stake in recent epistemological and methodo- logical debates. These debates were fueled, in particular, by the attempts to draw a demarcation line between epistemologically classical versions and post-Cartesian ver- sions of social theory. Thus, Andreas Reckwitz (2002) made the case on the pages of this journal that practice theory belongs together with cultural mentalism, intersubjectivism, and textualism to a family of theory’s versions that are to be distinguished from classical


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modern versions of social theory associated with the idealizations of homo economicus and homo sociologicus . What unites the four versions of this family (making them, according to Reckwitz, variants of ‘cultural theory’) is their persistent calling into ques- tion of the Cartesian assumptions of classical social theory. Approaching discursive formations, unraveling unconscious structures, and reconstructing cognitive-symbolic orders are devices that revise significantly traditional Cartesian assumptions. Structuralist-semiotic mentalism, discursive intersubjectivism, and social-constructivist textualism have come to prominence with rev isions of this kind. In contrast to the other three versions, however, practice theory (es pecially its variants based on hermeneutic phenomenology) not only challenges traditi onal assumptions and distinctions, trying to recast them in terms of a non-subjectivist and non-representationalist epistemology. It aims rather at undoing the modern methodo logical and epistemological dichotomies in a radical manner. Practice theory is neith er a mentalist nor an an ti-mentalist enter- prise since it deals with the constitution of m eaning within-the-world-of-practices which precedes and fore-structures the form ation of the opposition between mental and non-mental. Furthermore, the variants of this theory based on hermeneutic phenomen- ology are neither subjectivist n or anti-subjectivist, but tran s-subjectivist. It is the last claim that I am going to address in what follows. Practices are ‘something more’ than socially recognized forms of activity. By the same token, a particular practice is ‘something more’ than a normatively organized con- duct to which the members of a certain collective conform. The growing diversification of theories of practice(s) in the past two decades was prompted in the first place by the attempts to answer the question of what this ‘something more’ should be. On the predo- minant way of addressing this question, the answer must be sought in practices’ intrinsic resources to govern (in a reflexive manner) their own production and reproduction. (Reflecting on these resources provides, supposedly, the point of departure in the con- struction of a theory of practices.) What lies beyond the scope of the essentialist theories of practices is not a residuum that remains after carrying out a procedural objectification of practices as normatively organized forms of activity. 1 Beyond this scope one finds rather the ‘negative partner’ of what is positively given in the empirical domains of the essentialist theories of practices. The aim of this article is to approach the reality of social practices which exceeds all objectivist identification of them. It is a reality that I will try to make intelligible in terms of a hermeneutic theory that takes up and reformulates themes of existential analytic. On this account, the positivity of practice-theoretical knowledge is the ‘ontic outcome’ of the thematic approaches to practices operating with firm epistemological criteria of iden- tification, while the negativity (the ‘constitutive nothingness’ within the positive expe- rience) is what constantly transcends the ‘ontic outcome’. (As the ‘worldhood of the world’ has an ontological preponderance with regard to the world as thematically objec- tified reality, the interrelatedness of practices has an ontological priority over each par- ticular, objectively identifiable, practice. A practice is localized always against the interpretative background of interrelated practices.) As a first step in approaching the transcending reality of practices I will pay attention to a conclusion drawn by many authors who otherwise defend quite different positions:

Practices are enacted by actors but the phenomenon of ‘shared interrelatedness of



practices’ is not to be accounted for by only having recourse to the network of those actors who share them. It deserves mention that in arriving at this conclusion, one is not obliged to admit that something extrinsic to the interrelatedness of practices (something like a cultural pattern, background knowledge, actors’ individual and collective tacit knowledge, and so on) has to be added to give an account of the phenomenon. Interre- lated practices project possibilities whose appropriation and actualization constitute the collective (inter-subjectively attained) identity of those who are in the practices’ partic- ular interrelatedness. Since the appropriation of possibilities is potentially never-ending, such an identity is always ‘under construction’. On this account, actors share a particular interrelatedness (nexus) of practices when they gain a collective understanding of themselves with regard to the possibilities they can (collectively) appropriate. (Thus considered, ‘understanding’ has nothing to do with a competence that is not explicitly articulated. 2 It is also not a cognitive ability acquired gradually and necessary for learning practices. Learning takes place ineluctably in a hor- izon of understanding, and for that reason, it assumes a kind of understanding that is not inculcated in its own process. 3 ) In a slightly more sophisticated formulation, a particular interrelatedness of practices projects its web of meanings upon possibilities. This projec- tion does not amount to a kind of ‘collective intentionality’ since it does not stem from practitioners’ collective mentality. Granted that contextual interrelations among prac- tices generate meaningful possibilities of how one comports oneself in that context, it ought to be argued that the projection of meanings upon possibilities comes into being through practices’ co-referentiality. Accordingly, those who share the interrelated prac- tices have a collective mode of existence that is towards the possibilities projected by these practices. Put in an equivalent formulation, a collective (group) of actors share interrelated practices when they articulate that web of meanings which the interrelated- ness projects upon possibilities. It is the appropriation of these possibilities that warrants the ongoing construction of a collective identity. Appropriating (and actualizing) possi- bilities are, on this account, tantamount to the constitution of meaning. To sum up, the phenomenon of ‘shared interrelatedness of practices’ is within an (existential) constella- tion together with the phenomena of ongoing construction of collective identity, projec- tion and appropriation of possibilities, and constitution of meaning. The foregoing considerations oppose established accounts of the relationship between (the reality of) practices and practitioners’ dispositions, normative attitudes, and forms of interaction.

Practice theory between essentialism and reductionist naturalism

The most prominent (and most traditional) account of this relationship attributes causal power to shared orchestrated practices, and admits furthermore that each particular prac- tice exists per se as an ‘entity in itself’ (or, as an irreducible ‘social fact’ a` la Durkheim). At the same time, the very orchestration of interrelated practices imposes constraints on the particular practices’ performances. Thus, while being constantly regulated by prac- tices with which it is interrelated, a practice exercises (separately or in concert with other practices) causal power on an individual form of life (by shaping, for instance, some kind of individual’s preferences). The existence of practices is accounted for by the strange


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combination of physical causality and social regularity. On this approach, practices are quasi-physical entities inhabiting the normative social world. A case in point is Maurice Halbwachs’s approach to collective memory. The constraints imposed on the agents by the actual social order dictate how the collective recollection of the past should work. It is the social order (as designed by orchestrated practices) that picks out the pertinent past events which the agents (the practices’ performers) should keep in their collective mem- ory. The existing social order obligates on a regular basis the agents not just to reproduce in thought previous events but also to shorten them, or to complete them so that the agents give them ‘a prestige that reality did not possess’ (Halbwachs, 1992: 51) In this regard, the existing social order manages to institute special practices of keeping events in collective memory. The ‘framework of collective memory’ is circumscribed by these mnemonic practices. Each of them causes in a certain way that rhythm of recollecting (and forgetting) which characterizes the individual memory of a particular member. Halbwachs states, accordingly, that there is no individual memory that is not a part or an aspect of collective memory, and ‘the framework of collective memory confines and binds our most intimate remembrances to each other’ (Halbwachs, 1992: 53). For instance, the periodic re-activation of a ritual practice ‘activates’ past events whereby the re-activation shapes causally aspects of individual memory. And collective memory (in its capacity to pick out past events whose recollection is instrumental in maintaining the existing order) is constrained by the practices circumscribing its framework. The extreme opposite of the causal-regulative account of practices rejects any autonomy of practices’ existence. Habits and habituation (defined in terms of individual behavior) are the only real phenomena. Practices without inter-subjective sharing are individual habits (Turner, 2001: 129). Furthermore, the only acceptable construal of practices is as psycholo- gically generated patterns of behavior (Turner, 1994: 117). Why habituation provokes the illusory existence of inter-subjectively shared practices as particular social entities is a ques- tion that has to be relegated to social psychology. From this (presumably radically anti- essentialist) perspective, what is repudiated is not only holistic social ontologies but also the theories of social practices which admit that practices are grounded upon a ‘tacit rule book’. Within the framework of a social theory that does not permit hypostatized entities endowed with causal power, practices are to be recast in terms of clusters of individual habits. It is my contention that a genuine overcoming of essentialism in practice theory would not amount to reducing practices to habits since such a reduction cannot avoid, for instance, the postulation of cognitive-psychological essences and/or the hypostatiza- tion of a teleonomic reality of ‘synchronized’ habits. An initial step in this overcoming consists in confronting in a proper manner the dual nature of practices: Practices are at once thematic entities (in particular, empirical objects of inquiry) and, in their interrelat- edness, horizons in which the reality of socio-cultural entities (rules, social roles, norma- tive statuses, networks of interaction, etc.) becomes disclosed. My suggestion of how to cope with the dual nature of practices applies the following methodological tenet: An unavoidable dimension in the construction of a reflexive theory of practices amounts to theorizing (in terms of the same reflexive theory which is intended) those practices of inquiry by virtue of which (all kinds of) practices are constituted as objects of inquiry. In my view, this tenet expresses the underlying methodological hermeneutic circle in the construction of a reflexive theory of practice.



The diversity of practice theories lies between the extreme poles of the hypostatiza- tion of shared practices as primary social entities endowed with causal power (the posi- tion of radical essentialism about practices) and the undoing of practices as autonomous entities (the alleged position of radical anti-essentialism). Between these two poles there is a wide spectrum of positions. All of them try to get rid of the holism-psychologism dilemma by singling out ‘mediatory objects’. A case in point is the collective routine activities which cease to be routine at the individual level as this hybrid object is sug- gested by Barry Barnes (2001). Prima facie the most prominent (and most successful) in-between position is that of Bourdieu who presumably attributes to habitus the status of a mediatory object. The concept of habitus defined as durably installed generative principles of regulated improvisations avoids the pitfalls of both objectivist hypostatiza- tion and psychological reductionism. The habitus is something trans-subjective that does not have existence per se. In fact, Bourdieu’s position is not an in-between position at all. His third way (not between but beyond) objectivism and subjectivism is paved by the search for a genuine anti-essentialism. It is not the empiricist elimination of dubious social entities (such as collective tacit knowledge, shared practices or Weltanschauung) that leads to overcoming essentialism. In Bourdieu’s view, the overcoming requires a working out of the ‘dialectical relations’ between the structures revealed by virtue of the- oretical (in particular, structuralist) idealizations and the ‘structured dispositions’ (i.e. the dispositions of the habitus) within which those structures are constituted. Following the idea that habitus is a trans-subjective manifestation of agents’ structured dispositions that are fore-structuring socially established structures, Bourdieu counters structural anthropology (and other approaches succumbed to ‘logicism’) for their aspira- tion to enclose in concepts ‘practical logic’ that is made to dispense with (externally imposed) concepts, thereby reducing practices to logical operations. Scientific objectifica- tion based on theoretical idealizations cannot gasp the ‘principles of practical logic’ with- out changing the nature of those principles. The concept of habitus implies that a practice owes its ‘practical coherence’ to the fact that it is the outcome of ‘conceptual systems immanent in practice’. Taking into consideration the contextual-situational sensitivity of the habitus prevents one from reifying practices. The ‘dialectic of objectification and embodiment’ of practices rests on the capacity of the habitus to improvise by combining formulas. The habitus governs practice through its ‘endless capacity to engender thoughts, perceptions, expressions, actions whose limits are set by the historically and socially situ- ated conditions of its production’ (Bourdieu, 1977: 95). All symbolic systems (including the systems of theorizing) owe their practical coherence to the fact that they are products of practices which cannot be performed unless they bring into play principles that can be immediately mastered. Bourdieu calls this theorem the ‘economy of practical logic’. All of the claims just mentioned demonstrate how true anti-essentialism and a trans-subjective view about practices complement each other. The approach adopted in this article is also trans-subjective and anti-essentialist. Yet it is not a sociological but a hermeneutic approach. At issue are not the generative prin- ciples, which as intrinsic to practices ensure (qua practical logic) the resilience of the social structures arising out of these practices. Practices will be discussed in the remain- der of the article with regard to their potentiality-for-being, i.e. their potentiality for articulating domains of meaningful objects. In line with this engagement the concepts


