Re: [xmca] Schatzki

From: Mike Cole <lchcmike who-is-at>
Date: Sun Aug 12 2007 - 08:10:26 PDT

Hi Branimara-- It will take a while to get the book through interlibrary
loan. Meantime, I found an article on google that
both illustrates the distinction between dispersed and integrative practices
and does so in a domain that intersects a previous
discussion on gaming.

The article is to be found at
It is titled "Game pleasures and media practices"

Here is a relevant paragraph:

Schatzki defines "practice" as an array of interwoven actions which include
some kind of specialized understanding, explicit rules and teleoaffective
structures. He also distinguishes between "integrative" practices, such as
farming, cooking or business, that are clearly delimited and integrated in
the social order, and "dispersed practices" like following rules, explaining
or imagining (1996:91-92). From this perspective, "games" are "integrative"
practices and, as other kind of games, video games consumption is related to
leisure practices. Their place in the social hierarchy seems to be lower
than other more "serious" ones, but as Warde argues, from a consumption
perspective, no matter where a practice fits in a hierarchy of social
prestige, there are internal goals to be derived from it for individual
practitioners (2005:135). So, videogames, as games in general, are socially
evaluated as non productive, notwithstanding the amount of money and
enterprises they mobilize. And even though its practitioners are engaged
into two fundamental social practices: First, they are constructing
communities through play, with internal goals and identity values. And
secondly, they have a role in the social production and reproduction of
symbolic worlds. As Mihai Coman has stated for mass media (2006:19), they
are not a simple channel through which cultural symbols circulate, they are
part of the very cultural system. Videogames, as traditional games, are
cultural forms that generate our sense of what is reality and what is
fiction. They are at the centre of the social construction of what is real
and non-real.

Sticking to your question about CHAT and Practice:

My first thoughts on reading this go back to an examination of the relations
between such concepts as activity, practice, situation, ..... that overlap
in many ways..... a brief version of which can be found in my book, Cultural
Psychology." I did not reach in firm conclusion about the various
relationships among these terms, but noted that they all posit a unit of
analysis that is "supra" to the individual. For
Yrjo Engestrom this unit of analysis is Activity, for Jim Wertsch it is
"mediation action in context" to which Yrjo responds that the activity is
the context. and so on.

Like many of the terms we struggle with in trying to think about culturally
mediated human experience, practice is wildly polysemic, a fact that is well
illustrated by the usages above. Questioning, explaining, imagining can be
aspects of many different activities (integrative practices in Schatski's
terms. There is explaining when you come home late for dinner, explaining
when you are
under indictment in court, imagining when you are playing a video game or
thinking about your next trip to the mountains.

Maybe Schatzki's way of thinking about all of this provides advantages we
should be taking advantage of. But at the same time, what does it deprive us

Perhaps others better versed in this topic can enlighten us. There are a
couple of Schatzki books that I want to read including the one edited with
Knorr-Cetina, where Lynch talks about practice
and ethnomethodology. In my spare time!! :-)

Thanks for pointing this out. I hope others can help us along with the
questions raised.


On 8/12/07, Branimira Slavova <> wrote:
> Hello Mike,
> Thanks for your interest!
> The Schatzki book I've been reading is: "Social Practices: A
> Wittgensteinian Approach to Human Activity and the Social" (Cambridge
> University Press, 1996). A copy of it should not be too hard to get. He
> discusses the ideas of dipersed practices and interative practices in Ch. 3.
> After reading it I thought that integrative practices parallel quite closely
> activities as understood in AT but I could not find a parallel for the
> concept of dispersed practices. The way I understood those is as a sort of
> modular sayings and doings, which can occur within the context of different
> integrative practices and hold different meanings. For example, questioning
> can be thought of as a dispersed practice because it does not carry its own
> rules or teleoaffective structure. These are provided by the different
> integrative practices within which questioning occurs -- practices as
> different as interrogating and teaching.
> What I am interested is being able to discuss within an AT framework
> elements consistent with Schatzki's dispersed practices. I am working on a
> project studying the use of mobile technologies for information-seeking
> during routine policing activities in the UK. I am looking at a number of
> activities such as traffic stops and emergency response to incidents. AT is
> our set framework and I would find being able to discuss information-seeking
> episodes occuring within the different activities very useful. I just don't
> know if AT carries something of its own which can do the job.
> Regards,
> Mira
> Dr Mira Slavova
> Research Fellow in Information Management
> Maurice Keyworth Building
> The University of Leeds
> Leeds LS2 9JT
> Tel: 0113 343 7818
> -----Original Message-----
> From: on behalf of Mike Cole
> Sent: Sun 8/12/2007 00:41
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [xmca] Schatzki
> I should have know to look on google and depend upon the library of the
> university of california!
> Lots of info there.
> homepage
> mike
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
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Received on Sun Aug 12 08:11 PDT 2007

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