What is the Relation between Human Practical Action and an Accompanying Discourse? Discussing the Status of Practical Theory


  • Ulf Brinkkjær
  • Morten Nørholm


The article discusses the function of an accompanying discourse in relation to the genesis of human practical action. On the one side, theory cannot be taken as the ground for practical action; practical action is not a realisation of intentions. On the other hand, human practical action is accompanied by series of explanations, justifications, declarations of intent, pre‑ and post-rationalisations, motivations etc. These accompanying discourses seem in one way or the other to be necessary for the actual realisation of human practical action. Following Pierre Bourdieu, it is suggested that an accompanying discourse cannot in a meaningful manner be separated from the human practical action, that practical theory should be regarded not as theory but as part of practice, and that practical theory first of all provides a common language for talking about practice and hence for reproducing a fundamentally arbitrary idea of the genesis of human practical action. Parallels are drawn to the education/formal training of semi-professionals.