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of the horizon of possibilities and the hermeneutic fore-structure of a domain’s articula- tion occupy in my approach to practices a place similar to that of habitus in the socio- logical theory of practice. Theorizing practices from a radically anti-essentialist standpoint leads not to pragma- tism, instrumentalism, or conventionalism, but to a position that I should like to dub trans-subjective existentialism . The underlying formula of the latter can be expressed as eschewing the reification of holistic social entities and the hypostatization of social structures, while combating any kind of reductionist naturalism. At stake in this kind of existentialism are (individual or collective) choices of possibilities within a trans- subjective horizon of possibilities projected by an interrelatedness of practices. The horizon always already transcends that subjectivity (i.e. subjective mentality, cognitive attitudes, volitional dispositions, narratively organized memory, emotionality, etc.) which is liable to choices that are made or can be made. Trans-subjectivity connotes the transcendence of subjectivity which accompanies the individual choices within the collective appropriation of possibilities. 4 ‘Trans-subjective existentialism’ sounds like an oxymoron. To be sure, practice the- ory involves concepts that ‘sublate’ the concepts of the individual agent and individual choices. Practice theory is about a reality in which individual choices are ‘secondary’ and ‘derivable’. But this theory is not about something that determines these choices. Practice theory stresses that the choosing individuals are agents in a state of situated transcendence—they are constantly creating their situations by choosing and appropriat- ing possibilities that in their openness and inexhaustibility always transcend each situ- ated choice and appropriation. In laying emphasis on the figure of situated transcendence of agents-within-interrelated-practices, practice theory (tacitly or expli- citly) admits a ‘practical subject’ whose status is akin to the dual status of Heidegger’s Dasein. 5 Accordingly, practice theory reproduces in new conceptual frameworks figures of that existentialism which is peculiar to existential analytic. To sum up, there is no incompatibility (not to speak of contradiction) between prac- tice theory and existentialism since all individual choices (including the decisive choice that marks the transition from inauthentic to authentic existence) take place within prac- tices. Making individual choices within a trans-subjective horizon that transcends the individual subjectivity does not amount to presenting the choosing process as determined by a transcendent essence. Projection and appropriation of possibilities by practices are in a relation of mutual reinforcement on the level of trans-subjectivity. In the upcoming considerations I will develop this thesis in two steps, each of which is related to a par- ticular definition of configured practices. (Let me stress again that from the viewpoint of hermeneutic phenomenology the notion of ‘interrelated practices’ has priority over the notion of ‘practice’.) Definition I : A tendency to projection and appropriation of definite possibilities within a trans-subjective horizon of possibilities is a configuration of practices if the actualization of the appropriated possibilities leads to a temporal-spatial order of doings and sayings. With regard to the clusters of doings and sayings one can post hoc single out within this order, so there can be formulated empirically relevant criteria for distinguish- ing particular practices in the configuration. The underlying assumption is that every cluster represents a relatively autonomous practice.



The expression ‘tendency to projection and appropriation’ has the character of a tech- nical term in Definition I . The tendency is not a teleological chain of actualized possi- bilities. It refers to a regime of temporalization as it is informed by the way of choosing possibilities within a horizon that constantly transcends and situates the choos- ing agents. A tendency is an established regime of temporalization within routinely per- formed, interrelated practices. 6 Through the choice which is fore-structured by a projected horizon, one unveils the past (i.e., what has been with regard to the possibilities that can be appropriated) by means of opening the future, thereby making the present an actualized possibility. A regime of temporalization is the ongoing differentiation of temporal modes within interrelated practices that at once project and appropriate possibilities. 7 Put differently, a tendency is the ongoing fore-structuring of the practical being-in-the-world by the ‘potential future’ (the possibilities that are open to be appro- priated). On this reading, a tendency to projection and appropriation of possibilities is not a hidden (or transcendent) teleological essence of interrelated practices. It does not exter- nally and causally determine the choice since it comes into being through the choice. There is interpretative interplay between tendentious (temporalizing) fore-structuring of choices and actual individual choices. (I say ‘interpretative’ because the interplay takes on the form of an unfolding hermeneutic circle. The mutual interpretative depen- dence within this circle defines a characteristic hermeneutic situation of projection and appropriation of possibilities.) Against the background of this interplay, a tendency is the ongoing situated transcendence of agents-within-practices that differentiates past, pres- ent, and future. Thus considered, the tendency is an existential phenomenon that charac- terizes the constitution of meaning and the meaningful articulation of the world. Definition I does not appeal to the practices’ performers. It assumes that practices are collective accomplishments but not in the sense of being enacted and performed by orga- nized collectives entitled to execute them. Practices are collectively shared because the trans-subjective projection and appropriation of possibilities constantly constitute more or less sustainable collectives whose tendencies of choosing bring practices to the fore. Collectives are entities constituted within-the-world-of-possibilities. They are not creators and designers of practices. A practice comes to the fore—so the argument of trans- subjective existentialism goes—only by means of choices that are shared within a trans- subjective horizon. The latter, however, is projected not by practitioners’ ‘collective men- tality’ but by that interrelatedness of practices in which the particular practice is involved. By implication, shared practices cannot be accounted for simply in terms of ‘the accomplishments of competent members of collectives’ (Barnes, 2001: 32). Trans- subjective existentialism is a conception that overcomes social theory’s dilemma whose horns are the hyperbole of the individual choices and the strong determination of these choices which makes the social actors ‘judgmental dopes’ (to use Harold Garfinkel’s celebrated expression arising from his criticism of conventional sociology). The social actors are neither determined by structures and norms, nor are they absolutely free. They are choosing actors within the horizons of possibilities that are ‘always already’ pro- jected by changing configurations of practices in which the actors are ‘thrown’ and implicated. A preliminary rationale for Definition I is provided by examples of horizons that are primarily related only to practices whose performances are not accomplished by clearly


