Lancaster University is widely recognised for new research and developments in social practice theory. The Centre for Practice Theory at Lancaster – a joint venture between the Faculty of Arts and Social Science and Lancaster University Management School – provides an intellectual home and one-stop-shop for resources, events, and networking opportunities for the international, interdisciplinary community of researchers working with the ideas and approaches of social Practice Theory. In doing so, it aims to raise the profile of and showcase practice theoretical research and to connect research, ideas, and people across disciplines and topics.
What is practice theory and what does the centre do?
The central, uniting idea of Practice Theory is that social life and social phenomena are forms of, or rooted in, practices – the organised activities of multiple people that are connected and distributed in time and space.
Although there is no single theory of practice, the idea of taking practices as the central unit of social analysis and conceptualisation sets this tradition apart from systems theories and from those who focus on some version of individualism.
With its origins in the philosophies of Heidegger and Wittgenstein and the sociologies of Bourdieu and Giddens, more recent developments by Gherardi, Kemmis, Reckwitz, Schatzki, and Shove (among others)—have been put to work and gained traction in the fields of sociology, management, organisation studies, geography, education, public health and design.
The Centre for Practice Theory Lancaster provides a space in which to collect, catalyse and capitalise on the breadth and energy of practice theory-inspired research taking place across these disciplines and around the world.
The Centre does this by acting as a hub (running international events, promoting networks, and creating new resources) and as an umbrella (collecting and collating links to existing resources, sharing news and events, and fostering new connections between groups).
Based at Lancaster University, and positioned within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Management School, the Centre is home to an international community of practice theory scholars, it has an international Consortium of PhD and Early Career Researchers and an advisory board with members drawn from different disciplines and countries. Since the centre was launched in 2022 (see a short video welcome from Professor Simon Guy, and pictures from the launch), we’ve developed numerous activities including:
- An annual international and online conference – The Practice Theory Gathering;
- A series of online Reading Rooms – which are open for anyone to join;
- An online Postgraduate Course;
- A topical summer school for researchers working with Practice Theory (the Digital in 2023);
- A repository of resources related to Practice Theory in the form of a research rabbit ‘library’ of ‘key’ texts
If you would like to join the monthly mailing list to keep up to date with news and events, or if you have a resource, network, or event you want to share on the website, email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow the Centre’s activities on Twitter: @pt_lancaster
Ways to use the website:
- Take a look at the Events page to see if there is anything you might like to join;
- Look at the Consortium page for PhD/ECR activities (such as the Ideas Playgrounds) and contact us if you want to get involved
- Join the Practice Theory Map here;
- Search the resources pages for podcasts and videos;
- Connect with other Practice Theory groups.