P. Madhu's Praxis Model

P. Madhu is an outstanding Indian scholar whose work has very much impressed me.  When I first came across this masterful work and the work on "praxis intervention" I contacted Dr. Madhu, who is an interdisciplinary social scientist with expertise in social work practice, reflexivity, interpretive social theory and many other topics.  Enjoy!



PRAXIS MODEL Understanding Praxis


The word praxis was in use in the early Greek philosophy, but with a different connotation from its present usage. Aristotle used the word referring to various biological life activities [Bottomore, et al: 20001; for him the word suggested also the sciences and arts that deal with the freeman's ethical and political life. At times, he contrasts 'praxis' (in the sense of practical activity) with 'polis' (in the sense of productive activity) to distinguish performing or doing an activity from the telos or the end. 'Poesis' is an activity with a particular end, performed with the knowledge of 'techne' '[~eidegger
1999:16] (technical knowledge in producing a house, table, etc.). Praxis for him is the practical activity that has to do with the conduct of everyday life as a member of a society. It is doing a right thing well in interaction with the fellow human beings. To perform practical activity (praxis), the knowledge of phronesis is required. Phronesis is the practical knowledge of life and living within a society (polis). It is
1 Heidegger observes that 'The meaning of physis is further restricted by contrast with techne - which denotes neither art nor technology but a knowledge, the ability to plan and organise freely, to master institutions.
Techne is creating, building in the sense of a deliberate "pro-ducing."
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neither technical nor cognitive ability that one has at one's disposal, but it is bound up with the kind of person that one is and is becoming. To him, the 'eupraxia' is performing an activity well; similarly, the 'dypraxia' is misfortune or bad activity. In the Greek tradition, Praxis (practical knowledge) is also contrasted with 'theoria' (contemplative wisdom) [Schwandt 2001:205-2081. For Francis Bacon, the word meant applied practical or useful knowledge2 in contrast to theoretical knowledge. He held that praxis is the fruit of pure knowledge [Bottomore 2000:435-61. The term praxis, as Marx interpreted it, is probably from Cieszkowski's [Bernstein 1999: xv] coinage of the word to refer the "practical philosophy or rather a philosophy of practical activity" exercising a direct influence on social life and developing the future in the realm of concrete activity.
The term praxis occupies a central position in Marxism. existentialism, pragmatism and hermeneutics [Schwandt 2001: 205- 2091. In this thesis, we use the word to capture the domain of human activity that falls between practice and theorisation. Here, by
2 As theoretical geometry can be distinguished from applied geometry.
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practice, we mean the habituated everyday practice, and by theory, the living territories of contemplation, constantly on the move [Pile and Thrift 1996: 241. Praxis, like practice. is part of our existence of every moment, and like theorisation has the living territory of contemplation from the everyday life. In other words, praxis is synchronic of the practice, which is part of our existence of every moment, and the theorisation is the living territory of contemplation from the everyday life. It is being mindful of our existence and of everything we witness. For Feuerbach, praxis is the species character of human beings with which they make sense, think and weave their social world. Feuerbach identified praxis with the material forces inherent in the masses. In a letter to Ruge, dated
1843, he wrote:
What is theory, what is practice? Wherein lies their difference? Theoretical is that which is hidden in my head only, practical is that which is spooking in many heads. What unites many heads creates a mass, extends itself and this finds its place in the world. If it is possible to create a new organ for the new principle, then this is praxis, which should never be r n ~ s s e d . ~
3 Quoted in Chakravarthy 2004
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For Marx, it is a term that 'refers in general to action, activity; and in Marx's sense to the free, universal and self-creative activity through which man creates and changes his historical, human world and himself; an activity specific to man, through which he is basically differentiated from all other beings' [Easton and Guddat 1967:400- 4021.Marx finds praxis in the social that is in the making. For him, human praxis is a specific dialectical tension between being and becoming, necessity and contingency, things and human activities [Woznicki 20041. Andrew Woznicki points out that in Marx praxis is conceived as something which is done can be done or has the readiness to be done. (This is similar to the Heidegger notion of praxis as Vorhandensein and Zuhandensein) in the order of being. He further adds, in the objective sense, praxis is expressed in the form of a result obtained by man's activities and presents itself linguistically as a noun, namely as 'deed' and 'product.' Praxis, however, understood as a 'deed' or 'product' presupposes a subject, which makes praxis to be praxis. Expanding his argument, Woznicki states, "in the order of becoming then, praxis is the very condition of
developing the productive forces of things by the human creative
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activity which is contained in the process as such and reveals itself linguistically as a verb: 'to act' or 'to work'. Consequently, in the dialectical tension between being and becoming, the praxis of nature is interrelated with that of human activity" [ibid]. Marx's emphasis on praxis was intended to fix a critical standpoint from which he could oppose the neglect of human agency by the German Idealism, on the one hand, and the "dislike of human beings" into which previous materialism had fallen4 on the other. For Feuerbach, 'praxis' is a divine endowment; for Marx it is a direct bridge to his materialist conception of history. For Marx, what he called the revolutionary praxis is the sensuous human activity in struggle with the dominant 'theses.' In other words, it is the sensuous moment of dialectic struggle. Praxis is conceptualised in its reflexive as well as non- reflexive variety in Marx [Gouldner 1980:32, 331. The reflexive praxis is understood as the moment in the dialectic change, and the non- reflexive one as the routinising mechanism operating within the ideologies as a reproductive or status quo maintaining. It is, for him,
4 Marx: The chief defect of all previous materialism (including Feuerbach's) is the object, actuality, sensuousness is conceived only in the form of the object or perception [Anschauung], but not as a sensuous human activ~ty,practice [praxis], nor subjectively. (Marx's first theses on Feuerbach.)
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the non-reflexive habituating praxis, which leads to the consciousness and alienation.
For Cornelius Castoriadis,
praxis is a conscious activity and can only exist as a lucid activity, but it is different from the application of prior knowledge and cannot be justified by calling upon knowledge like this (which does not mean that it cannot justify itself). It is based on knowledge, but this
knowledge is always fragmentary and provisional. It is fragmentary because there can be no exhaustive theory of humanity and of history; it is provisional because praxis itself constantly gives rise to new knowledge for it makes a language that is at once singular and universal. This is why the relations of praxis to theory, true theory correctly conceived, are infinitely tighter and more profound than those of any 'strictly rational' technique or practice; for the latter, theory is only a code of lifeless prescriptions which can never, in its manipulations, encounter meaning" [ I 987:76].