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delineated ‘collective subjects’. Among these examples are the horizon of a cultural milieu embracing heterogeneous agencies, the horizon of a big city’s everydayness, the horizon of a large-scale historical situation (as described in historical anthropology or by Annales School of historiography), and the horizon of a region distinguished by a char- acteristic type of culture but with loosely defined (geographical, political and adminis- trative) borders. By contrast, the horizon of a tradition as an evolving collective form of life, the horizon of a spatially located professional everydayness, or the horizons of prac- tices performed by various types of (formal and non-formal) social networks are exam- ples of horizons in which the ‘collective subject’ is clearly identifiable. In the former series of examples, the projection and the appropriation of horizons of possibilities entail the figure of a heterogeneous trans-subjectivity as contrasted to the homogeneous trans- subjectivity exemplified by the second series. Yet the identification of a ‘collective sub- ject’ is not tantamount to a (sociological) identification (i.e., identification by means of standard sociological criteria) of a concrete collective. However strong the degree of homogeneity could be, trans-subjectivity resists procedural recognition through such cri- teria. Regardless of whether it is homogeneous or heterogeneous, trans-subjectivity is not a sociological but an ontological characteristic of the ways in which possibilities are projected and appropriated. The ‘collective subjects’ as synonymous with homogeneous trans-subjectivity are also to be identified with regard to the possibilities they appropriate and not with the social structures in which they reside. Accordingly, trans-subjectivity may or may not refer to ‘collective subjects’. But trans-subjectivity is by all means irre- ducible to the inter-subjectivity of the concrete (empirically identified) collectives. At the same time, the projection of a trans-subjective horizon of possibilities is a necessary condition for the formation of a network of inter-subjective relations that takes on the form of an organized collective distinguished usually by rules, role allocations, schemes of interaction, patterns of power distribution and the rest of the inter-subjective compo- nents studied by theoretical sociology and social psychology. Definition II : A configuration of practices is the minimal (temporalized) site within the world (as a transcending horizon of all modes of existence) where the constellation of interpretative understanding, attunement (state-of-mind) and discourse takes place. (I will later discuss the notion of a ‘temporalized site’. For the moment, let me only note that the latter results from an elaboration on the notion of a ‘tendency of projection and appropriation of possibilities’ from Definition I .) The new definition can stand as an epigraph for the approach I am advocating. Following the tenets of a version of the existential analytic, identifying such a constellation amounts to identifying a mode of being-in-the-world. Thus defined, practice can be conceived of as a unit. Yet it is not an independent and discrete unit. A particular practice is always circumscribed within a configuration of interrelated practices. This is a further specification of the argument for the claim that a particular practice is always (ontologically) secondary with regard to the primacy of the interrelatedness of practices. A particular configuration of practices (say, the configuration of experimental, instrumental, and formal-theoretical practices in a situation of normal scientific research) in its turn is only a moment of the continuous stream of changing configurations taking place within a mode of being-in-the-world. Nonetheless, practice should be conceived of as a (non-discrete) unit of an integral hermeneutic circle that temporalizes a practical mode of being-in-the-world. 8



Trans-subjective existentialism and the ontological concept of the chronotope

To introduce a further methodological tenet of trans-subjective existentialism, I have to explicate my ambivalent attitude towards the influential and highly elaborated practice theory of Theodore Schatzki. The way in which Schatzki sets the agenda by outlining a practice-theoretical ontology is impressive. The inventive development of a new orien- tation to established problems and topics in the social sciences is hardly to be underes- timated. Placing emphasis on the nexus between site as practices’ spatiality and situated accomplishments of practitioners, Schatzki manages to emancipate practice theory from several other approaches to social theory. Now, my unease with his theory is elicited by the idea of discreteness that underlies the theory. When Schatzki raises the claim that practices are organized open sets of doings and sayings, he admits that practices com- prise discursive and non-discursive acts (or, ‘bundled activities’). The point in this for- mulation is that practices comprise something, and hence, they have spatial borders. Each particular practice is accordingly localizable and separable. Because he is con- cerned with the physical-spatial identification of practices, Schatzki is compelled to treat the doings and sayings (as practices’ components) in terms of bodily actions that people directly perform. Practices are delineated social entities, each of them representing a spa-

tially organized nexus of actions. Practices are ‘integral blocks’ (Schatzki, 2002: 71). In delineating practices in this way, his primary intention is to stress a thematic rationale for

a theoretical approach that operationally can compose and decompose the contents

attributed to the concepts of practices, arrangements of practices and orders. Formally seen, the purview of practice theory is circumscribed by possible operations defined in sets of discrete elements. 9 There is a kind of (in my words) ‘hidden principle of concatenation’ that governs the construction of practice theory. The way of making sense of practices from a theoretical viewpoint looks like an algorithmic concatenation of classes of discrete elements. (Not by accident the frequent use of metaphors such as assemblages, aggregated doings, bun-

dles, nets, and confederations is typical of Schatzki’s language.) At each stage of conca- tenation one confronts an emerging discrete object (in the reality of practices) whose explanation compels one to add a new class of discrete entities. (Of course, the number

of stages is final, and accordingly, one admits that there is an ultimate stage at which one

gets presumably a semantically complete theory of practices.) Examples of emerging objects are integral activity bundles, practical understandings, practical intelligibility, rules regulating arrangements, rules determining the course of actions involved in prac- tices, and teleo-affective structures (organized sets of ends, projects and affectivities unevenly incorporated in practitioners’ mentality and emotional attitudes). 10

One should not overlook, however, that the principle of concatenation of discrete units operates within a world that is understood and interpreted, i.e. a world projected upon possibilities whose ongoing appropriation articulates what is within-the-world. The mutual reinforcement of projection and appropriation is a continuity that temporalizes (i.e., serves the function of a horizon of temporalizing) all doings and sayings within-the-world. A practice theory has to give an account of how the continuity of practices’ stream is (under de finite circumstances) transformed (without ceasing to


