Crises and adjustments in ongoing life

Translated title of the contribution: Crises and adjustments in ongoing life

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Everyday crises as colloquially understood are of questionable social theoretical significance. In contrast, crises as W. I. Thomas defines them – events that “interrupt the flow of habit and give rise to changed conditions of consciousness” – implicate a way of thinking about action that is prominent in 20th-century accounts of activity. This essay criticizes this way of thinking and offers an alternative. The way of thinking concerned – found in Dewey, Mead, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Garfinkel, Bourdieu, and Dreyfus – is the idea that the switch from coping, i. e., practical engagement with the world, to thinking, in particular, thinking about what to do, holds systematic significance for understanding human activity. The essay argues that this switch is actually just one form that people’s responses to changes in the world can take. Its alternative account centers on the thesis that adjustments to circumstances mediated by or accompanied by explicit consciousness are ubiquitous in human life. This account holds that these adjustments occur within bundles of practices and material arrangements: they help compose practices and uphold the normative organization of practices.

Translated title of the contributionCrises and adjustments in ongoing life
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-33
Number of pages17
JournalOsterreichische Zeitschrift fur Soziologie
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.


  • Adjustment
  • Crises
  • Practice theory
  • Reflection
  • Social theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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