To Markovi~m, oments of praxis include
creativity instead of sameness, autonomy instead of subordination, sociality instead of massification, rationality instead of blind reaction and intentionality rather than compliance
[I 974:64].
false
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Praxis according to him is the moment of self-determination (in contrast to coercion), intentionality (in contrast to blind reaction), sociality (in contrast to privatised nihilism), creativity (in contrast to sameness) and rationality (in contrast to blind chance) ['1974:64-69].
Invoking praxis potential becomes reasonable where the passive obedience to 'revealed' truths or succumbing to 'revered' knowledge claims to 'nominal' truths is 'immorality' [Kant 1991: 247- 81, the naturalised neutrality is violence [Barthes 1975: 131; Cook 2001: 1541, the socially existing collective conscience - the 'ties of ideas' -- is a product of individual human activities [Durkheim 2001: 2921, value systems of the actors in social action constitute the social reality [Weber 1975: 751, the meaning of social text is decided by the 'art of [its] interpretati~n,a'~nd "because the wreckage of the narcissist home [Adamczewski 1995: 56, 581 has let us homeless, yet creative" [Adamczewski 1995:62].
The re-creative praxis is understood to be anthropologically valuable, essentially human, involving 'fabrication of meaning' that is 'more important than the meanings themselves' [Bannet 1989:66].A
5 Dilthey 1992; Gadamar 1979: xxiv, 350-1,359-60,Heidegger 1999:lO; Mukherji 2000:25
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preparation for a re-creative praxis is primarily self-reflexivity, understanding [Bourdieu 19981 and a 'penetrative perception' of the structure (as a 'topological and geological survey of the battlefield') to 'topple the present order of things' [Foucault 1980:62].A reflexive praxis is the counter to the mental process that is 'an imaginative rehearsal,' crystallising into more or less stabilised 'self conception' -a homo clauses6. It is an activity of suspending the perceived normality of the socially structured routine7.
The interactionist tradition of social thinking has not only led one to ask new questions on the construction of selves from the social interactions, but also it has given the opportunity to realise the human potential of reflexive monitoring. Reflexivity is the characteristic of praxis potential. Besides explaining the fundamental humaneness, the idea of praxis throws light into the political possibility of undoing the harms that the sedimented rationality had done to the human sociality. With the praxis potential, one realises life powe? and looks at one's sociality afresh. The life power
  1. 6  Mead 1934:269-72; Goffman 1961:168; Goffman 2001; Goffman, 1986:13-14; Collins2002:73,75; Elias1994:204
  2. 7  Schutz 1962: 14; Garfinkel 1%3:188; Garfinkel 1984:37-381.
  3. 8  Hans Joas in his assessment of symbolic interactionism writes, "Marxism, is incomprehensible, at least in its origin, without its foundation in its own
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emanating from the praxis possibility and praxis potential is the 'active aspect' of being [Nizar Ahmed Undated, Typed ~anuscript]~. The idea of Praxis that had been left unelaborated in the everyday
life situation had found a subtle inference in the micro social
understanding of the interaction theorists. Despite a breakthrough in
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theory of action, in the 'expressionistic' concept of work according to which
work effects the embodiment of the worker's labour power and skills in the product of his work. However many of those who contributed to the development of this tradition as a theory of society and history disregarded this foundation of Marxism. There has been hardly any elaboration of the notions of 'praxis,' of 'activity' and of 'labour' (or 'work') nor relating of them to the problems addressed by the uxiological theory of action.
Even, the most creative new approach to the sociological theory of action, which transcends utilitarianism, the normativist critique of utilitarianism and traditional Marxism [For example, Jijrgen Habermas's theory of communicative action], does not achieve a comprehensive revision of sociological theory of action. The opposition of a communicative concept of rationality to the deficiencies of an instrumentalist understanding of rationaliiy has the effect of excluding many dimensions of action, which can be found in the history of social thought. The unresolved problem in this connection is how the sociological theory of action can be integrated with the theoretical fecundity of pragmatism and the traditions of the philosophy of praxis, and with the expressionistic notion of work. For solution of this problem, pragmatism continues to be of central importance. For it has prepared the way not simply to take as a model for sociological theory of action the purposively action individual who has mastery over his own body and is autonomous in relation to his fellow human beings and to the environment but instead to explain the conditions of possibility of this type of 'actor.' For this clarification, the literature of symbolic interactionism supplies a wealth of material" Hans loas [1987:110].
Nizar Ahrned: Being for humans, is thus a sense of being which realises itself through this active aspect or power, by trans-substancing itself. By trans- substancing itself it transforms the interactive patterns, in turn is trans- substanced by the later. I n this way human actions and power can be linked up and the notion of power can be de-linked from that of domination [Nizar Ahrned. Asoects of Reflexivity in Social Theorislm. Unpublished Manuscript. Calicut: Documentation Centre, Institute for Social and Ecological Studies, Undated].
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conceptualising self as an emergent from the social interaction (interactional praxis), the early interactionists could not empirically reason how participation in the structure of society shaped the individual conduct and vice versa [Turner 1995:318].
With Goffman and Garfinkel, the process of social interaction constituting the micro social structure is explained with more rigour and empirical evidence. With their analysis, the ways and means of praxis being routinised are better understood. Goffman's portrayal of the human reasoning and intentionality within the rituals and dramas of the presentations of selves and Garfinkel's exploration of the 'method of sense making' (ethnomethodology) assuming priority over its contents within the indexical settings [Turner 1995:395] explain the factors constraining human praxis emerging substantially creative. Improbability, though not the impossibility of the non-
routine-creative praxis within human interaction and its structural properties, in fact alarms the action oriented social thinkers over the hectic labour required in reinvigorating the creative praxis from within the socially structurated infertility. Without invoking the creative praxis and the reflexive potential, it may not be possible to make political or social justice. The creative reflexivity being limited.
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it would be the formalities and the conventions forming the process of human consciousness. The available r e s o ~ r c e s 'w~ithin the
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10 Giddens observes, "Structure refers not only to rules implicated in the production and reproduction of social systems but also to resources." He argues further that the structure is internal to actors enabling
, them towards the structurational social praxis through their 'practical consciousness'. If the actors' practical consciousness is ethnomethodological, dramaturgical or mimetic one cannot find solace in its resourcefulness. Giddens holds that with the 'authoritative resources' (authoritative resources' in Gidden's terminology refers to non material resources involved in the generation of power, deriving from the capability of harnessing the activities of human beings) one can break with the present dominant episteme. However, Giddens acknowledges its low probability.
For Giddens structuration is the structuring of social relations across time and space, in virtue of the duality of structure. By duality of structure he means structure being the medium and outcome of the conduct it recursively organises. For him the structural properties of social systems do not exist outside of action but are chronically implicated in its production and reproduction. Given the doxic nature of self, and the utilisation of 'resources' for 'presentation' purpose in the Goffmanian sense, one may not over emphasis the power the agent has on the structural properties.