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be a horizonal-temporalizing continuity) int o empirically identifia ble, spatially loca- lizable and separable practices (where for each of them at any moment a clear differ- entiation of past, present and fu ture is possible). Yet by addre ssing this transformation, one obligatorily integrates ontological dif ference in the structure of practice theory. The phenomenological analysis of continuity (not as a thematically objectifiable pro- cess of becoming, but as horizon), which demands for its accomplishment the ontolo- gical difference, is the missing aspect in Sc hatzki’s version of practice theory. Since practice theory cannot escape the task of ha ndling the problematic of meaning consti- tution—so the argument goes—it has to adopt a phenomenological framework to address this problematic. It is the integratio n of the ontological difference in practice theory that harmonizes the interplay of empirical (ontic) and phenomenological (onto- logical) dimensions in theory’s structure. In my view, these are dimensions that com- plement each other and not subord inated levels of theorizing. Now, the transcendence of the world is what makes the varying configurations of practices a ‘battery’ of a continuous constitution of meaning. In the perspective of trans-subjective existentialism, the continuous constitution of meaning is the practical- meaningful articulation of what is ready to hand within the world. By taking the transcendence of the world into consideration, one displaces the idea of discreteness in a twofold manner. First, one affirms that each web of meanings enclosed in a local space belongs to the world’s universal web of meanings which is always in a state of ongoing formation. (It should be emphasized, however, that the universality of the world’s web of meanings, or the ‘totality of significance’ in Heidegger’s sense, is to be understood as a horizonal potentiality and not as a thematic givenness [ Gegebenheit ].) Second, one comes to the conclusion that the semantic definiteness and determinacy (regardless of how strongly it is codified with regard to a class of rules of semantic inter- pretation) is indispensably subordinated to the hermeneutic-horizonal openness of the world of practical existence. The world does not transcend in an invariant fashion for- ever. In each particular setting, situation, context, configuration, the world transcends in a specific manner by disclosing an open horizon of possibilities. The leeway of the possibilities that can be appropriated in this context (setting, configuration) is finite, but the process is infinite. This is why the horizon is at once distinguished by situational- contextual finitude and inexhaustibleness (infinity). By implication, the involvement of the transcendence of the world in the construction of the ‘ontology of situated trans- cendence’ requires a clear demarcation between semantic and hermeneutic interpretation to be drawn. Furthermore, the only way of addressing the duality of the world (as a horizon-transcendence and a multiplicity of practical contexts) is through ‘entering’ the hermeneutic circularity of the world’s interpretative articulation. Despite this criticism, however, in an important respect I am following Schatzki’s lead. In unveiling the reification (of either abstract or nominalist entities) as the same mistake which holistic and individualist approaches to social theory commit, Schatzki adumbrates a kind of site ontology of practices whose spirit I completely adhere to. In social theory, a rationale for a commitment to site ontology is the observation that prac- tices (being always contextualized) constitute the site of the social. Thus, the social is always identified with some site. Schatzki is throughout correct in arguing that the notion of site has no place in the individualist and holistic ontologies of the social. At issue in



site ontologies is the sense of ‘embedded situatedness’ articulated in the notion of spati- ality. Treating practices as situated integral nexuses of activity helps one to forge a sce- nario to avoid the mistake of reification. Only by depriving activity of its situatedness (and intrinsic temporality/spatiality), can one reify it. The structuralist formal codifica- tion of mental structures that supposedly govern types of social activity is a case in point. Site is the situatedness of practices in the process of their reproduction that involves rear- rangements of practices’ components. Put more concretely, site (typically exemplified by Bourdieu’s ‘practice-field com- pound’) is situatedness that enacts such a reproduction. As a corollary, site is the contex- tually situated reproduction of practices, where practices’ identities are inherent in that reproduction, and are not externally imposed by practitioners. 11 The concept of site also connotes the peculiar spatiality constituted by practices operating in concert. (This is a ‘dynamic spatiality’ in the sense that practices ‘make room’ for social entities by entan- gling them with a regime of temporalizing of spatial relations.) Roughly, the task of site ontology is to approach the social as being constituted by the unity of practices’ contex- tual situatedness and practices’ creation of spatiality. Schatzki tends to the view that con- textualized practices are a ‘clearing’ or ‘disclosing’ (in Heideggerian sense) spaces (local structures of existential spatiality) in which the social exists. Scrutinizing disclosed spaces in terms of site ontology lays bare at the same time individual forms of life that ‘hang together through intentional relations, chains of action, and the interpersonal struc- turing of mentality and practical intelligibility, as well as through layouts of, events occurring in, and connections among the components of material setting.’ (Schatzki, 2002: 149). The situated production of meaning is another dimension of site ontology. All kinds of site ontology are in need of a ‘spatial definition’ of the world that relates (existential) spatiality (as being temporalized) to the ongoing practical constitution of meaning. Schatzki, like Hubert Dreyfus and many others, borrows such a definition from the exis- tential analytic. It can be formulated as follows: the world is disclosed by each assem- blage of practices (including the totality of these assemblages) that creates space in which a relatively self-contained web of meanings produced by these practices takes place. Site is something like the spatial unit of meaning constitution. At this point I am again in a significant disagreement with Schatzki’s proposal for how the concept of site as situated constitution of meaning is to be read off. To set the scene, note that in his definition of the world the term ‘space’ is closely related to the figure of ‘semantic space’ and a forteriori again to the idea of discreteness. 12 The dubious moment in the definition is the obscure expression of ‘relatively self-contained web’. If the web of meanings produced by an organized set of practices is only relatively enclosed, then obviously it is related somehow to something that is beyond it. More specifically, the web is open to what transcends it. The ‘something that is beyond’ remains unspecified in the definition being cited. The deficiency is informed by the strong commitment to the idea that meaning is produced contextually and locally, thereby is ‘enveloped’ by partic- ular assemblages of practices. The concept of site suffers again from being tied to the paradigm of discreteness. Doubtless, the world (as circumscribed in terms of site ontology of the social) is a multiplicity (or a manifold) of relatively enclosed configurations of practices, each of


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which is characterized by its own local spatiality. Yet the world is first and foremost an ‘inexhaustible’ horizon of practical (‘concernful’) constitution of meanings that trans- cends ‘always already’ each and every spatially organized assemblage of practices. This is why any particular assemblage produces only a ‘relatively self-contained web of meanings’. The web’s partial seclusion is relative to the transcendence of the world which Schatzki’s site ontology simply does not take into account. The figure of contex- tual situatedness presupposes the figure of situated transcendence. Site is a located constitution of meaning that is characterized by a regime of tempor-

alization (Zeitigung der Zeitlichkeit ). Speaking in terms of the existential analytic, site is

a spatial multiplicity of places . Place is the spatial characteristic of a tool-entity that is ready to hand. Thus considered, the multiplicity of places is the spatiality of a certain ‘context of equipment’ ( Zeugzusammenhang ) within the world. One can admit (as a kind of convention) that each practice is distinguished by a multiplicity of places, and for that reason, it is spatially contextualized. Though Schatzki does not deny that there is a con- stant re-contextualization of practices (and consequently, a constant ‘interference’ and co-penetration of contexts of equipment) within the world, this observation does not play

a significant role in his theory. Yet the site (as situated reproduction of practices that

