Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

pp 1958-1965

Theory and Praxis

  • Ines LangemeyerAffiliated withDepartment of Economics and Social Sciences, Institute of Education, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen Email author 


With regard to the transition from school to work, it is a widespread belief that theory and practice ultimately represent opposites. Quite often, their relationship is experienced as rupture, disturbance, or conflict. Within the dominant paradigm of positivism, this perception often blends into other tensions such as scientific versus experiential knowledge, reason versus emotion, culture versus nature, and so on. Critical psychology tackles the “naturalness” and the societal purpose of opposing theory and practice by reflecting the sociohistorical background of these antagonisms: above all, the division of intellectual and physical labor and the domination of the former over the latter in capitalist relations. In what follows, it is important to distinguish three levels of the theory-practice-relation: First, the experiential relation that exists between a specific theory (a theory of X) and a concrete practice (a practice of Y); second, the philosophical rela ...

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