The structurational argument reifying the agency power could only be useful in blaming the victims for structural defects (could we say that the socially or economically poor communities too are responsible for the structural reality of the globalisation on par with the global commercial interest and their political arm? Similarly, what is that we would be meaning when we say the structure of global order is a 'resource' for the affected group? Is there anything more than a naming ritual in calling this forced compulsion as 'resource'?)
The duality of structure (some kind of synchronic Hegelianism?) argument leads one to the conclusion that the dominance and violence present in the structural properties of the sociality as cumulative unintended consequence of which everybody is equally responsible (is there any way out to be a 'non-agent'?). With this argument, the intentionality of the powerful in the social order is diluted. Thus, the argument becomes doubly status quoist, blaming the oppressed, and salvaging the oppressing. The argument is an invitation to everyone into the existing dynamics of praxis and its routine. [1986: 23, 25, 258-62, 374, 3761.
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historical facticities, interaction settings, and structural properties of the sociality when available only to further deepening the riverbeds of established patterns of reasoning and structurations, they cannot be jubilantly held as resources. If the 'resources' are available only to bury oneself, one cannot celebrate their existence.
Goffman is a critique of the overwhelming ritualisticf1 and routinefzpraxis that commonly occurs in the 'process and structures specific to the interaction orderf3'[2001:274-51. Goffrnan observes that within the routine praxis people exhibit smartness in
presentingf4themselves before the others in the interaction setting, while playing their roles15. He understands the routine praxis as the
11 Randall Collins commenting on Goffman's observation of 'ritually stratified social structure' writes that his work indicates that the entire structure of society, both work and private sociability, is upheld by rituals [Collins 2002:71; Goffman1967:4].
12 The preestablished pattern of action which is unfolded during a performance and which may be presented or played through on other occasions may be called a 'part' or 'routine [Goffman 1959: 271.
13 Goffman defines interaction as the reciprocal influence of individuals upon one another's action when in one another's immediate physical presence [1959:26].
14 Presentation for him is something like performance in a staged drama. With no audience, there will be no performance [Goffman 1986:125; Goffman 1959:240].
15 I t should be noted that for Goffman, the individuals who act out roles
are
not and cannot be just like indwiduak who act at roles. While enacting roles, the actors demonsbate at h s t a dual rde, a stage actor (who seeks help from the prompter, ampwathn from the members of the cast,response from the a u d m ) and a staged character [Giddens 1987:119; GofFman 1986: 1291.
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convenient submission [2001:278-91 to rituals of interactions. Their compliance to the ritual order is possible despite the participants find nothing intrinsically just in it [2001:279]. Individuals go along with interaction arrangements for a wide variety of reasons.I6 From their apparent tacit support, we cannot conclude that a change in the present interaction order would be resisted or resented. He also notes that noncompliance to certain rituals of the interaction order does not mean the individuals broke away from the routine ritual praxis; one can be very much dependent on the logic of the interaction order and violate them as guided by a mix of motives. Goffman's exploration of selfi7 and its entangled nature within the interactional structure offers a
16 He observes, 'Very often, behind community and consensus are mixed motive games' [Goffinan 2001:279; Goffman 1986:222].
17 Goffman: 'The self... can be seen as something that resides in the arrangements prevailing in a social system for its members. The self in this sense is not a property of the persons to whom it is attributed, but dwells rather in the pattern of social control that is exerted in connection with the person by himself and those around him. This special kind of institutional arrangement does not so much support the self as constituted it.' [1961:168]. '...the proper study of interaction is not the individual and his psychology, but rather the syntactical relations among acts of different persons mutually
present to one another. not, then, men (sic) and their moments. Rather, moments and their men' [Goffman 20011.
Randall Collins observes, " For Goffman, the self is not so much a private, individual attribute as a public reality, created by and having its primary existence in public interaction....The self is not something that the individuals negotiate out of social interactions: it is rather, the archetypal modern myth. We are compelled to have an individual self, not because we actually have one but because social interaction requires us to a d as if we do. It is society that forces people to present a certain image of themselves, to appear to be
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critique of the self in its deep s~umberw'~ithin the interactional setting. He in fact implies that to be awake is to combat the heteronomous interaction order. Goffrnan's understanding that the heteronomy imposed on the individual agents by the interactional order agrees with ~ e e r t zc"o~nceptualisation that the common sense is anti-reflexive.
The method by which the members create, assemble, produce and reproduce the social structure is the object of analysis for the ethnomethodologists. In other words, the method of routine praxis and its reproduction in a given setting, the properties of commonsense knowledge and consequent action are the matters of interest for the ethnomethodologists. What interested Garfinkel, the founder of
truthful, self-consistent and honourable. However, the same social system, because it forces us to switch back and fort between many complicated roles, is also making us always somewhat untruthful, inconsistent and dishonourable. The requirements of staging roles make us actors rather than spontaneously the roles that we appear to beat any single moment. The self is real only as a symbol, a linguistic concept that we use to account for what we and other people do It is an ideology of everyday life, used to attribute causality and moral responsibility in our society, just as societies with denser (e.g. tribal) structure, moral responsibility is not placed with the individual but attributedtoSpiritsorGods[2002:73, 751.
18 Goffman: 'I can only suggest that he who would combat false consciousness and awaken people to their true interests has much to do, because the sleep is very deep. And I do not intend here to provide a lullaby but merely to sneak and watch the way the people snore.' [1986:14.]
19 Geertz: 'Common sense represents matters...as being what they are by the simple nature of the case. An air of "of-courseness," a sense of "it figures" is cast over things... They are depicted as being inherent in the situation, intrinsic aspects of the situation, the way things go' [1983: 1391.
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ethnomethodology is not just 'perceived behaviours, feelings, motives or relationships but 'the perceived normalivO of these events' [1963:188],that is senselessly taken for granted and socially structured into routine practices. Garfinkel established that the senseless 'perceived normality' of social events could be investigated from 'outside' by experimental manipulations of sequences of a~tions,~' which he termed 'breaching experimentsz2.'Purposefully breaching the taken for granted interaction rules invite bewilderment from the victim of the experiment. He could experimentally prove that the taken for granted rules in the interaction setting make the participants senselessly automated and lead everyone in the
  1. 20  Perceived normality is 'the perceived formal features that environing events for the perceiver as instances of class events (typicality), Their chances of occurrence (likelihood), their comparability with past or future events, the condition of their occurrences; their compatibility with the past and or future events; the condition of their occurrences) causal texts.
  2. 21  Garfinkel: 'the operations that one would have to perform in order to multiply the senseless features of perceived environment; to produce and sustain bewilderment, consternation and confusion; to produced socially structured affects of anxiety, shame, guilt and indignation should tell us something about how the structures of everyday activities are ordinarily and routinely produced and manipulated' [Garfinkel 1984:37-381.
