Vasi van Deventer, Martin Terre Blanche, Eduard Fourie, Puleng Segalo
1 The Department of Psychology and Educational Studies, Roskilde University2 Subject, Technology and Social Practice, Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University
This paper explores the interconnectedness of knowledge and praxis in a concrete context. It argues that, and demonstrates how, knowledge is connected to its context and changes with context. A preconception of this point was used and developed further in a participatory observation in the control room of a district heating system. In the present text an additional distinction between meanings and knowledge is made. Meanings are seen as reproduced within and through the situation with all its specifics. Knowledge, on the other hand, is understood as a relation between the subject and those things and conditions, that are handled by the subject in order to act in different locations. Thus knowledge is constantly re-produced in its mediated relations, taking shape and varying according to the specific contexts of experiences. The stability of knowledge comes from the stability of praxis. There is a constellation of knowledgeable and skilful participants, living in co-dependence of what each other knows. From this perspective the issue is whether theoretical knowledge is fundamentally different from practical knowledge. The characteristics of theoretical and practical knowledge are discussed with reference to how rules are followed in the work place. It is argued that even though the engineers in the work place saw knowledge as abstract and theoretical, and thereby saw rules as something just to be followed, engineers as well as operators nevertheless acted with insight on rules by bending them according to specifics. Furthermore, specifics had to be taken into account in arguments for what was seen as abstract rules. Thus, theoretical knowledge is understood as concrete. The chapter concludes by outlining some central consequences of this line of argument for different forms of knowledge.
Nordiske Udkast Journal for Critical Social Science: Between Constructing Agent and Constructed Agency Selected Proceedings of the Eleventh Biennial Conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology Cape Town, South Africa June 20-24, 2005, 2007, p. 318-329
At koordinere viden; praxis; abstrakt; konkret; almen; specifik; Coordinating knowing; abstract; concrete; general; specific