Heidegger and Practice

Topics: Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, Ontology Pages: 27 (10244 words) Published: November 30, 2012
d Practice
We live in time – it holds us and moulds us – but I never felt I understand it very well… I mean ordinary everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click clock… time is supposed to measure history isn’t it? But, if we can’t understand time, can’t grasp its mysteries of pace and progress, what chance do we have with history – even our own small, personal, largely undocumented piece of it? Julian Barnes (2011: 3, 60)

Time must be brought to light as the horizon of all understanding and interpretation of being Paul Gorner (2007:12)

“What does using a Heideggerian analysis as an analytic tool give you that other analytic approaches do not?”

There are many ways to analyse information/data gathered in research. One technique I have been using is to think about behaviour in terms of the philosophies of Martin Heidegger, a German philosopher. In my talk, I will outline how using a Heideggerian analysis differs from other forms of analysis and what benefits this technique gives you relative to other methods. Specifically, I will focus on Heidegger’s understanding of ‘practice’ and the argument will critically re-examine what Heidegger has to say about the privileging of what is done in making sense of our world at the workplace. In my talk, I will deconstruct the work of one senior manager against indications drawn from Heidegger’s Being and Time, and explore a number of terms to make sense of what is happening in ways that perhaps challenge extant norms. In so doing, and in moving to consider Heidegger’s post-war contributions concerned with the essence of technology, the paper opens questions about what it means to value the knowledge that emerges from such a deconstruction.

Dr Kevin Flint
Reader in Education
Nottingham Trent University
M: 07531754709
T: 01158483971

What does a Heideggerian analysis of practice give you that other forms of analysis do not? In response to this question this paper sets out to understand practice first from the perspective of Stephen Kemmis (2009), who, as Professor of Education at Charles Sturt University in Australia, has published extensively on the issue of professional practice since the 1980s. Kemmis is arguably one of the leaders in the world in this field and so provides a case example of writing about practice within the tradition of educational research. This paper will concentrate on papers produced by Kemmis in 2009 which reflect his own particular reading of one of the leading philosophers in the field, and the author of the acclaimed Practice Turn in Social Theory, Theodor Schatzki (2001, 2002). Given that Schatzki and to a lesser extent, Kemmis, have both been influenced by Heidegger, I am interested to uncover what a Heideggerian deconstruction of practice will give his readers that these other forms of analysis utilised by Kemmis and Shatzki do not. The approach adopted is one of an ‘ab-bau’ (Caputo, 1987: 64), a deconstruction of Kemmis’s texts in the sense of lifting and so uncovering what is missing – the ‘ab’ – which finally will give some pointers for researching practice – the ‘bau’, or building of a synthesis once the layers of language have been lifted away in the deconstruction. In this way the paper will illuminate how Heidegger’s analysis opens new forms of questioning and thinking that are not ordinarily identified in many of the traditions of researching practice. In opening the paper I consider that it will be helpful to make concrete one particular episode of practice that is represented in a limited way by the following excerpt from my own work, which at least gives a sense of the context for this particular form of workplace practice, to which we will return – as Green (2009) notes ‘all practice has context’: Earlier in May of this year I was invited by a Professional Doctorate (PD) student to visit him and to make observations...
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