  3. 22  Breaching experiment is deliberately breeching the understood, but unspoken, rules of everyday encounters for experimental and research purposes. Garfinkel gives examples of breaching experiments from the ones his students carried out. For example, for the taken for granted formal question, "how are you?" the experimenter asks "How am I in regard to what? My health, my finances, my schoolwork, my peace of mind, my...?" to breach the taken for granted routine answer. The reply the student got is an angry face is " Look! I was just trying to be polite. Frankly, I don't give a damn how you are" [Garfinkel 1984:44].
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interaction setting into the 'deep slumber' [Goffman 1986:13]. Garfinkel watches and ridicules the non-sensuous automated
i n d e x i c a l ~de~te~r~mined human reflexivity in the interaction setting through his breaching experiments. Garfinkel addresses the entire process by which the commonly shared 'background knowledge' is used as the resource from which 'taken for granted' meanings are generated within 'common culturez4'as the 'documentary method of interpretation'25.The focal point of Garfinkel's analysis is the social

  1. 23  Indexicality is the immediate context of social interaction. With the term it is implied that all human interpretive work draws resource from the context in which it occurs. For example, the "reality" of deviance will be conceived very differently, depending on whether it is viewed from a police patrol car or from the back seat of a vehicle full of partying teenagers.
  2. 24  Garfinkel: 'Common culture' refers to the socially MnctiOned grounds of inference and action that people use in their everyday affairs and which they assume that others use in the same way [Garfinkel 1984:76].
25 This term was used by Karl Mannheim (1893-1947) and Alfred Schut! (1899- 1959), but its current meaning derives from Harold Garfinkel, the founder of Ethnornethodology. The documentary method describes the process through which immediately given information (documents); appearance, police reports, past records, and typifications, are used to infer meaning and motive in the behaviour of others. The unproblematic commonsense is problematised in this method. The method consists of treating an actual experience as its "Document of," as "pointing to" as standing on behalf a presupposed underlying pattern, that has been biographically (historico- prospective unfolding of events) acquired. Individual documentary evidences, in their turn, are interpreted on the basis of "what is known" about the underlying pattern. I t is a method to understand the objective world in a mirror of subjective prejudice. It is to reveal the Schutzian premise that a person assumes, assumes the other person assumes as well, and assumes it of the other person, the other person assumes it of him, that a relationship of undoubted correspondence is the sanctioned relationship between the actual appearances of an object and the intended object that appears in a particular way. Garfinkel's experiment with his students, in which he used a fake
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actors making sense of the things and events around them drawing the resource from the background knowledge they acquired biographically. Garfinkel locates (alienated) praxis in the situation of action, internalised rules and norms and in the unconscious reproduction of the normative frameworks. The process by which the human consciousness is reduced as 'the typifying medium par excellence' and a 'treasure house of ready made pre-constituted types' [Schutz 1962a: 141 is the subject matter of analysis in Garfinkel. We find descriptions [Heritage 1987:231]and explorations into indexically imprisoned human praxis in his ethnomethodological studies. As Goffman observes, these studies need not be a lullaby to the deep indexical sleep. The sleep is unrecognised as a sleep because within the sleep situation, everybody is highly active in their ethnomethodological and dramaturgical action, interaction and presentation. As the sleep is an epistemic sleep, it is only with an epistemic break that we can wake up. We need not have to be concerned of the epistemic sleep, had it been such that it inflicts no pain upon anybody or anything. Within the world of deep slumber,
~-
counsellor with prefixed random yes/no answers to answer the problems the students, is an example of the use of the method. Despite the yeslno answers being prefixed the students could extract meaning from the conversation using their background knowledge [Garfinkel 1984:70-941.
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because there is unquestioned violence, undoubted privileges, and acute 'unnatural' inequality, it seems to set things right one has to wake up. Without being conscious of the deep sleep, one may not wake up. The interactionist tradition of social thought has informed the social sciences the awareness of the deep epistemic sleep people ordinarily undergo.
From the historical and structuralist standpoints, we get that the structured mindscape against which we invoke the praxis potential is far deep-seated, requiring careful preparation. The theorists of geographical praxis explore the geographical dialectics by which the structured mindscape spreads horiz~ntally~T~he.ir elucidations inform the spatial spread of dominant mentalities with its own reproductive schemata. The interactionist and micro-structural theorists portray the ritual means by which persons interactionally maintain the structurally provided mindscapes. The structuration theory explores, of course with a sense of reification, the process of structure and agent 'non-dually' united in the process of 'structuration' [Giddens 19861.
26 Foucault 1986: 23; Foucault 1980; Lefebvre 1976b: 21, 70, 106; Lefebvre 1971: 46, 50, 59, 65, 195; Lefebvre 1976a: 33; Lefebvre 1979: 285; Lefebvre 1991: 214, 232; Lefebvre 1994; Soja 1997: 237-40, 246-9; Held 2002.
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For Bourdieu, the mindscape (habitus) or its schema of reproduction is not somewhere out there, but it is very much within ones' constitution and internal disposition. To explain the habituated nature of our internality and that being well grid into its misrecognitions with almost little scope for its unsettlement,
Bourdieuinventstheexpressionssuchas'habitusz7,field2', practice, positions, interest, misrecognition, bias, participant objectivation' and so on. One among the most impressive metaphors he brought in explaining social practice is that of the game where playing a game is not just the understanding its rules alone. To be a participant of
27 Habitus is the meeting point between institutions and bodies, that which enables the institutions to attain full realisation. That is, each person as a biological being connects with the socio-cultural order in such a way that the various games of life keep their meaning, keep being played in the basic way. Itisthe'durably installedgenerativeprincipleofregulatedimprovisations'that which in a practical sense 'reactivates the sense objectified in institutions' [Bourdieu 1990:57].
28 Bourdieu conceptualises 'field' [Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992:92] as the one that which destines the internal disposition of the habitus, as the magnetic field could effect the disposition of iron particles within its domain. Field is a space within which the effect of the field is exercised [Ibid: 1001. Unlike the
relationship between iron particles and magnetic field, in social fields he understands there are socially perpetuated values and capitals. The fields of law, literature, academics, and politics are examples for social fields. Capital (worthiness or social valuation within a social relation) of a disposition is determined by the rules peculiar to each field. With this, he challenges identification of capital only with the economic capital and reduction of human beings as homo economicus. With the conceptualisation of field, capital and their relatedness, Bourdieu presents the complex ways in which the objective/subpctive structural/agenn/ dimensions are deeply intrigued with one another.
