Skip to main content

A New View of Practice: Practices Held in Place by Practice Architectures

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
The Action Research Planner


This chapter conceptualizes change in education or any field as the transformation of social practices. It introduces a new view of practices as composed of distinctive sayings, doings and relatings that “hang together” in the project of the practice. It shows how practices are made possible by practice architectures that provide their content: how the characteristic sayings of a practice are made possible by cultural-discursive arrangements (in language, in semantic space), how its characteristic doings are made possible by material-economic arrangements (in work and activities, in physical space-time), and how its characteristic relatings are made possible by social/political arrangements (in relationships of power and solidarity, in social space). Changing a social practice like education, therefore, depends not only on understanding and changing educational practices but also the practice architectures that hold those practices in place. This chapter shows how critical participatory action researchers can transform both their practices and the practice architectures that make their practices possible.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or eBook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 69.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 89.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions


  • Bourdieu, P. (1990). The logic of practice (trans: R. Nice). Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fals Borda, O. (1979). Investigating reality in order to transform it: The Colombian experience. Dialectical Anthropology, 4 (March), 33–55.

    Google Scholar 

  • Green, B. (2009). Understanding and researching professional practice. Rotterdam: Sense.

    Google Scholar 

  • Habermas, J. (1972). Knowledge and human interests (trans: J. J. Shapiro). London: Heinemann.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kemmis, S. (2005). Knowing practice: Searching for saliences. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 13(3), 391–426.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kemmis, S. (2010b). What is professional practice? In C. Kanes (Ed.), Elaborating professionalism: Studies in practice and theory (Chap. 8, pp. 139–166). New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kemmis, S. (2012). Researching educational praxis: Spectator and participant perspectives. British Educational Research Journal, 38(6), 885–905.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kemmis, S., & Grootenboer, P. (2008). Situating praxis in practice: Practice architectures and the cultural, social and material conditions for practice. In S. Kemmis & T.J. Smith (Eds.), Enabling praxis: Challenges for education (Chap. 3, pp. 37–62). Rotterdam: Sense.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kemmis, S., Wilkinson, J., Edwards-Groves, C., Hardy, I., Grootenboer, P., & Bristol, L. (2014). Changing practices, changing education. Singapore: Springer.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Schatzki, T. R. (1996). Social practices: A wittgensteinian approach to human activity and the social. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Schatzki, T. R. (2002). The site of the social: A philosophical account of the constitution of social life and change. University Park, Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wittgenstein, L. (1974). Philosophical investigations (3rd ed.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell. (trans: G.E.M. Anscombe).

    Google Scholar 

  • Yeats, W. B. (1996). Among school children (written 1927). In M. L. Rosenthal (Ed.), William Butler Yeats: Selected poems and four plays (pp. 121–123). New York: Scribner.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stephen Kemmis .

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Singapore

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Kemmis, S., McTaggart, R., Nixon, R. (2014). A New View of Practice: Practices Held in Place by Practice Architectures. In: The Action Research Planner. Springer, Singapore.

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics