Originally posted at Salihabava.com/academic

In the past postings I have  talked about understandings and the notion of performance. Today I’m pulling these various threads to illustrate how we are designers and creators of various forms of living (social processes) or what may be referred to as practices. I believe that we practice how to be in this world by being and becoming. In the search of being and becoming (a person, couple, an organization, a tribe and/or nation state) we design our processes of  becoming which are created socially. At a community or organizational or institutional level, practice refers  to the various programs that we roll out from human resources to teaching programs, from marketing to public relations, from quality control to compliance, from sustainability to R&D, from organization development to executive/management coaching etc. At the family level, practices (social processes) can be understood as ways of living, parenting, romancing, celebrating, being a family, vacationing, financial management, being a couple and/or parent, how to be happy, conflict management etc. Our practices can be understood as stories and performances within space and time, i.e. culture of a family, profession, organization, institution, region or county. These are the stories we create  as kids of our parents, or as members of a family, or as a mental health specialist of trauma and its treatment, or as researchers of what is scientific, or as teachers to address what is learning and assessment, or as part of a PR campaign for an organization, or the OD’s analysis of organization culture, or the ethnographers narratives of a cultural ritual or the country’s story of democracy etc.


These stories and performances can be understood as Communicative Actions: which are the processes by which in language and in relationship (thus creating a community or network) we create action and meaning (Anderson & Goolishian, 1988). These domains of meaning are practices as illustrated above, bringing us back a full circle. The cyclic process of creating meaning in communities of relationship and in language is constitutive of communicative action as illustrated below.


Cycle of Communicative Action
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Cycle of Communicative Action

This is a way of understanding our life (which includes work) as a constitutive system-a meaning generating system that is dynamic and creative and part of larger systems. Not only are we constituted but we also create and make the world around us.  As makers of this world we are creators in the everyday play of life. Our relational responsiveness (Shotter) within all the micro interactions shape the various relationships. To further elaborate on these ideas, over the next few posting, I’ll use this frame for creating an understanding of us as makers of conventions (rather than only consumers of these conventions) within the context of family, organization and research. Stay tuned!!