Practice in action

I was showing this photo to my French teacher recently as an example of sociality and practice. He immediately saw something I didn’t initially although now I understand what he describes – the “practice of library” in this photo – do you see it? What he sees in the arrangment of the women in action, is a representation of the straight lines of library shelves, books, people reaching for books, the cyclical business of learning in libraries, and an organizational design which puts hierarchy into a plane of teaching, practicing and learning. Can you determine who is the teacher in this photo? Yes, of course, the woman at the far right is the teacher for the moment. I love the earnest look of the woman at the far left and I like the natural arrangement these women assume. The sociality of this practice is the physical engagement of these women – clearly showing us what “inter-subjectivity” looks like! And Pierre is now taking this image to his tai chi students to illustrate the same principles. This photo is used in a class on material & immaterial values – and its caption reads:
A practice is a materially mediated nexus of activity where understanding and intelligibility are ordered, a central phenomenon of human/nonhuman life (Schatzki).

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