brings into being a web of meanings) exists only in this interference that constantly dis- seminates the meanings produced within the relatively enclosed multiplicity of practices. The interference of contexts does not destroy or dissolve the site. Rather, it makes the site interconnected with potentially infinite (and constantly proliferating) world-sites. (Due to the re-contextualization, the meanings produced in a certain site by a multiplicity of practices become immediately dispersed/disseminated in other multiplicities of prac- tices.) The contextual situatedness of a multiplicity of interrelated practices has (qua the spatiality of a relatively enclosed web of meaning) a relative autonomy within the con- tinuous re-contextualization of practices. To this autonomy belongs also a multiplicity’s characteristic regime of temporalization which takes place, however, within the world’s horizon of temporality. Each particular multiplicity of practices is temporalized due to the world’s transcen- dence. Being temporalized within-the-world, site is neither a discrete location nor an enclosed space. The interference of spatial contexts of equipment which brings the ongoing re-contextualization of practices into play is the spatial counterpart of the con- stant ‘temporalizing of temporality’ (whose outcomes are the relatively autonomous regimes of temporalization). Site as considered with regard to the figure of situated trans- cendence is inevitably temporalized. The world is not a ‘container of sites’. Though Schatzki’s theory would not approve a view of the world as a manifold of sites, this the- ory has no resources to reject argumentatively such a view. By the same token, it does not offer good arguments for the claim that sites are a characteristic disclosure of the world through changing configurations of interrelated practices. As a corollary to this claim, the world-as-transcendence is potentially infinite hermeneutic situations of spatial-temporal disclosure of the world. In each of these situations a form of practical life projects and appropriates possibilities. Against the background of the foregoing considerations, my point is that the site ontology of practices has to work with the concept of a temporalized site or, more pre- cisely, with the concept of (what Mikhail Bakhtin calls) the chronotope . In this regard,



one should also distinguish between site ontologies of actuality (actually given discrete units) and site ontologies of potentiality that employ a kind of ontological difference. 13 To reiterate an argument already discussed, since situatedness and transcendence are existentially (not only ‘equiprimordial’ but also) correlative, the image of site (spatiality disclosed by social practices) as intrinsically tied to discreteness is wrong. Site as not being detached (1) from the stream of meaning constitution, which temporalizes all doings and sayings within-the-world, and (2) from the ongoing re-contextualization of practices is a chronotope. In literary criticism, the chronotope is spatial-temporal plotting (emplotment), and consequently, it is, in Bakhtin’s words, ‘a formally constitutive cate- gory of literature’ that reveals the ‘intrinsic connectedness of temporal and spatial rela- tionships’ (1981: 84–91). 14 Yet even in this discipline one assumes that the concept of the chronotope is relevant not only to the fictional narration. The basis for a non- fictional extension of the concept is provided by Bakhtin’s claim that ‘every entry into the sphere of meaning is accomplished only through the gates of the chronotope’ (1981:

258). The chronotope is first and foremost a discursive-practical phenomenon that reflects and expresses the pre-narrativity of existence. 15 To use a distinction spelled out by the School of Russian Formalism, the chronotope belongs not only to the sphere of syuzhet ’ but to the sphere of ‘fabula’ as well, whereby fabula actively participates in the construction of the syuzhet . (On this reading, the fabula is not the raw material of

a story, but the pre-narrative fore-structuring of a constructed narrative with a temporal

plot. Accordingly, fabula and syuzhet are involved in a joint horizon of temporalizing.) Now, for the purposes of the present article, the concept of the chronotope should be brought into accord with the tenets of trans-subjective existentialism. Site is a spatial- temporal context whose inhabitants are inherently part of it. They (not permanently but quite often) face the need to make a decisive choice of one possibility among alternative possibilities that can be appropriated in a given situation . 16 (By definition, a decisive

choice is the one in which the multiplicity of practices that constitute a site becomes rear- ranged. For instance, the decisive choice in favor of a new reading of tenacious anoma- lies in experimental results, i.e. a reading of results that look anomalous because they do not agree with the established horizon of expectation, leads to the overall rearrangement of those practices of doing research which constitute the site of a scientific domain.) The chronotopic structure of site is disclosed at the moments of such a choice. Put differently,

it is the situation of decisive choice of possibilities that discloses site as a chronotope.

What is at issue in this disclosing is first and foremost the way in which the practitioners

construct their (collective) identity as inhabitants of a particular site. In this regard, a site

is a chronotope of decisive collective emancipation from what does not belong (persons,

groups, contexts, artifacts, practices, policies, arrangements, orders, plans, normativity,

intentions, feelings, attitudes, etc.) to that site. The use of the term ‘emancipation’ in this formulation is not to be confused with the use of the same term in those kinds of social (and critical) theory which are after an uni- versal liberation from the anonymous dictate of instrumental and strategic rationality. As

a rule, the appeal to the universal liberation is in the name of a united life-world whose

own rationality is supposedly oppressed by that dictate. Accordingly, all cultural life- forms are to be embraced by the horizon of the united life-world whose idealized norma- tivity of social integration is presumably counterfactual to all culturally contingent


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configurations of norms. (This is why the idealized normativity can serve as a regulative ideal in a Kantian sense.) As a consequence, a progressive unification of the cultural life- forms’ chronotopes should take place. This is an unavoidable consequence within the framework of, for instance, the social theory based on the tenets of universal pragmatics. My talk of a ‘collective emancipation’ is to be understood as the attainment of a chron- otopic autonomy of a cultural life-form shared by a group/collective. This understanding underscores, first, the uniqueness of each particular cultural life-form, and second, the non-integrability of the cultural life-forms in a united life-world (or, from another per- spective which takes into account the multitude of cultural life-forms in a multicultural state, their non-integrability in a civil society guided by unified system of political values and norms). The chronotope is the interconnectedness of temporality and spatiality of a collective emancipation (e.g. the emancipation of an artistic group committed to a new manifesto and style, a scientific team committed to a new research paradigm, a religious minority creating through a new exegesis of sacral texts and new ritual practices its own public sphere that cannot be assimilated by the ‘official’ sphere of public life, and so on). In a situation of decisive choice the emancipatory process defines its own regime of tem- poralizing (i.e. the way of differentiating between the future as projected possibilities that are to be appropriated for the sake of emancipation, the moment of the present as the Augenblick in which the state of emancipation is envisaged in a proper manner, and the relevant past as those possibilities already actualized which serve the emancipatory process). Alongside the regime of temporalizing, a collective existence’s specific spati- ality (i.e. a collective ‘making room’ for a particular cultural life-form) begins to take shape. This is why a theory of existential spatiality (as complementing a theory of exis- tential temporality) is a part of (the ontology pertinent to) the hermeneutic theory of practices.

Why hermeneutic realism about practices?

Let me in conclusion address the issue of why the view of trans-subjective existentialism implies a kind of hermeneutic realism about social practices. To begin with, a thesis already discussed provides the key to the explication of the view of hermeneutic realism:

the world of practices has the potentiality-for-being through its openness towards possi- bilities. By implication, the world always is disclosed (as the reality of multiplicities of practices) in a hermeneutic situation of projection and appropriation of possibilities. The hermeneutic situation becomes specified as a characteristic hermeneutic situation by virtue of the decisive choice of possibilities. Important from the viewpoint of trans- subjective existentialism is not only the exceptionality of the decisive choice but also the way in which the re-contextualized practices which possibly form a new site become routinized. All novelties informed by the decisive choice are doomed to be situated in an ‘average everydayness’. Soon or later the characteristic hermeneutic situation leads to a collective form of life governed by new trans-subjective ‘They’ in Heidegger’s sense. The reality of social practices is revealed not as a-temporal presence. It is a reality that is always disclosed within a characteristic hermeneutic situation that by circumscrib- ing the fore-having, the fore-sight, and the fore-conception of a tendency of choosing



possibilities brings into being a definite regime of social practices’ situated temporaliza- tion. Within this regime, the present is a function of a ‘constructive future’ (appropriated possibilities) and a past that is always in statu nascendi (a past that is disclosed with regard to the actualized possibilities). The reality of social practices is in a state of con- stant temporalization as informed by characteristic hermeneutic situations. Hermeneutic realism is a view that in many respects is the counterpart of the concep- tion of situated transcendence. On this view, if the reality were to be ‘out there’, ready to be represented by the human mind, then the human mind would be something outside the reality. Hermeneutic realism takes the reality to be the totality of being-in-the-world in which the mental faculties of the humans (the human mind) are ecstatically united with the world’s contextual entities. Mental capacities are not only an integral part of the real- ity. They are always organized and working as particular cognitive practices (such as practices of perception, recollection, imagination, narration, cognition, and so on). Thus considered, all practices of gaining knowledge are contextually situated. These practices (or, their particular configurations in which by all means also non-cognitive practices are included) take place in a certain chronotope. Like all other kinds of practices, the cog- nitive practices disclose the reality in characteristic hermeneutic situations that belong to the reality. 17 Being contextually situated, practices are inherently ‘accountable’ for their character- istic situation and the site in which their particular interrelatedness takes place. 18 There- fore, the multiplicity of interrelated practices is distinguished by reflexivity. What is articulated within the multiplicity of practices is a meaningful-reflexive reality. The dee- pest meaning of the concept of reflexivity consists in the ontological thesis that disclos- ing reality is a moment of the reality itself. Of course, not the reality in toto but a site (the chronotope) is always disclosed in a characteristic hermeneutic situation. The site’s inha- bitants (the participants who share a multiplicity of practices) ‘gain access’ to reality through the presuppositions of fore-having, fore-seeing, and fore-grasping that are impli- cated in their practices. The reality disclosed within a characteristic hermeneutic situation has nothing to do with the reality to which the doctrine of internal realism subscribes. The claim that there is no reality that is independent of any hermeneutic situation does not amount to holding that the structure of the world is ontologically dependent on the human mind. The her- meneutic situation is an event that belongs to the ‘thrown projection’ of existence and the world’s transcendence. It is an ontological and not an epistemological (related to the implementation of a conceptual scheme) event. On hermeneutic realism, the meaningful reality disclosed in a characteristic hermeneutic situation is not the upshot of ‘loading’ a pre-practical (and non-contextualized) reality with meaning. Such a (neo-Kantian) view wrongly assumes that the constitution of meaning transforms a ‘reality in itself’ into a meaningful reality. There is no reality that ‘precedes’ the reality of being-in-the-world practically.


1. By the expression ‘essentialist theories of practices’, I mean two principal types of theories:

(1) theories that admit an initial presence at hand (something like the objective reality of practices) whose conceptualization starts with sorting out the primitive terms (in the


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logical-epistemological sense) of theorizing; and (2) theories that by virtue of their intrinsic logic of constituting objects of inquiry hypostatize what is objectified as invariant entities.

2. For a reading of the existential-analytic concept of understanding as unarticulated competence that makes it possible to follow rules, see Rouse (2007: 642). Such a reading transforms the hermeneutic-ontological nexus of understanding and interpretation into a kind of proto- epistemological relation.

3. On the view of understanding as the ability to learn practices that is ‘set in the stream of beha- vior’, see Taylor (1985: 26).

4. The integration of the figure of the transcendence of subjectivity in the theory of practices helps one to undo any kind of transcendental subjectivity as a requisite for (the analysis of) the constitution of meaning.

5. Notoriously, Heidegger opposes any reduction of Dasein either to individuality or to a kind of sociality. Yet Dasein as portrayed in Being and Time is by no means a hybrid between indivi- duality and sociality. It is a subjective self-constitution that projects its existence upon possi- bilities. With regard to trans-subjectivity’s inherence to Dasein, Heidegger draws the conclusion that being-alone is a deficient mode of being-with, a mode that continues to be involved in trans-subjective practices. Dasein is the ecstatic unity (in the sense of Being and Time ) of subjectivity (it ‘is in each case I myself’) and trans-subjectivity (of linguistic medium, cultural milieu, traditions, institutions, communities, etc.) that transcends the ‘self’ in a way that makes it a ‘situated self’ (or, ‘culturally embodied self’).

6. The technical term that Heidegger uses for practices in Being and Time is ‘concernful dealings within-the-world’.

7. ‘Regime of temporalization within practices’ is the practice-theoretical counterpart of what Heidegger calls ‘the temporalizing of temporality’.

8. To stress again, this is a bit paradoxical formulation. On the one hand, a practice is a location

(something static) and a unit (something discrete). On the other hand, a practice is not an inde- pendent entity since it is ineluctably involved in a hermeneutic circle set up by the configuration of practices to which it belongs. Being involved in such a circle, a practice is neither static nor discrete. Yet it is still a location and a unit. The way out of this paradox is by conferring a ‘chron- otopic meaning’ to the notions of location and unit—a step I will undertake in a moment.

