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Social Practice Theory Applied in Three Domains

From formal theory to real-world solutions

Research impact story

In this trilogy of edited books, Paul Trowler, Murray Saunders and Roni Bamber (here@lancaster doctoral programme alumna) draw together contributors from around the world. In each of the books the brief is to apply the particular version of social practice theory developed by here@lancaster to a different issue.

 

 

 

In the first we consider how social practice theory can be applied to the enhancement of learning and teaching at the national, institutional and local levels as well as in particular topic-oriented programs.

Bamber, V., Trowler, P., Saunders, M. and Knight, P. (eds) (2009). Enhancing Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Theory, Cases, Practices. Open University Press/SRHE.

"This is a rich and diverse collection, and will deservedly find a place on the shelves of developers, practitioners and managers working towards meaningful change in a broad range of contexts" Gourley (2009).

"To whatever extent your current work involves aspiring to change the practices of others, this book will help...the book is so lovingly designed, it is hard to resist engaging with its argument....With a theoretical lens predicated upon “social practice”, the authors and contributors offer an immersive experience of change in action” Johnson (2010).

 

In the second we present a new approach to evaluation in higher education, arguing that evaluative practices themselves are a form of social practice, and that the evaluative role is primarily to consider changes in social practices in the locale of interest.

Saunders, M. Trowler, P. and Bamber, V. (eds) (2011). Reconceptualising Evaluative Practices in Higher Educationthe practice turn. London: Open University Press.

"The case studies and subsequent discussion powerfully model how reconceptualising evaluation as a social practice can enable evaluators to think about how to communicate the outcomes of evaluation in strategically and politically-nuanced ways" Weller (2011).

 

 

In the final book of the three, we build on the "Tribes and Territories" genre.  In it we completely re-conceptualise the previous essentialist view as expressed in Becher, 1989 and Becher and Trowler 2001.

Trowler, P., Saunders, M. and Bamber, V. (eds) (2012). Tribes and territories in the 21st-century: Rethinking the significance of disciplines in higher education. London: Routledge.

"The tribes and territories thesis which has made a significant contribution to education studies in mapping ontological, epistemological and methodological shifts within education studies over 23 years offers a framework for understanding on-going debates about the territorial nature of organization studies over a similar timeframe" Hughes (2012).

 

All three books have contributed to real-world solutions.  The first was significant in influencing the progress and success of the Ecoversity initiative at Bradford University, which is described in the Ecoversity story page. The second has been applied in European projects evaluative projects. The third, only published in 2012, has already influenced thinking about and research into practices in particular academic disciplines; for example, in Organisation Studies.

References
Bamber, V., Trowler, P., Saunders, M. and Knight, P. (eds) (2009). Enhancing Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Theory, Cases, Practices. Open University Press/SRHE.

Gourlay, L. (2009). Book review in the London Review of Education, 7(3), 285-286.

Hughes, M. (2013). Book review essay: the territorial nature of organization studies. Culture and Organization, 19(3), 261-274. (A review of the three editions of the Academic Tribes and Territories genre).

Johnson, M. (2010). Book review in the British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(2), E28-E29

Saunders, M. Trowler, P. and Bamber, V. (eds) (2011). Reconceptualising Evaluative Practices in Higher Educationthe practice turn. London: Open University Press.

Trowler, P., Saunders, M. and Bamber, R. (eds) (2012). Tribes and territories in the 21st-century: Rethinking the significance of disciplines in higher education. London: Routledge.

Weller, S. (2011). A set of social practices. Higher Education Review, 44(1), 97-99.

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