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Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management, Second Edition by MARJORIE A. LYLES, MARK EASTERBY-SMITH

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The Grounding of the ‘Practice-based Studies’ Label

The concept of practice has manifold sociological roots. Implicit reference to one or another of them brings out a different phenomenon of practice, so that the same term is used to shed light on different aspects. At the cost of excessive simplification, and referring the reader for more detailed treatment to Gherardi (2006, 2008), the main sociological theorizations of the concept of practice consist in phenomenological sociology (Schutz, 1962), symbolic interactionism (Mead, 1934; Strauss, 1991), ethnomethodology (Garfinkel, 1967), social praxeology (Bourdieu, 1972), and the theory of structuration (Giddens, 1984).

The phenomenological tradition in sociology concerns itself with the intersubjective production of sense and meaning through interaction and assembled knowledge. The world of everyday life is a province of meaning dominated and structured by what Schutz (1962) calls the ‘natural attitude’, so that the world is from the outset not the world of the private individual but an intersubjective world, shared by us all, and in which we have not a theoretical but eminently practical interest. The bulk of what an individual knows does not originate from his or her experience alone, but is knowledge of social origin that has been transmitted to the individual by social relations of all types. Schutz (1946) distinguishes three components of the stock of knowledge: (i) the reserve of experience that arises from reflection on ...

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