Crises and Adjustments in Ongoing Life

Schatzki, Theodore (2016) Crises and Adjustments in Ongoing Life. Osterreichische Zeitschrift fur Soziologie, 41. pp. 17-33. ISSN 1011-0070

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Everyday crises as colloquially understood are of questionable social theoretical significance. In contrast, crises as W. I. Thomas defines them – events that “interrupt the flow of habit and give rise to changed conditions of consciousness” – implicate a way of thinking about action that is prominent in 20th-century accounts of activity. This essay criticizes this way of thinking and offers an alternative. The way of thinking concerned – found in Dewey, Mead, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Garfinkel, Bourdieu, and Dreyfus – is the idea that the switch from coping, i. e., practical engagement with the world, to thinking, in particular, thinking about what to do, holds systematic significance for understanding human activity. The essay argues that this switch is actually just one form that people’s responses to changes in the world can take. Its alternative account centers on the thesis that adjustments to circumstances mediated by or accompanied by explicit consciousness are ubiquitous in human life. This account holds that these adjustments occur within bundles of practices and material arrangements: they help compose practices and uphold the normative organization of practices.

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Journal Article
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Osterreichische Zeitschrift fur Soziologie
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06 Jan 2020 12:20
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18 Sep 2023 01:43