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the game, one has to have the 'sense' of the game with which one becomes constantly aware of the field as a whole, one's opponents, ones' team-mates, strategiesz9and techniques. Playing a game requires 'interests3'' and it has the 'consistent style' of the players
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29 By strategy, Bourdieu means not the purposive and pre-planned pursuit of calculated goals as Coleman does, but the active deployment of objectively oriented "lines of action" that obey regularities and form coherent and socially intelligible patterns, even though they do not follow conscious rules or aim at the premeditated goals posited by a strategist [Bourdieu and Wacquant
1992:25].
30 Swedberg observes that according to Bourdieu, "interest is 'to be there', to participate, to admit that the game is worth playing and that the stakes created in and through the fact are worth pursuing; it is to recognize the game and to recognize its stakes The opposite of interest (or "illusio") is indifference (or "ataraxia"). Each field has its own interest, even if its masquerades as disinterestedness. Bourdieu criticizes the economists' version of interest for being ahistorical - "far from being an anthropological invariant, interest is a historical arbitrary The economists are also in his opinion wrong in thinking that "economic interest" is what drives everything; "anthropology and comparative history show that the property social magic of institutions can constitute just about anything as an interest [Swedberg 2003; Bourdieu 1998a. 75-91; Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992:116, 1171.
Wacquant observes, 'With the concept of interest- a notion he has of late increasingly come to replace by that of illusio and, more recently still, by that of libido -8ourdieu seeks to do two things. First, to break with the "enchanted vision of social action that clings to the artificial frontier between instrumental and expressive or normative behaviour and refuses to acknowledge the various forms of hidden, normative profits that guide agents who appear "disinterested." Secondly, he wants to convey the idea that the people are motivated, driven by, torn from a state of indifference and moved by the stimuli sent by certain fields - and not others. For each field fills the empty bottle of interest with different wine. A middle class academic who has never been in ghetto gym the pugilistic interest (libido pugilistica) that leads sub-proletarian youngsters to value and wilfully enter into the self-destructive occupation of boxing. Conversely, a high-school dropout from the inner city cannot apprehend the reason behind the intellectual's investment in the arcane of debates in social theory, or his passion for the latest innovations in conceptual art, because he has not been socialised to give them value. People are "pre-occupied by certain future outcomes inscribed in the present they
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'internalised3" from the experiences in the game and the same 'externalised' while playing. The habituated consistent style of the player being improvised at each moment of the game is 'habitus' for Bourdieu [Calhoun 20001.Habitus is not something people are born with, but it is that which we acquire through repetition, like a habit.
Bourdieu's learning was shaped by his fieldwork assignments; of which, the one he undertook with Algerian Kabyle peasants had a lasting impact on him. The traditional self-righteous Kabyle peasants, encountering the modern economy, gradually transformed into sub-proletariat underclass due to their h a b i t u ~ ~ ~ -
encounter only to the extent that their habitus sensitises and mobilises them to perceive and pursue them. And these outcomes can be thoroughly "disinterested" in the common sense of the term, as can readily be seen in the fields of cultural production, this "economic world reversed" [Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992:25-261.
  1. 31  Bourdieu: 'In order to escape the realism of the structure, which hypostatises systems of objective relations by converting them into totalities already constituted outside of individual history and group history, it is necessary to pass from the opus operatum to the modus operandi, from statistical regularity or algebraic structure to the principle of the production of this observed order, and to construct the theory of practice, or, more precisely, the theory of the mode of generation of practices, which is the precondition for establishing an experimental science of the dialectic of the internalisation of externality and the externalisation of internality, or, more simply, of
    incorporation and objectification' [Bourdieu. 1977: 773.
  2. 32  The Habitus is the system of durable, transposable dispositions, which function as the generative basis of structured, objectively unified practices [Bourdieu 1979: vii, footnote].
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32
clash33 with the modern habitus and structural tran~formation~~ induced by the French Colonialism in Algeria was the focus of the study. (Methodologically, Bourdieu always tried to combine intimate knowledge of practical activity with more abstract knowledge of objective patterns, with awareness that there can always be misrecogniti~no~f~the objective patterns of social reality from the
  1. 33  Here I am using the phrase 'habitus clash' to mean what Bourdieu explained 'the economic system imported by colonisation - the objectified heritage of another civilisation, a legacy of accumulated experiences, techniques of payment or marketing, methods of accountancy, calculation and organisation - has the necessity of a "cosmos" s (as Weber puts it) into which the workers find themselves cast and whose rules they must learn in order to survive."the dramatic confrontation between economic cosmos imposing itself and economic agents whom nothing has prepared to grasp its deep intention, one is forced to reflect on the conditions for existence and functioning of the capitalist system, i.e. on the economic dispositions which it both favours and demands' [Bourdieu. 1979: 3, 6.1
  2. 34  Bourdieu: It was not by chance that the relationship between structure and habitus was constituted as the theoretical problem in relation to a historical situation in which that problem was in a sense presented by reality itself, in the form of permanent discrepancy between the agent's economic dispositions and the economic world in which they had to act [Bourdieu 1979: vii].
35 Misrecognition is not simply error; indeed, in a practical mode of engagement every recognition is also misrecognition. The practical sense for him is the 'social necessity turned into nature, converted into motor schemes and body automatisms, what causes practices, in and through what makes them obscure to the eyes of their producers, to be sensible, that is, informed by a common sense. I t is because agents never know completely what they are doing that what do has more sense than they know' [Bourdieu 1990:69].
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social actors who are thoroughly inside the action and the outside observer who are thoroughly outside it). 36
According to Bourdieu, the characteristic set of dispositions biographically acquired limits the conscious choice of the social actors in their interactions. The internal disposition that contributes to the nonconscious, taken-for-granted social interaction is h a b i t ~ sin~ h~is
36 For example, in an activity as simple as the gift giving, it may be possible that both the actors themselves and the outside researcher may be unaware of the strategies practically enacted through that act, despite it can be better understood by a reflexive probing. The gift giving which is understood as disinterested, voluntary and not subject to equivalence, may be actually a strategic act of symbolic dominance than the actors themselves are aware.
