New chapter “The Fabric of Practices: Times, Spaces, Bodies, Things”

Hopwood N (2014) The fabric of practices: times, spaces, bodies, things. In L McLean, L Stafford & M Weeks (eds) Exploring bodies in time and space. Oxfordshire: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 137-146.

This chapter presents an initial laying out of the ideas I later developed in the paper for the Journal of Workplace Learning. The chapter dives more thoroughly into the empircal world of the parenting service that I studied in my last ethnography. It was initially presented at the Time, Space & Body conference in Sydney, February 2013.

The editors summarise the chapter:

Nick Hopwood illustrates body-space-time routines embedded in workplace practices of a Residential Unit within a child and family health service. Field observations revealed that spatiality and temporality are crucial aspects of practice and that these need to be thoroughly considered in order to create environments conducive to positive relations and effective care.

The abstract is below:

Here I connect the themes of space, time, the body, and things with an ethnographic study of professional practices and pedagogy. The study joins an emerging body of work that aims to produce different accounts of professional practice, eschewing dominant discourses based on problematic assumptions of linear time that is used up, space as a container for practice, practice and learning as mindful but bodyless, and materiality as either irrelevant or passive. The study was conducted in a child and family health service in Sydney, Australia. The Residential Unit of Karitane takes up to ten families for five days each week, offering intensive support for parents experiencing significant difficulties with their children’s sleeping, feeding or behaviour. Four themes of times, spaces, bodies, and things are discussed, drawing on Theodore Schatzki’s practice theory and philosophy, but also making connections to wider sociomaterial theorisations of time, space and the body. While these themes resist analytic separation, they are offered as distinctive points of departure, each highlighting something different about practices, pedagogy and learning. Nonetheless the porous conceptual boundaries between temporality, spatiality, embodiment and materiality are addressed and illustrated. The result is an account of practices, and their pedagogic effects, which differs radically from conventional approaches.

Key Words: Practice, materiality, sociomaterial, pedagogy, temporality, spatiality, embodiment, parenting.

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