9. Schatzki suggests a plan for constructing practice theory that is, as it were, built on a quasi- model of discrete mathematics in a double sense. First, the theory deals with sets of discrete entities (like actions, groups, constellations of doings, scattered practices, organized practices, orders, sets of localized practices, etc.) that are structured in accordance with the operations one can define on the sets’ elements. Second, only countable sets of such entities belong to the purview of research delineated by the theory of practices. That the strong emphasis on dis- creteness may threaten practice theory with an undesired exclusion of interesting phenomena from its purview makes several theorists cautious about the paradigm of discreteness. In Bour- dieu’s theory, for instance, the threat of hypostatizing a discrete world of practices’ units is removed by elaborating on the constant interplay between the product of practices ( opus oper- atum) and practical mastery ( modus operandi). To the question of what is wrong with the methodological paradigm of discreteness, the answer straightaway is that the paradigm implies an objectivist view of practices’ pure spatial presence.

10. It is not to be denied that Schatzki very often insists on the ‘endless becoming’ of the sites at which organized practices and orders are constituted. In various methodological contexts he



makes the case that becoming (and not being as abidingness) is the constitutive feature of social life. In placing emphasis on becoming, however, he does not break with the paradigm of discreteness. Becoming is a movement within a world divided into discrete units that are present at hand. Becoming is a reordering of arrangements. Depending on whether this reor- dering is an intentional or unintentional process, becoming is either a reorganization of rules and teleoaffective structures or a recomposition of practices and shifts in their practical under- standings (see Schatzki, 2002: 241). From the phenomenological point of view which I adopt in this article, continuity is to be ascribed in the first place to the horizon’s transcendence that makes possible the ongoing constitution of meaning. It is this continuity that is the opposite of the epistemic/semantic discreteness which results from objectification. This rendering of con- tinuity is to be strongly distinguished from the way of treating continuity on a par with stability and as opposed to change. In the latter case, continuity belongs not to the world-as- transcendence but to the world that is already objectified.

11. The external imposition of such identities leads to the formation of patterns as a-temporalized, normative models of social behavior. A prerequisite for having such an imposition is the trans- formation of practitioners’ intrinsic reflexivity into external attitudes toward the performances of practices. This transformation comes into play, in particular, via narrating these perfor- mances. Though narrating is by itself no objectification of practices, it creates a medium in which the practitioners are enabled to take a distance from their embeddedness in practices. Repeatable narration of practices’ performances in social communication leads to stylizing them in normative patterns. The classic versions of social theory (but also the traditional the- ories in cultural anthropology and several other social disciplines) take for granted the exis- tence of normative patterns. Accordingly, they refrain from scrutinizing the pre-normative genesis of normative patterns.

12. Building on Charles Taylor’s theory of interpretation in the human sciences, Schatzki uses the concept of semantic space in a manner that allows him to draw a strong parallel between the spatial units of the social and the discrete units of meaning as related to the different fields of practices’ arrangements. More generally, the notion of meaning Taylor and Schatzki refer to is a notion of semantic meaning that is alien to the meaning arising out of interpretative circu- larity (the hermeneutic meaning).

13. The former place emphasis exclusively on the contextual spatiality, thereby ignoring the issues of contextual temporality.

14. Bakhtin holds that the chronotope stands for the fusion of spatial and temporal indicators into a ‘concrete whole’. Furthermore, he points out that this is not a static fusion but rather an ongoing spatialization of time (whereby time ‘takes on flesh’) and the temporalization of space that is responsive to plot’s narrative time. Of course, Bakhtin confines his considerations to ‘the literary artistic chronotope’ and ‘the fictional world of chronotope’. Yet his notion is spelled out along the lines of a kind of site ontology. More specifically, this is an ontology of the narrative-generic configurations which (not as discrete structures but in their continuous variability) underlie human action. (This is why several students in literary criticism admit that any typology of chronotopes as clearly delineated structures would be a futile enterprise since there is a whole spectrum of possibilities and variations.)

15. On the concept of pre-narrativity, see Meuter (1994).


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situation. In this connection, he distinguishes between Lage and Situation. The former desig- nates the usual surrounding of circumstances which does not define a specific site of existence. Differentia specifica of situation is the nexus of decisive choice and the specification of a site of existence. See Bollnow (2011: 28–32).

17. See, for arguments of this claim, Ginev (2011).

18. This formulation assumes the ethnomethodological way of equalizing accountability with reflexivity: practices are reflexively accountable achievements. More specifically, the accountability of practices is the ‘primary evidence’ of their reflexivity.


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Bollnow O F (2011) Neue Geborgenheit: Das Problem einer Uberwindung des Existentialismus ( Schriften vol. V). Wu¨ rzburg: Ko¨nigshausen & Neumann. Bourdieu P (1977) Outline of a Theory of Practice . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ginev D (2011) The Tenets of Cognitive Existentialism . Athens: Ohio University Press. Halbwachs M (1992) On Collective Memory . Coser LA (ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Meuter N (1994) Pra¨-Narrativita¨t: ein Organisationsprinzip unseres Handelns. Studia Culturolo- gica 3: 119–40. Reckwitz A (2002) Toward a theory of social practices: a development in culturalist theorizing. European Journal of Social Theory 5: 243–63. Rouse J (2007) Practice theory. In: Turner S and Risjord M (eds), Handbook of the Philosophy of Science , vol. 15. Dordrecht: Elsevier. Schatzki T (2002) The Site of the Social: A Philosophical Account of the Constitution of Social Life and Change. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. Taylor C (1985) Interpretation and the sciences of man. In: Taylor C Philosophical Papers 2. Cam- bridge: Cambridge University Press. Turner S (1994) The Social Theory of Practices. Tradition, Tacit Knowledge and Presuppositions . Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Turner S (2001) Throwing out the tacit rule book: learning and practices. In: Schatzki T, Knorr- Cetina K and von Savigny E (eds) The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory . London:


Author biography

Dimitri Ginev taught Continental Philosophy of Science at the Western Kentucky University and History of Modern Hermeneutics at Sofia University. He was a Fellow of the Center for Philo- sophy of Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, and a Senior Fellow at the Zukunftskolleg of the University of Konstanz. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of the international journal Studia Culturologica . Among his books are The Context of Constitution (Boston/Dordrecht, 2006), Transformationen der Hermeneutik (Wu¨ rzburg 2008), Das hermeneutische Projekt Georg Mischs (Vienna, 2011), and The Tenets of Cognitive Existentialism (Athens, O, 2011).