37 RoyNash[Nash20011pointsoutthatBourdieu'sconceptofhabitushasbeen often mistaken as 'deficit theory.' For example, Branson & Miller argued that with his concept of class habitus, Bourdieu pictured the working class as 'trapped in their habitus through cultural impoverishment and cultural difference' [Branson and Miller 1991:42]. Mehan et al. sharply criticised Bourdieu for his "dark', 'determinist', and 'immutable formulation immutable formulation' [Mehan et al. 19% :296]. The criticism has come from the ground that Bourdieu, like deficit theorists of 1950s 'blaming the victim.' An indepth reading of Bourdieu would reveal that this criticism is misplaced. Throughout his career, Bourdieu is a critique of the structural properties over determining the agents irrespective of their class status. (For example
Bourdieu writes, 'one cannot, at the same time, denounce the inhuman social conditions imposed upon proletarians ... and credit the people placed in such situations with the full accomplishment of their human potentialities' [Bourdieu 1998b :136]. Bourdieu was not blaming the victim, rather he was deeply worried about the corrupt structure deeply percolated into subjectivity leaving no space for an Archimedean point from where action can be initiated. Bourdieu was in fact too much involved in creating such an Archimedean point despite its rare probability. He is religious in his activism who realised that the church of activism is deeply corrupt. As he wrote in Homo Academicus, his effort was 'to gain rational control over the disappointment felt by an 'oblate' [a religious devotee] faced with the annihilation of the truths and values to which he was destined and dedicated, rather than take refuge in feelings of self-destructive resentment' [Bourdieu 1988: xxvi].
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34 -1
terminology. Habitus is the meeting point between institutions and bodies, that which enables the institutions to attain full realisation. That is, each person as a biological being connects with the socio- cultural order in such a way that the various games of life keep their meaning, keep being played in the basic way. It is the 'durably installed generative principle of regulated improvisations' that which in a practical sense 'reactivates the sense objectified in institutions' [Bourdieu, 1990:57; Bourdieu 19791. Habitus is 'Produced by the work of inculcation and appropriation that is needed in order for objective structures, the products of collective history, to be reproduced in the form of the durable, adjusted dispositions that are the condition of their functioning' [Ibid]. It is constituted in the course through which agents partake of the history objectified in institutions. The partaking makes it possible to inhabit institutions, to appropriate them practically, and so to keep them in activity, continuously pulling them from the state of dead letters, reviving the sense reposited in them. At the same time, the agents impose revisions and transformations to their internalised dispositions38.'Habitus is the product of modus operandi of which the producer has no conscious
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mastery. It contains the 'objective intention' flowing from the modus operandi 'outrunning conscious intentions' of the actor. The 'strategies' of the actors in practical situations generate from these preconscious 'objective intentions.' Bourdieu uses the notion of habitus to break with the cognitivist view that the actors just follow cultural rules, static cognitivism of structuralism and the existential understanding of subjectivity39.He further explains that the habitus is not just an internalised set of characteristics of the individual, but also the collective 'orchestration established among dispositions that are objectively coordinated' [Ibid: 591 which is the 'subjective but non-individualised system of internalised structures, common schemes of perception, conception and action' [lbid: 601 exemplified by class habitus, in which 'the singular habitus of members of the same class are united in a relationship of homology, that is, diversity within homogeneity reflecting the homogeneity characteristic of their social conditions of production' [Ibid]. The habitus, as defined by Bourdieu is:
39
~-
For example, a person playing football is not just guided by the rules of the game, but with the internalised experiences too. Similarly, while playing the players do not consciously apply the laws of motion in physics; rather they unconsciously use them in fraction of seconds from the competence gained from their experiences. For Bourdieu, social competence too is internally dispositional as that of the competence in sports or music.
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systems of durable, transposable dispositions, structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structures, that is, as principles which generate and organise practices and representations that can be objectively adapted to their outcomes without presupposing a conscious aiming at ends or an express mastery of the operations necessary in order to attain them4'
In Bourdieu it is not just subjectivity1 objectivity, theory/ practice, but also methodologyl theory, researcher1 research dichotomies are disfavoured with his conceptualisation of the 'participant objectivation.' Participatory objectivation is 'objectifying the act of objectification.' By 'objectifying the objectification' it is meant the researcher, while observing and objectifying, taking a similar critical distance towards the objectification itself. It is being sensitive to the immensely possible biases from the researcher's social coordinates, field and intellectual orientation and self-critically problematising them to reduce the impact of the biases [Bourdieu 20031. According to Bourdieu, within the sociological analysis, the participant
objectivation is the essential but difficult exercise of all because it -
40 Ibid: 53.
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requires the break with the deepest and most conscious adherence and adhesions, those quite often give the object its very "interest" for those who study it- i.e., everything about their relation to the object they try to know that they least want to know [Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992:253]. It is through the participant objectivation the practical relation to practice is substituted with the observer's relation to practice [Bourdieu 1990:34]. Through the practice of participant objectivation, Bourdieu aims to make the critical and political activity of social research the 'solvent o f doxad'.
With Bourdieu, sociology takes a deeply ethical and action turn42 that could be contrasted with the 'linguistic turn' of the postmodernists. With the 'action turn', there is a re-vision of our view of the nature, purpose and method of social enquiry. Bourdieu has raised the status of 'action research' from participatory observation to the participant objectivation and thereby given it a radical shift without losing objectivity, wherein the social research is made
41 Bybringingthehiddendoxaintolightandpublicdebate.
42 According to Calhoun, 'Science--including sociology and anthropology-was for Bourdieu a practical enterprise, an active, ongoing practice of research and analysis (modus operandi), not simply a body of scholastic principles (opus operaturn). I t was no accident that he titled his book of epistemological and methodological preliminaries The Craft of Sociology' [Calhoun 2002:23; Reason and Torbert 20011.
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possible to meet the requirement of contribution to the abstract body of knowledge and practical knowing embodied in the moment to moment action [Heron 1996:34] of the social life situation. Action, from the perspective of Bourdieu, is not limited to transforming the objective conditions alone, but also implies the transfonnation of the subjective conditions through which the objective conditions are perpetuated. Bourdieu with his 'sociological action' opens up a new opportunity for social work practice that is well founded within the social theory.
Bourdieu is cautious43in conceptualising the social action for social transformation, as it is difficult to find a convenient 'Archimedean Point' from where the transformative action could be initiated. He held that the actions encouraged by na'ive-over- optimism or a social action that has no space for the activist's or researcher's non-narcissistic yet self-objectivation, would not only
just be a setback to the claims of the social action but also
43 Calhoun observes, 'Bourdieu called for an objective analysis of the conditions of creativity, and the pressures that resisted it, rather than an idealization of it as a purely subjective phenomenon. He demanded that social scientists pay scrupulous attention to the conditions and hence limitations of their own gaze and work-starting with the very unequal social distribution of leisure to devote to intellectual projects-and continually objectify their own efforts to produce objective knowledge of the social world' [Calhoun 2002:11].
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aggravate the same set of conditions that demand the social action [Calhoun 20021.
Bourdieu finds that both academics (Social Science) and politics are guilty [Bourdieu et al. 1999: 6291 of their 'nonassistance to persons in dangef; politics in failing to take the full advantage of the possibilities of action (minimal though they may be) and social science in its unwillingness to uncover doxa and its mythologies and advocate politics to gain the reflexive astuteness of academics, and science to gain the political rigour of standing with the persons in danger.
Bourdieu's message in The Weight of the World is, "Do not deplore, do not laugh, do not hate - understand' [Ibid: I].For Bourdieu, 'understanding is exp~anation"~U.nderstanding, Bourdieu holds, is 'a reflex reflexivity based on a craft, on sociological "feel" or "eye" [Ibid: 6081. Sociology or social action, he held, can be adequately scientific only with the 'understanding,' without which. it
44 For Bourdieu what he calls 'generic and genetic comprehension' is understanding. For him is explanation too. Where the generic comprehension is understanding the interviewee as necessarily they are by mentally puttliig ourselves in their place and genetic comprehension is grasping the sor~al conditions of which they are products. He writes, 'Against the old distinct~m made by William Dilthey, we must posit that understanding and explaining are one.' [Bourdieu et al. 1999 :613].
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would be merely 'scientistic' [Ibid: 6071. Understanding, for Bourdieu, occurs 'on the spot' of the interaction. For Bourdieu the act of understanding constitutes 'democratisation of the hermeneutic posture' [Hamel 19981 and 'active and methodical listening45.'It is an act of 'intellectual love' [Bourdieu et al. 1999: 6141, facilitation of 'joy in expression' [Ibid: 6151, 'induced and accompanied self-analysis' [Ibid], 'a sort of spiritual exercise that, through forgetfulness of self, aims at a true conversion of the way we look at other people in ordinary circumstances of life' and should be devoid of the 'symbolic violence' [Ibid: 608-91. Understanding for Bourdieu is the 'on the spot' action with the 'sociological feel' [Ibid: 6181. For him, 'understanding' is not just understanding the 'other', but also working to 'gain knowledge of our own presuppositions.' [Ibid: 6081
Bourdieu's 'on the spot' sociological understanding is a silent but rigorous action programme, wherein the persons with the
45
-
Active methodological listening is accompanied by the researcher's mentally putting themselves in the place of the researched. I t is attempting to situate oneself in the place the interviewees occupy in the social space in order to understand them as necessarily what they are, by questioning them from that point on, and to some degree to take their part. Bourdieu distinguishes this practice from the phenomenological enquity, within which, the phenomenologists projecting themselves into the other [Bourdieu et al. 1999 :609,613].
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sociological skill and the participants of a sociological interview undergo a 'spiriiual revolution' of understanding; where the sociologists pose questions to the social actors and to themselves with which they could jointly 'access the core principles of the discontent and malaise' [Ibid: 6201 and 'bring to light' 'the real bases of discontent and dissatisfaction' that are found 'buried deep within the people who experience them' [Ibid :621] in a spontaneous dialogue with no aura of artificial intellectualism. By the sociological action, Bourdieu aspires, 'like a midwife, the sociologist can help them [social actors] in this [emancipatory] work provided the sociologist has a deeper understanding both of the conditions of existence of which they are product and of social effect that can be exercised by the research relationship' [Ibid: 6211. On the spot sociological intervention for Bourdieu is a 'craft' different from the research within the microcosm of academics, which is abstract and purely intellectual way of knowing. This 'craft', Bourdieu claims 'is a real "disposition to pursue truth, which disposes one to improvise on the spot, in the urgency of the interview [or social action]; strategies of self-presentation and adaptive responses; encouragement and opportune questions, etc., so as to help respondents deliver truth or, rather to be delivered of it.'
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42
-. - 1
From Bourdieu's perspective, it can be derived that the capital accumulation or marginalisation, though constitutes the real experience of our social living, is built on a flimsy foundation of socially ingrained belief systems within the existing mode of understanding. The critical force of the concepts like 'misrecognition' and 'symbolic domination' in his works imply the status or the exchange-value of any form of capital that can indeed be unrelated to the worth with which they are identified [Sayer 20021. The plot of the socially constructed mythology thickens as it has the corollary social positions, interests, fields and structures. Whether the challenge to habituated and habituating praxis could be made possible through reflexive re- look into one's own biases, whether the deeply ingrained misrecognitions could be recognised by various means such as repositioning roles, relocating fields, inventing new interests and by unsettling existing mode of thinking are the questions to be explored.
The premise of praxis intervention
The premise of praxis intervention is largely taken from Bourdieu's position on understanding of the 'on the spot
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sociological action' and the 'participant objectivation.' The object of praxis intervention social work is not just its client community and their physical or material conditions alone, but also the mindscape of the social worker, as well as that of her 'clients' or 'client communities'
[Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992:38]. Though the practice of reflexive participant objectivation, the practitioner re-looks the taken for granted assumptions in order to wake up from her epistemic sleep and helps her clients too to help them to wake up from theirs. The Praxis intewention aims at altering the discriminatory mentalities and their structural extensions (social mindscapes) through habitus praxis. The approach of this study deviates from Bourdieu in conceptualising the habitus praxis. For Bourdieu the actor or agency is the habitus well interhnrined in the practices and not a human being capable of rising above the constrain of the h a b i t u ~[A~rc~her 2000b: 150-1, 166-7; Sayer 1999: 59-62; Sayer 20021. For us, praxis potential is trans-
46 For Bourdieu Habitus is a biographical, positional, historical construct internalised as a second nature and so forgotten as history, [Bourdieu 1990:56]functions as a generative apparatus predisposed to function structuring structures of internal logic of structures and agents [Ibid: 531. Andrew Sayer observes, in the early works of Bourdieu the moral sentiments and judgements is either ignored or reduced to an emanation of their habitus. Eiier he further states that by discounting actors' moral judgements - by ignoring them or reducing them t o emanations of their habitus and position in the social field - and by implicitly prioritising interest as the basis of social struggle [Sayer 20021
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historical, trans-subjective, trans-rational species character of human beings, capable of unsettling the settled logic. One of the sources of invoking praxis potential is the moral resistance people could display at the injustice of the arbitrary allocation of capital within a given mode of social misrecognitions. The moral resistance emerges from people's capability to be critically sensuous of the social reality they are placed in. Unfortunately, as Axel Honneth o b s e ~ e s :
... within academic sociology, the internal connection that often holds between the emergence of social movements and the moral experience of disrespect has, to a larger extent, been theoretically severed at the start. The motives for rebellion, protest, and resistance have been transformed into categories of 'interest', and these interests are supposed to emerge from the objective inequalities in the distribution of material opportunities without ever being linked, in any way, to the everyday web of moral feelings [Honneth 1995: 1611.
The human species potential of sensuousness, the non-fixity of meanings4' and the diversity of indexicalities available [Wagenstein
47 Wittgenstein: What is essential is to see that the same thing can come before our minds when we hear the word and the application still be different. Has it the same meaning both times? I think we say not [Wittgenstein 1976: section
1401 (emphasis original).
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1976: section 154; Garfinkel 19841together make humans into praxis beings rather than just leaving them to be sedimented habitues. It is only with the praxis potential that one can hope for the unsettlement of the social misrecognitions and the subsequent internality through a reflexive probing. Unsettling or suspending the habitus with the praxis potential is what we term the 'habitus p&s: Habitus praxis could suspend the generative logic of the social networking and its figurations get them and reinvigorated from their nodal points of pressure [Elias
Praxis intervention as a social action Project
The Praxis lntetvention is a social action project sensitive to the human conditions of plurality [Arendt 1958: 71. It is a political project, wherein the life politics of the people facing the historically endowed facticities4' assumes the paramount importance [Ferguson 20011. It is an action research4' practice with a special emphasis on invigorating the sensuousness of the people involved
  1. 48  The degree to which a given social event is real. Facticily is thus not a mere "matter of fact" in the manner of seventeenth- and eighteenth- century philosophy; it is rather a lived or existential fact, a disclosed or phenomenological fact [Marcuse 1964: 170-203; Habermas 1996:132-31.
  2. 49  The idea of action research in the West is associated with the science in education movement in the late nineteenth century [McKernan 1991:8]. The term was first coined by Kurt Lewin in 1940s to describe a particular kind of
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Wide ranges of activities are called 'action research' so that the term is almost dich6d to mean anything, like the bureaucratic rituals of the 'participatory proms, 'tool-kit based instant 'participatory' events," or a critical social work practice. The advocates of the philosophy of action research hdd that it shares its epistemological base with Maocian
Humanism [Reason and Bradbury 2001: 31, Gandhian non-violent civil resistance, Gadamer's critiil hermeneutics, Gramscian concept of political praxis and organic intellectualism, Thoreau's ethical economics, Feyerabend's resistance to the monopoly of 'scientific' methods5',
research that united the experimental approach of social science with programmes of social action to address social problems [Reason and Bmdbury 2001: .2; Lewin 19471 and with interlocking cycles of planning, acting, observing and reflecting [Kemmis and Mc Taggert 1990:8]. The philosophical ideas of John Dewey, the group dynamics movement in social psychology of 1940s, and the Teacher-Researcher movement of UK are cited for the existence of action research philosophy and practice, before it has been well formulated by Lewin [McKernan 1996:8-11; Haron 19711. In 1970s, the method of action research is popularised in Latin America by Orlando Fals Borda and by DeSilva and his colleagues in South Asia [Fridres 1992; Borda 1998; DeSilva e t al. 1998; Borda. 20011.
50 Tool kit approaches to action research are popular with Non Governmental organisations. The tool kit approaches are variably named as 'Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA),' 'Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA),' and so on. The tool kit approaches of instant participatory techniques originated from the objective of collecting reliable data from the masses cost effectively for the purpose of governance and market research. The philosophy of action research has its origin in the critical streams of social thoughts.
51 Feyerabend in his famous manifesto of 'Against Method' states his basic theme as follows, "No set of rules can ever be found to guide the scientist in his choice of theories, and to imagine there is such a set is to impede progress. The only principle that does impede progress is anything goes" [Feyerabend 19701.
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Kuhn's notion of 'paradigm shift,15' Agnes Hellefs 'systemic reciprocity' [Heller 1989:304-51, Paulo Frieire's 'dialogical conscientisation,' Samir Amin's 'critique of imperialism,' the argument of subaltern philosophy, feminism. pro-labour concerns, and so on [Borda 2001: 27-36]. The method brought up questions concerning the spectatorship of the 'scientific and that of the 'development experts.' It has been noted that there has always been a stream of 'hidden cuniculum' [Eikeland 2001:145-61 of practical considerations organising the content and method of 'spectatorship.' In practice, action research rejects the artificially created mutually exclusive dualisms between the social action and the social theoly, social researcher and the
researched, 'experts' and their 'clients.' Action research is a life process of knowing54,understanding and interpreting the existing construct of the social and systematically challenging the political injustice
52 Kuhnshowedthatitisamythtoconsiderthatthescienceprogressesbuilding upon established truth in a linear path. And also established that scientific research, however objective, takes place within a taken for granted framework (paradigm) and from time to time with the emergence of scientific communities with different interests, the paradigms themselves are shiffed to a new direction [Kuhn 19621.
53 It refers to an outlook, in which the science has emerged as the authority to define everything rather than a humble systematic learning.
54 Shotter observes that knowing is not a thing to be discovered or created and stored up in journals, rather it is that arises in the process of living and present in the voices of ordinary people in conversations [Shotter 1993:7].
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48
p~- -1
in it. John Heron describes the 'cooperative inquiry' of action research as the process of 'transpersonal empowerment' that helps people give birth to rich and subtle phenomenologies, thus liberating themselves from the age-old authoritarianism of schools and institutions of spiritual, secular or academic kinds [Heron 2001: 333-3351,According to Reason and Bradbury, the primary purpose of action research is to produce practical knowledge that is useful to the [disadvantaged] people in the everyday conduct of their lives. A wider purpose of action research is to contribute through this practical knowledge to the increased well being- economic, political, psychological, spiritual- of human persons and communities, and to a more equitable and sustainable relationship with the wider ecology of the planet of which we are an intrinsic part (Reason and Bradbury 2001:2]. However, the 'action' intended by the action researchers is the 'activity of the self in which our capacities are employed.' [Mac Murray 1957: 861 bringing people together around shared topical concerns, problems and issues. .in a way that will permit people to achieve mutual understanding and consensus about what to do, [Kemmis and Mc Taggart 1990: 1001generating knowledge of the world in
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the course of bringing about material changes. Action in these understandings is the acting on the external world and learning from that action. Within the praxis intervention approach, the objective of action is primarily to enhance reflexive monitoring of the 'self'. The object of the praxis intervention action is the habitus (internality). Action here would mean reflexive interpretation of one's habitus and the sociality around. Interpretation can be interpreted as action. Wittgenstein says
Do I really see something different each time, or do I only interpret what I see in a different way? I am inclined to say the former. But why? - To interpret is to think, to do something; seeing is a state55. [Wittgenstein: 1976: 2121
The action to bring about the material changes should flow from the reflexive self-monitoring, unsettled internality and the reverberation the unsettled internalities could produce in the figurational process56
--
  1. 55  Emphasis added.
  2. 56  By figuration Elias represents the process by which what appears as the 'social
    thing' or 'habitues' brew up. For him the sociality is a process located within the web of human relationships with mobility and directions influenced by the relational pressures and habitues' response [Elias 1994: 288, 3431. The relational pressures are conceptualised as power in Elias. He conceptualises power in terms of power relations, ratios and balances between individual and collective habitues. [Elias 1984: 2511. By the term figuration, he stresses the
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